Fashion is a top global polluter
The fashion industry may not be the first that comes to mind as a major contributor to the carbon footprint and the state of the planet. However, it accounts for nearly 20% of wastewater and is the second largest consumer of the world’s water. It is also responsible for 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions and this is projected to soar to an outstanding 26% if the current trajectory continues.
Despite this, fashion has always been at the forefront of innovation. With the ongoing climate crisis, the fashion industry continues to step up to the challenge. Designing and manufacturing more environmentally-friendly and ecologically savvy garments has been one way to counteract the problem.
Another rising solution has been the transformation of traditional fragmented supply chains – they are now being shortened, analyzed, and digitized. Modern fashion brands are investing more time, energy, and resources into implementing these solutions, adapting the mindset that they are less of a set-back and more of an opportunity to bring about real change into the world.
The urgency and relevancy of this crisis is no secret to anyone in the industry; whether it’s the consumers or companies themselves. But all attention must now be directed towards the plan of action. So, how does a fashion brand embark on a path to sustainability?
"As with most of fashion innovations, it all stems from technology at the root."
The first step your brand can take is analyzing and keeping track of resource usage during production. Data is a powerful analytic tool that helps brands gain deeper insight into their production processes. Though it’s difficult to quantify the environmental impacts of fashion due to the lack of existing data, key sustainability metrics are worth tracking.
Where are the garments being produced?
How do they get from point A to point B?
How much yardage is used in each style?
How much product is being wasted?
How much actually makes its way back into inventory?
And on a more granular level, are the fabrics and trims you’re using living up to the ethical expectations of your brand values and consumers?
But...where does software come in?
Software can help you track each of these elements, ensuring that you are on top of your production and all of its ecological implications. The data collected through a fuller, bird’s eye view of your manufacturing and production processes gives brands the potential to improve their triple bottom line. In today’s market, this information is not only used internally by the company but also plays a key role in the purchasing decisions of customers.
Now, before than ever, there is increased pressure on the industry to increase visibility into their supply chain processes. The change in customer expectations are continuing to reshape how supply chain activities are managed – customers are demanding fuller transparency on the clothes they wear and the products they use. In this new world, customers are calling upon brands to help them make more informed decisions.
Calico’s AI-powered operating system brings together operational and financial data onto a single platform. The digitized platform moves away from traditional spreadsheets and email to manage supply chain operations. By doing so, it simplifies tasks and removes the need to carry out mundane tasks that may result in human error. Having this end-to-end traceability system proves easier for brands to navigate their tasks and understand why and/or how a problem in their supply chain occurred. Achieving supply chain sustainability with innovative technology is the key to success in today's digital era.
There is no telling what the future holds, nor is there a crystal ball for what’s next in fashion. But what we do know for certain is that regardless of the size, customer profile, or product assortment of any brand, the trend towards sustainability is more than just a fad. It is no longer an option, but an imperative.
Software and sustainability a requirement for doing business in today’s day and age – it is the beta of future growth.