With the fashion industry's environmental impact significant and growing, pressure is on brands to rethink their production processes. However, one of the main problems with this is that brands do not have the ability to clearly see and understand the supply chains they are using – there is essentially a gap in data and a lack of clear explanation, and this is where Google comes in.
At the Copenhagen Fashion Summit today, a new pilot scheme will be announced, which aims to give brands a more comprehensive overview of their supply chains, particularly at the level of raw material production, which is where much of the environmental impact takes place. To give you some idea, the fashion industry is responsible for 20 per cent of wastewater and 10 per cent of carbon emissions globally and most of this occurs in the first stage of production.
Google will be developing a tool which uses data analytics and machine learning to compile this information. It will then work with eco-luxury label Stella McCartney – which has been a pioneer in the fashion industry when it comes to environmental impact – to translate the data into meaningful figures that can be shared with the industry, so that brands can take action.
The pilot scheme will begin by looking at cotton and viscose, which have been chosen due to the scale of their production, the availability of data and impact considerations.
The hope is that better visibility for brands will allow them to take action in choosing raw materials and processes which have more sustainable practices in mind. This is just the first stage of the process, with Google hoping to continue to develop further schemes that will help the fashion industry to drastically reduce its impact on our environment.
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