Live with 4Sustainability

On last Tuesday, March 22th, Francesca Rulli, CEO and Founder at Process Factory & 4Sustainability, has interviewed our Founder, Massimo Brandellero.
The main topic of the live was the data mapping of the textile and fashion supply chains!

“Without data, you are just another person with an opinion.”

William Edwards Deming, an American engineer, and statistician

The world of fashion, perhaps more than others, is the result of a legacy made up of slogans, perceptions, and opinions.

At this point, if we want to measure the impact of our actions, it is essential to replace slogans with data.

The data itself aren’t good or bad – it’s just a matter of choosing between the blue or the red pill.

We can continue to use them to defend ourselves from external attacks, or we can be proactive and start putting them in support of strategic choices.

Let’s take sustainability: up to now, sustainability has been a goal, the reaction to insistent requests for laws, compliance, or investors.

But sustainability is not a goal, but a starting point and a necessary condition for fashion to become the protagonist of the transition to a regenerative economy.

Without data, without objective measurement, this condition is unlikely to be fulfilled.

How to collect structured data

This is where the 3Ts: Traceability, Transparency, and Technology come into play.

Traceability in the fashion industry is a set of information connected and between the various players in the supply chain. Having this information available in a structured way allows you to make strategic choices.

Traceability, like sustainability, is not the aim but the process. We can say that traceability serves a purpose, and this purpose must be defined within the company.

We have to ask ourselves: what is the goal of our brand and why do we need supply chain traceability to achieve it?

The next step concerns the transparency of the supply chain, which is another thing. Transparency is the result we arrive at if we apply traceability to the supply chain. It is different if we want to have transparent communication with our customers.

It is possible to obtain supply chain transparency but choose not to share any information with customers, but never the opposite: we cannot declare ourselves as transparent without traceability.

However, not wanting to be transparent at all with customers doesn’t mean that our supply chain is not transparent with us or that the information are not structured.

For those involved in sustainability, traceability is at the service of reducing impact: if I can collect data to map them correctly, I will then be able to work on them to improve my supply chain, my products, and the impact that the latter have on the world.

Digital ID: all data and information you need

A topic closely linked to traceability is that of the Digital ID (or Product Passport), which is a digital certificate that contains all the information about the product, either inherent to the story behind the product itself or to the impact that this can to have.

According to the McKinsey’s State of Fashion, “2 out of 5 fashion executives plan to adopt product passports in 2022 or have already done so”. Also in the study, we read that the most successful cases relating to Digital ID are in those brands that carry out supply chain traceability.

Technology is part of this logic, as a tool to support the transition.

The fashion industry does not have a technological problem, but a complexity one. Technology is an enabler to transforming, optimizing, conveying, or creating new business models.

Taking up the example of Digital ID, this can be the first step in a circular economy cycle, while technology (specifically the blockchain), in this context, is the guarantor of the information that is issued, and makes it immutable.

So the statement that the brand makes is supported by data tracked and guaranteed by blockchain technology.

The tool is not the solution

Often the tool is confused with the solution, but to achieve the solution we need to have clear objectives, processes, and tools.

Only by having a clear purpose, can we understand how to analyze, process, and systematize the information we collect along the supply chain.

Once the purpose is defined, it is not a question of finding the technological solution but choosing the most suitable among those available.

There are no excuses or opinions to bring up. And the circle closes.

Thanks to Francesca Rulli for this interview and for spreading this data-driven sustainability mindset.

▶️ If you want to watch the interview’s replay, click here and enjoy!

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