TrusTrace launches traceability ecosystem for apparel sector
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TrusTrace launches traceability ecosystem for apparel sector

18 Nov 2021

Market platform TrusTrace has announced a new traceability ecosystem that is designed to accelerate sustainability within the apparel industry.

TrusTrace launches traceability ecosystem for apparel sector

The TrusTrace traceability ecosystem is launching in collaboration with Higg, Open Apparel Registry (OAR), circular.fashion, Renoon and Haelixa. The aim of this collaboration is to solve the industry’s supply chain traceability and sustainability challenges on a wider scale with integrated solutions that use seamless data integration and knowledge exchange.

What is the TrusTrace traceability ecosystem?

The traceability ecosystem is expected to deliver powerful solutions for both brands and eco-conscious customers. The first phase launches with sustainability insights platform, Higg and global apparel open-source database, the Open Apparel Registry.

TrusTrace CEO and co-founder Shameek Ghosh told Just Style exclusively: “I have always believed that sustainability can not exist without traceability and a challenge of this complexity and scale needs significant collaboration amongst solution providers. I’m thrilled to be able to launch the ecosystem with such a strong group of key industry players, we’re excited to work together to develop powerful solutions and achieve a shared mission to accelerate sustainable transformation and enable action across the industry.”

He explained this new traceability ecosystem will benefit the wider apparel industry because it will ensure key players are working together to create the best possible scalable solutions to support all brands on their journey. This is irrespective of how far they’ve come in their journey of sustainable transformation.

He said: “This is how we can help drive true change in the fashion industry on a wider scale and really start to make a difference.”

The biggest challenges facing the apparel industry

The new TrusTrace traceability ecosystem aims to solve some of the biggest challenges facing the apparel industry right now, Ghosh told Just Style.

“The three main challenges that we see our clients facing – and we are providing solutions for – are compliance, transparency and sustainable transformation.”

  1. Compliance, because there is a growing body of global and local regulations forcing brands and retailers to take responsibility for their entire value chain, even if they today have no visibility beyond tier 1.
  2. Transparency – the increased pressure from consumers and NGOs and activist organisations for companies to disclose their practices in full, so they can take responsibility for fixing the issues, and enable consumers to make more conscious choices based on a better understanding of the impact of particular products.
  3. Finally, and more broadly, is the challenge of sustainable transformation in itself. Up until now companies have operated on a business model focused on driving top and bottom line, with little thought to the effects for example of price negotiations on the health, safety and fair wages of garment workers, or the detrimental effects of by-product chemicals to water and soil quality around the global textile hubs.

As the apparel industry is fast transitioning towards products and supply chains that have less impact on the environment, TrusTrace believes there is an increased demand for deep and accurate upstream supply chain data. The Higg partnership will facilitate the integration of TrusTrace and Higg data sharing. This means TrusTrace clients should understand the social and environmental impact of their supplier facilities and their products by accessing their Higg data on TrusTrace.

Users will also be able to understand the footprint of the various materials in a single location and analyse supply chain and material combinations. Plus, customers will be able to access the Higg Facility Environmental Module (FEM) and Facility Social & Labor Module (FSLM) through their supplier facility profiles on TrusTrace, providing them with a single view of all the sustainability information for a facility.

HIGG DECO Jason Kibbey said: “There is a real urgency for comprehensive tools and contextualised data to help bring visibility and insight to untracked areas of the supply chain. Our partnership with TrusTrace demonstrates a joint belief that collaboration is the most effective way to develop the best tools to capture deeper insights into the chain of custody. Together we bring robust new capabilities to both platforms that will support our clients in accelerating towards their sustainability goals.”

While Natalie Grillon, executive director at the Open Apparel Registry added: “The opportunity for industry collaboration and accurate factory identification is given a huge boost each time another organisation chooses to connect their database with the OAR via API and incorporate OAR IDs into their systems.”

She continued: “The more data we are openly sharing across our respective databases, the more organisations of all sizes are able to access and work with the data that is core to the collaboration and change that so many in the sector are looking to achieve.”

The second phase of the TrusTrace traceability ecosystem is expected to launch in early 2022 with a focus on driving physical traceability and circularity.

Collaboration with physical marking and tracing technology solution, Haelixa, will develop a joint traceability programme supporting end-to-end traceability through physical tracers such as invisible DNA markers.

The collaboration with circular.fashion will enable brands to embed a circularity.ID into their garments to foster end-to-end traceability, transparency of the supply chain, increased customer engagement, prolonged use and recycling at end-of-life.

While, Renoon, a platform that empowers eco-conscious consumers to shop according to their sustainability values, will collect supply chain data, manage product evidence and automate the process of checking product compliance to sustainability standards. This provides end consumers with more accurate data driving purchase decisions and brands with a recognition for their sustainability efforts.