Connected is designed specifically for apparel industry supply chains that are complex, and distributed over several tiers and countries

Connected is designed specifically for apparel industry supply chains that are complex, and distributed over several tiers and countries

Fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) has partnered with a global inspections group to develop a tool that it says will give apparel companies full visibility over their entire supply chains.

The new Connected platform, created with Control Union – a global network of inspection operations and dedicated laboratories – is aimed at helping the apparel industry meet its commitments to supply chain transparency and responsible sourcing.

A traceability and data service, Connected is designed specifically for apparel industry supply chains that are complex, distributed over several tiers and countries. The platform collects a variety of data, enabling companies to assess the risks and their impact on communities and the environment.

Initial trainings have already been rolled out and completed within a select group of H&M's viscose suppliers, with more set to join.

With engagement and support to suppliers a key priority of the new platform, support centres have been established in all producing regions, with a local Connected representative available to address technical issues and general enquiries.

"Connected is the product of several years' experience with successful traceability projects for leading brands which have helped us identify and understand the challenges and needs along the entire supply chain, from farms to retailers," says Franco Costantini, senior manager supply chain services at Control Union. "Thanks to our extensive geographical presence we have established collaboration with producers and have been able to get a comprehensive view on what a supply chain traceability solution should look like."

The system includes traceability features for man-made wood fibre cellulosic materials in response to brands looking to meet their CanopyStyle initiative commitments, including not sourcing from ancient and endangered forests.

It also incorporates compliance targets that pull in the results from the CanopyStyle verification audits and 'Hot Button' producer rankings.

Connected is expected to continue to evolve in future months to consider fabrics made from alternative and next generation fibres such as recycled clothing and left-over straw.

H&M was among several leading names from the global apparel and textile industries to be included among this year's top sustainability performers, according to the latest Dow Jones Sustainability Indices 2017.

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