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June 30, 2022

New cross-sector Open Supply Hub aims to improve supply chain transparency

The Open Supply Hub, which started its beta phase yesterday (29 June) is an extension of the Open Apparel Registry and aims to map global supply chains using standardised data across multiple sectors.

By Laura Husband

Open Supply Hub hopes that extending the Open Apparel Registry, which was originally built for the apparel sector in 2019 with support from the Laudes Foundation , will improve insights about production facilities and global supply chains across apparel, sporting goods, beauty, consumer packaged goods and electronics.

Open Supply Hub believes the platform will clean and open up global supply chain data for the benefit of entire sectors, with the aim of facilitating sharing and collaboration.

Open Supply Hub’s executive director Natalie Grillon explains: “Globally, organisations are preparing for a wave of new ESG reporting requirements. The volume of data shared will be enormous. It’s therefore absolutely critical that reporting is built on a reliable and collaborative foundation in order to bring about the supply chain improvements we desperately need.”

The platform will be populated and used by companies, civil society organisations, factory groups, supply chain service providers and other stakeholders, It will provide standardised name and address data and universal IDs for production facilities around the world.

The unique IDs will allow connections to other databases via API, driving interoperability between datasets that are typically siloed and allowing organisations to find those connected to the same facilities. This is expected to enable more efficient and effective collaboration.

The platform is built on open data principles, with open licensed data and open source code, companies can disclose their supplier lists and, in doing so, showcase their commitment to supply chain transparency. Simultaneously, insights about specific facilities are significantly improved, which can inform ESG and climate risk decisions and protect vulnerable supply chain workers.

Grillon suggests the Open Supply Hub will provide a much-needed solution for those working within the supply chain. She says: “Supply chain data is notoriously opaque, siloed and inaccessible, which has historically benefitted very few. Opening up this data is the solution. Not only can we create a single source of truth for identifying facilities, but this model also encourages collaboration and helps users progress their work, be it ESG reporting, worker’s rights advocacy, research or climate risk decisions. That’s where Open Supply Hub comes in – a reliable, open dataset that benefits entire sectors.”

Laudes Foundation CEO Leslie Johnston is pleased about the expansion of the Open Apparel Registry and says: “Radical transparency is critical to creating the accountability we need for more equitable and climate-positive industries. This starts with openly sharing supply chain data. At Laudes Foundation , we are committed to nurturing a growing ecosystem of organisations advocating for, collecting and using data for public good. We look forward to our continued partnership with Open Supply Hub in its mission to ensure that data is accessible, open, relevant, and used to improve conditions across multiple industries.”

The Open Apparel Registry is said to have mapped 88,347 facilities in 133 countries since it started in 2019, with data from over 470 contributors. It has worked with global brands, civil society organisations and industry bodies such as C&A, Columbia Sportswear Company, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, WWF and ZDHC.

Earlier this year the Open Apparel Registry launched a new development to expand its standardised supply chain disclosure in the apparel sector so brands could able fulfil Transparency Pledge requirements through the platform

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