The UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT) has introduced a blockchain traceability project in partnership with IBM and retailers including H&M, Next, and New Look.
According to Fashion Revolution’s 2021 Transparency Index, none of the world’s 250 largest fashion companies are completely transparent about the true impact of their supply chain. This is partly due to challenges collecting and verifying data across complex supply chains and partly due to an unwillingness from many businesses to disclose. The overall average score for the index, which assesses metrics relating to policy, governance, traceability, remediation, and key ESG issues, was just 23%.
The project partners will trial a new technology platform that combines blockchain, artificial intelligence, and sensors to create a tamper-proof audit chain of information about materials and products at each stage of the supply chain. The technology is hoped to enable brands and retailers to spot potential disruptions earlier on and to better monitor production processes in real-time compared to contracts and projections, also to reduce over-procurement.
“We recognize that collaborating on this project will help remove complexity, increase transparency and help develop sustainable solutions with more reassuring visibility of the people and the environments impacted throughout the value chain,” said Joanna Poynor, New Look’s Head of Sustainable Development “We anticipate that by bringing new technologies and global networks together, UKFT will accelerate change and allow the provenance of the products we sell to open up from origin to end-user.”
This nine-month sustainability project will develop and pilot a supply chain traceability solution for the UK fashion industry with £1.4 million support from Innovate UK.