The Playbook offers an in-depth analysis of the evolving market dynamics and incoming legislation moving traceability from a nice-to-have to a must-have, says TrusTrace, a global SaaS company with a platform for supply chain transparency and traceability within the fashion and retail industries.

Shameek Ghosh, co-founder and CEO of TrusTrace says: “We’re at an inflection point as an industry, where sustainability is evolving from a ‘nice-to-have’ to a business imperative. However, with this evolution comes the need for knowledge – on how to most effectively manage this sustainable transformation – which is why we’ve teamed up with Fashion Revolution and Fashion for Good to develop this Traceability Playbook. Together, with some of the most knowledgeable, best-informed minds in the industry, we’ve created a resource for the fashion industry that will significantly support sustainable transformation.” 

The initiative was driven by a collective commitment to accelerating sustainable transformation in the fashion industry, through cross-industry collaboration and knowledge sharing, TrusTrace says. 

TrusTrace comments that 2022 has seen a 350% YoY increase in brand requests for traceability guidance and support, inspiring the traceability platform to join forces with advocacy organisation Fashion Revolution and the global innovation platform Fashion for Good, to develop the Traceability Playbook. 

Working together, the collaborators have combined knowledge and expertise to develop this go-to manual that will help brands understand the basics of achieving supply chain traceability, from the key players operating within the vast supply chain network, to the digital trends and legislation driving traceability forward.  

The Playbook was written by sustainable fashion journalist Megan Doyle, who worked with collaborators to combine knowledge and develop this go-to manual that will help brands understand the basics of achieving supply chain traceability, from the key players operating within the vast supply chain network, to the digital trends and legislation driving traceability forward. 

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The playbook includes case studies from innovative companies such as Balenciaga, Gucci, adidas,as well as insights from thought leaders across the industry including Amina Razvi from the Sustainable Apparel Coalition; Paul Foulkes-Arellano from Circuthon; and Baptiste Carriere-Pradal from Policy Hub. 

The guide aims to support brands in understanding the business case for traceability whilst offering a step-by-step roadmap to achieve it.   

Liv Simpliciano, policy and research manager, Fashion Revolution comments: “The Rana Plaza tragedy inspired the creation of Fashion Revolution and the #WhoMadeMyClothes campaign, understanding that a lack of transparency costs lives and in order to achieve accountability, greater visibility is needed to drive industry transformation. As part of this work, we are pleased to highlight practical case studies of brands’ disclosure on how they are addressing some of the industry’s greatest challenges across overconsumption, overproduction, decent work, circularity and carbon emissions.  

“Transparency is the starting point, not the end in itself. The Traceability Playbook is a resource democratising access to knowledge from leaders in the industry and importantly, exposes where greater traceability and transparency are needed to catalyse change.” 

Katrin Ley, managing director at Fashion for Good added: “Improved traceability and data integrity are the bedrock of a circular supply chain enabling and incentivising sustainable enhancements. With the growing importance of an impact-driven supply chain, Fashion for Good is excited to contribute to an open-source playbook for the industry that promotes a collaborative approach of knowledge sharing, implementation and driving the change that is needed to transform the industry for the better.”  

Available to download from the TrusTrace website, the guide covers key topics such as the business case for traceability and transparency, the need for standardisation and decentralisation of data and the key traceability trends driving the market. The guide also includes a ‘material school’ chapter, offering guidance on the impact of different materials. 

The Traceability Playbook is also a key education tool for the UNECE Sustainability Pledge, aimed at accelerating sustainable transformation through supply chain traceability at scale. The pledge commits to three key actions: 

  • Educating the fashion industry on how to best leverage technology in the form of supply chain traceability to deliver on SDG and ESG goals. 
  • Scaling traceability in the industry by expanding the number of brands they support in building a data foundation. This will enable the industry to make informed decisions to improve ESG performance. 
  • Accelerating positive results through collaboration and integration with other sustainability solution providers. 

Maria Teresa Pisani, economic affairs officer and project lead at UNECE commented: “Traceability and transparency are key to ensure that social, human rights and environmental risks are properly identified and addressed along global and complex value chains. It is a starting point to give a face and a voice to vulnerable actors in this industry, and a right move towards responsible choices and circular business models that will drive wrong patterns ‘out of fashion’.” 

The Traceability Playbook was launched during a side event of Global Fashion Summit: Copenhagen Edition. 

In March, TrusTrace announced the launch of TrusTrace Certified Material Compliance, a one-stop solution that enables near real-time traceability at the material level.