A 2019 McKinsey survey of sourcing executives found that 65% expected to achieve full traceability from fiber to store by 2025. To achieve this, not only do we need to see an ambitious rate of investment, but a complete system redesign that holds brands and retailers accountable for their commitments.
According to the 2021 FTI, 32% of brands have permanent, year-round take-back schemes, but only 22% of brands disclose what happens to clothes received — i.e how much is resold locally, resold into other markets, downcycled, upcycled, recycled into new textiles. Increased transparency on what happens to clothes received through take-back schemes is needed to help reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills. Embracing traceability at scale means investing in the circular economy.
To achieve an economy where little is wasted and clothing stays in use for longer, consumer adoption is crucial. Whether that’s buying second-hand and renting clothing, or disposing of clothing through take-back schemes and donation initiatives, there is no circular economy without the participation of the business sector, consumers, and governing bodies.
Case Study: adidas
Global sports brand adidas is one of the first large businesses in the footwear and apparel sector to achieve material traceability at scale, gaining greater visibility into its complete supply chain down to the material level, by using TrusTrace’s digital traceability platform.
As part of a commitment to sustainability, adidas has set targets to source 100% recycled polyester, the most common material used in adidas products, by 2024. By 2025, adidas is also aiming for 9 out of 10 of their articles to be sustainable, meaning that they are made with environmentally preferred materials. adidas is leveraging material traceability to track and create a digital chain of custody for the use of certified materials, such as organic cotton or recycled polyester, in every batch of production across its supplier network.
Using material traceability data, adidas has achieved better visibility and control of its supply chain data and can ensure that compliance needs are met. adidas collects all the supply chain data in real-time as the materials flow through the value chain, meaning that the final product has all the data attached to it when it arrives on the market. With this data, adidas checks the finished product vs. the original design/purchase order, ensuring that everything has been produced as planned, and can then easily provide evidence for product or material claims.
With objectives to trace all products and materials across apparel, footwear, and accessories divisions, adidas had to ensure that the traceability solution could cover large amounts of data, meaning a digital, automated, and scalable solution. With many transactions and data points from multiple systems, manual data entry was not an option.
Therefore, adidas integrated its systems with the TrusTrace platform, ensuring seamless data flow between systems such as a PLM, Purchase Order System, and Supplier Management systems. Besides automated data flows, the integrations also ensure data quality, as the data is continually updated, capturing last-minute changes to designs or purchase orders. Through a strong focus internally and in collaboration with their suppliers, adidas was able to implement and scale the traceability program within months.
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