Blog: Leonie BarrieCollaboration remains a challenge

Leonie Barrie | 3 May 2017

Collaboration between retailers, brands and their suppliers is a mission critical element in developing a slicker and more cost-effective supply chain. But in an increasingly complex fashion environment, putting it into practice is still a considerable challenge.

Unions and human rights groups have welcomed a decision by the European Parliament to adopt a report that calls for measures to make sure apparel companies take steps to identify, prevent, and remedy human rights abuses in their supply chains.

The European Commission has also approved four new projects worth EUR45m aimed at improving sustainable business practices and working conditions in the Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Mali and Pakistan garment sectors.

The Commission's update came two days after the fourth anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh – which just-style marked by taking a step-by-step look at the changes introduced to try to improve worker and building safety within the country's ready-made garment industry.

Meanwhile, US specialty retailer Gap Inc is stepping up its commitment to sustainability with a pledge to use more sustainable fibres in the production of its namesake and Athleta brand apparel within the next five years.

Although new data suggests the combined social and environmental costs of Fairtrade cotton farming are five times lower than that of conventional cotton farming.

Adidas, Reebok, Marks & Spencer and H&M have topped a transparency index launched last year to monitor and rank high street clothing brands on transparency across their value chains.

Adidas is also making moves to help shorten time to market, bring greater flexibility and provide improved manufacturing quality and efficiency by partnering with global engineering and technology services company Siemens on a "digital twin" of its Speedfactory facility.

The Kingpins denim showcase in Amsterdam heard how mills and consumers are driving technological innovation and design. Recognition of the impact of social media on consumption, as well as new blends and solutions devised to appeal to untapped consumer demands, were all highlighted.

And US President Donald Trump has told the leaders of Mexico and Canada that he will not immediately move to abandon the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) pact, and that he currently favours talks to renegotiate it.

Meanwhile in other news, Marks & Spencer has agreed a new contract with the two sourcing directors who have been responsible for overhauling its clothing supply chain; Nike has filed a patent for 'architecturally reinforced denim'; US fashion retailer J Crew is to axe 250 jobs; and footwear firm Clarks is also reorganising its business with a number of job cuts.

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