From awareness campaigns like Fashion Revolution’s #WhoMadeMyClothes to brand new multi-partner initiatives such as Fashion Futures 2030, the fashion industry has become the focus of a lot of stakeholder attention. Indeed, there is a push from all sides to create more sustainable and transparent solutions for the industry – especially considering it accounts for 20 percent of wastewater and 10 percent of carbon emissions globally. Now a new partnership between two diverse companies aims to provide more insight into retail supply chains for the advancement of the entire industry.
This week at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, Google announced a new partnership with Stella McCartney to bring more transparency to the fashion industry. The organizations are testing the first phase of a “machine learning data analytics tool” to get better insight into Stella McCartney’s supply chain, using the data to uncover sourcing and environmental impacts. The tool will give a more comprehensive view of the supply chain, particularly at the raw material level. To start, the companies will focus on analyzing cotton and viscose, which were chosen due to the size of production as well as available data and potential impact. The technology will be used to “help brands estimate the environmental impact of particular items of clothing at the sourcing and design stages, and use this data to help companies take action.” Ultimately, Google hopes to open up the technology as an industry-wide tool.
As the sense of urgency to address environmental impacts continues to grow, it’s clear that it will take a collaborative approach to truly make progress. And although Stella McCartney is taking the first step by opening its supply chain to analysis, it will need others to follow. Only when the entire industry shares its knowledge, opens its doors and adopts these new practices can we truly accelerate change.