The Importance of Supply Chain Transparency in the Fashion Industry

What is supply chain transparency?

The concept of supply chain transparency was virtually unheard of 15 years ago but the reasons for the interest are clear. Companies are under pressure from governments, consumers, NGO’s, and other stake holders to divulge more information about their supply chains.

The long standing trend for cheap fast fashion has had a knock on effect along the entire supply chain. It squeezes everyone from the retailor with high rental prices, to manufacturer making the clothes to the farmer growing the raw materials.

The pressures to continually offer cheaper prices has over the years wiped out textile manufacturing in the developed world and pushed it towards the developing world where labour is cheaper and standards compromised. This has created a very complex global supply chain.

gen woo textile supply chain

Global Trading standards

To help improve the social compliance and trading standards organizations have arisen to give a global agreed standard for companies to strive to. Examples relevant to textiles include

  • Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) World leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibre. It defines high- level environmental criteria along the entire organics supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria too. 
  • Standard 100 Oeko-Tex Tests products for harmful substances to humans and the environment. It stands for high product safety.
  • Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Is an alliance of companies, trade unions, and NGO’s that promote respect for workers rights around the globe.
  • Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) Monitors workplace standards for suppliers across 11 fundamental principles. It is based on the labor standards of the international labour organization, UN charter of human rights and other key international and national regulations in the human rights sphere.

These organizations not only help retailors to make better choices when engaging in suppliers across the globe, it also helps manufacturers and farmers who are in developing countries have a guide and standard to achieve.

Times are changing

Raising the standard does come at a cost though and consumers need to be prepared to start paying for the true costs of their clothes.

Research indicates that consumers now are better informed and care more about where their clothes are made. They are willing to pay more for garments from companies that have made improvements to their supply chain and gained certifications and passed audits to ensure standards are not only improved but maintained.

This is great news.

How You Can Help

You can help by using the power of currency. Purchase your clothing and give your money to companies that have gained these certifications. You can check on the swing ticket for any of certifications mentioned above or on their websites. You will find a lot of well know retailors already have made huge improvements and hold a lot of these certifications already. This is good news and means progress is being made.

At THE JERSEY SHOP our in house brands “Fashion House” and “Gen Woo” are made from our own family run factory that holds certifications with GOTS, Oeko Tex 100, ETI, and BSCI. We are very proud of our long standing high standards and we hope we have inspired you to make better informed purchases no matter who the retailor is.

Thanks for reading.

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L.M Montgomery