22. January 2020
A lot has happened in the last 20 years. The last Volkswagen Beetle rolled through production. Redbull dropped a man from the stratosphere. Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPod, followed by the iPhone. Facebook launched its social platform. The last 20 years were witness to technologies which changed communication and information sharing as we know it today.
However, there is a general consensus that not enough has happened to move the textile and fashion industry into the environmentally and socially responsible position that has increasingly been demanded for by consumers. The new trending discussion topic is radical transparency. The current industry demands are pushing players to implement sustainability policy reaching throughout their supply chain, while increasing traceability, transparency, and accountability. Brands especially find themselves under pressure to provide more information about their products and the product manufacturing process. Moreover, certification institutions are finding they have to move quickly to improve the systems they have in place to meet the industry needs to provide this increased transparency.
A 2019 report produced by Suston demonstrated that no retailer was ranked as an expert in material sustainability. How then, can brands be expected to develop and implement the sustainability initiatives they are promising consumers.
The challenges that the industry is currently facing are multifaceted; fast-fashion has taken over the industry by storm and is the only segment of the fashion industry that has experienced market growth in the past 15 years. Now, many established luxury brands want to speed up their production and reaction time to remain competitive against the fast-fashion wave.
While data transparency can appear as a challenge for the industry, in the current global climate where data is king, transparency throughout the supply chain can instead offer a competitive advantage for a company. In our globalized world, “out of sight, out of mind” no longer exists. Information will always find its way to the surface.
As consumers take stock of their global footprint, they will make active decisions to seek out information in order to increase their positive influence and reduce negative impacts on the environment and society.
For the last 20 years, Bluesign has been advocating for and developing solutions to meet this demand; 20 years before the consumer demand was perceived from the industry. The Bluesign benchmark is 20 years in the making, and today it is the most efficient way to guarantee compliance with new regulations, without compromising on functionality, quality, or design.
THE BLUE WAY path paved by Bluesign for the past 20 years has encompassed these chemical and environmental topics when they were not yet trending topics in the textile or fashion industries. While many organizations are now recognizing a need to react, Bluesign has been acting 20 years ahead of time.
Bluesign, its extensive expert base, experience, and partners, have created a stable solution that combines sustainable practices with solutions that provide the industry with economic benefits. This holistic approach encompasses the needs throughout the value chain and the end-user.
What sets the Bluesign approach apart from other systems is its Input Stream Management. Previous solutions tested a finished product and allowed for little flexibility if standards were not met. 20 years ago, Bluesign’s Input Stream Management was a revolutionary idea and a first mover towards an industry mindset shift; shifting away from testing a finished end product, to setting criteria along the way for components and processes. The Bluesign Input Stream Management has created a sleek and efficient assessment process, in which the globally accepted standards are integrated in determining a products compatibility with the Bluesign and the industry benchmark.
This scientific systematic approach established Bluesign as the industry leader for chemical verification, sustainability, and conscious production practices in the textile industry. Today the idea of a transparent supply chain is moving towards the norm. However, with processes and supply chain transparency comes the need for industry tools to simplify the communication and collaboration along the many horizontal and vertical levels of the supply chain.
The bluesign® CUBE is a web-based platform with Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) capabilities. The primary and paramount feature of the bluesign® CUBE is its efficient facilitation of transparent information flow between connected organizations.
In line with the long established Bluesign’s Input Stream Management mindset, when organizations are able to keep track of their production input usage, they will be able to measure and understand their output. This software suite and measurement tool can generate Environmental Key Performance Indicators (eKPIs) which are of unparalleled value in creating reports for shareholders, stakeholders, and consumers. Data measures in reduction of emissions, discharge, and increases in resource efficiency creates the ability for sound data driven business strategies.
Two key points will need to be taken into consideration in 2020:
First, 2020 will be big data driven. Moreover, this data will have to be verifiable. Companies will have to stand behind facts and figures. Transparent data generation throughout the supply chain is the most fluid and efficient way in which verified data can be established. Moreover, a verified supply chain can reduce a company’s risk of finding itself in the middle of a PR nightmare.
Secondly, 2020 will continue to be purpose driven. Both the fashion and textile industry suffer from a lack of trust from consumers. Because of this, they must be conscience of how they move in the world around themselves. Looking towards the future, organizations such as Greenpeace have admitted they have gone as far as they can go with initiatives such as Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC). Greenpeace has made clear that fulfilling their set goals can only be realized with the support of government regulation and legal definitions.
Companies who are the first movers in transparent data sharing and analysis will be at the forefront of consumer trust and consumer loyalty.
As Bruno Pieters, founder of Honest by, stated, “If you don’t do it now, you’ll have to adapt when complete transparency becomes mandatory”.