New blockchain technology allows fashion brands to reach their sustainability goals by monitoring every step of the supply chain. First up: Adidas.
Adidas has become the first adopter of new blockchain technology that enables fashion brands to monitor product traceability and supply chain transparency in near real-time, and become more sustainable as a result.
The system, called TrusTrace Certified Material Compliance, was created by Stockholm-based company TrusTrace, which describes it as ‘a one-stop solution’ for the industry.
The chain allows companies to be more compliant when it comes to using certified materials, and more sustainable in terms of product traceability, and also in terms of monitoring excess materials.
As brands can trace their supply chain when transactions happen, by the time finished goods come to market, data from every step of their creation, origins, and material integrity are captured to be shared with consumers, retailers, and regulators.
Adidas not only adopted the system but also provided early input into it at the development stage, focusing on how to integrate the digital solution into the enterprise systems that businesses use to track and control all aspects of their operations, in an effort to reduce the need for manual intervention.
Commitment to sustainability
Katja Schreiber, Senior Vice President of Sustainability at Adidas, said in a statement: “As part of its commitment to sustainability, Adidas has worked with TrusTrace to gain more visibility into our complete supply chain down to the materials level.
“The information gleaned from TrusTrace Certified Material Compliance will help us to create even more transparency of our sustainability efforts.”
Adidas was able to scale the blockchain solution quickly, according to TrusTrace. Within four months, the sportswear giant documented more than 1 million transactions covering 10,000 materials and styles across 8,000 facilities.
Using the tech in this way, tracking materials in a standardized, digital and scalable way, will help the brand become more sustainable, and meet its goals in this area.
These aims include ‘moving to 100 percent recycled polyester by 2024, and having nine out of 10 of its articles featuring a sustainable technology, material, design or manufacturing method by 2025’.
A key part of the tech is that it can help fashion brands identify material waste in the supply chain. It does this by calculating discrepancies between inputs and outputs, helping production become more efficient. The result of this is that less waste is generated, and therefore is kept out of landfills.
Near real-time traceability
“In the midst of global greenwashing and challenges with unsubstantiated claims, brands and regulators are moving quickly to instill confidence among consumers that products are, indeed, as sustainable as they claim to be,” said Shameek Ghosh, CEO of TrusTrace.
“Brands that want to establish near real-time traceability at the lot level by mapping the movement of raw materials to finished goods, and to automatically calculate the sustainability metrics of those goods, now have a proven solution in TrusTrace Certified Material Compliance.
“By linking all purchase orders to production steps, certificates, supplier declarations and quality reports on the TrusTrace platform, Certified Material Compliance helps brands manage risk and compliance and allows them to prove sustainability claims with confidence.”
This kind of traceability is becoming increasingly important for companies if they are to comply with incoming EU regulations around material traceability.
Authenticating sustainability claims
Fashion for Good, an Amsterdam-based platform for sustainable fashion innovation, has spoken out about the importance of standardizing the industry if it is to become more sustainable.
“Real-time, fiber-forward traceability facilitates industry-wide standardization of supply chain data, laying the foundation for accurate impact tracking, trustworthy certification and waste stream analytics for fibers, materials and products,” Katrin Ley, Managing Director at Fashion for Good, said.
“All of these factors play a major role in authenticating sustainability claims, enabling accurate measuring, and ultimately empowering improvements of ESG metrics within the supply chain alongside facilitating the credible flow of impact data to meet legislative requirements at a product level.”
The platform recently launched the Untapped Agricultural Waste project aimed at exploring waste from rice husks, hemp, wheat straw, banana, and pineapple for fiber production.
It also recently partnered with Adidas and Kering, among others, on a project aimed at reducing water use in textile production.
“For brands, supply chain due diligence and sustainability strategies need material traceability, provided by reliable, digital platforms such as TrusTrace, to build data-informed visibility of supply chain journeys to truly transition to more sustainable practices,” Ley said.
The blockchain announcement follows Adidas’ NFT launch earlier this year. That launch, a partnership with luxury fashion label Prada, shined light on the sustainability commitments from both brands. Proceeds went to charities and to support artists.
Adidas isn’t the only athleticwear brand upping its game. Puma’s sustainability efforts have earned it top rankings.