What Fashion Suppliers Want, in Their Own Words

What Fashion Suppliers Want, in Their Own Words

TrusTrace is committed to providing decision-makers with the information they need to evaluate the status of their supply chain and the best actions to improve it. While this is often data-driven insights, we also believe in supporting fashion suppliers to voice their needs and concerns about the future of the industry.

Below is a letter from a GOTS-certified tier 1 supplier in Southern India which first appeared in our Traceability Playbook for Fashion's Supply Chains. The supplier prefers to stay anonymous to avoid potentially damaging relationships with their brand customers.

“Usually, textile manufacturers reside in developing countries. Sustainability is still not a burning issue in countries like ours, where the majority of the population is looking to just make ends meet. When we start our businesses, our top priority is to provide a good life for our families and ensure our employees are able to meet their needs. In a situation like this, even if sustainability in terms of practice and sourcing can be appreciated, it can most certainly 
 not be afforded. Initially, these practices are driven by brand requirements rather than personal preferences. But after suppliers reach a point of establishment, they can appreciate and practice these 
 on their own, even without push from brands.

Despite sustainability being preached 
in today's world, it is still suppliers that bear the costs of sustainable textile production. Suppliers are expected to follow sustainable practices, source from sustainable suppliers, and be certified under different material and social certifications and yet, final product 
 costs are still kept low.

The least that brands can do to help suppliers switch to more sustainable practices is to pay the real cost of 
 the goods.

In order to have any room to invest in improvements, supplier compensation must take into account the inflation in raw materials, petrol, shipping and increasing wages, as well as the cost 
of capital tied up from what the supplier pays for raw materials ahead of production. Often, suppliers receive payment 60 days after their customer has received the shipment. If customers are willing to pay more for sustainable products, brands can easily afford to 
 pay more to the suppliers as well.

Consumers ought to know that some of their favorite ‘sustainable’ brands have even canceled orders after suppliers have invested money, time and effort into executing them during Covid. Though this was not the case with our brands, 
we do know of fellow suppliers who have lost a fortune like this.

Also, suppliers get paid two months after delivering goods and if there are any delays, the brunt is always borne by suppliers. Consumers should be as eager to understand 
brand sourcing practices as they are 
 to understand supplier sustainability practices. This will help brands stay accountable for sourcing practices 
 and make sustainability more of 
a two-way street!”

To read more about the importance of supplier investment and collaboration, click here. To download your free copy of the Traceability Playbook, click here.

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