Lack of transparency in sustainable fashion supply chains is a big problem, affecting consumers and brands. This article discusses the importance of transparency and its benefits for consumers. It also looks at how common standards and guidelines can be a competitive advantage for brands. This will help make brands more transparent and help consumers make informed decisions.
Lack of transparency in sustainable fashion supply chains
Transparency is crucial for any brand that wants to build a more sustainable business. It allows them to monitor their supply chains to see how they can improve. This is particularly important with big brands that have a lot of responsibility to improve. Smaller brands have smaller supply chains and, therefore, they may have less responsibility but still have value-driven customers.
But there is still a significant problem: insufficient transparency exists in the fashion industry. While many brands have adopted sustainable standards, only some are transparent enough to help consumers determine where their clothes are made. It is, therefore, vital for brands to be more transparent and disclose the impact of their production.
The lack of transparency in the fashion industry means that most companies have little or no idea of what is happening in their supply chain. This information is necessary to make improvements. The fashion industry needs to adopt sustainable fashion and adapt its thinking. It still needs to be more feasible to be fully transparent in every aspect of the supply chain – from raw materials to the end consumer – but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Common standards and guidelines for brands
Fashion brands are increasingly being called upon to make their supply chains more sustainable and ethical. While the fashion industry contributes significantly to environmental and social destruction, there are ways to improve the industry’s performance and help consumers by establishing sustainable guidelines. Several initiatives have been launched, including a New York law requiring brands to map their supply chains and reduce carbon emissions in line with a 1.5-degree-Celsius scenario. Some of the initiatives aim to reduce a company’s production cost, while others aim to create a more transparent environment.
While each initiative has its standards and rules, most have a standardized application process. Following the guidelines in a certification scheme will help ensure that the company has met specific criteria.
Impacts on consumers
According to a new McKinsey report, the world’s consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of the impact their purchases have on the environment. More than two-thirds of the 2,000 consumers surveyed agreed that it is vital for brands to reduce pollution and limit climate change. In addition, consumers are increasingly likely to choose brands committed to sustainable production and social and environmental responsibility.
However, there are many gaps in existing consumer research. A significant issue is how to make consumers more knowledgeable about sustainable fashion. The best way to increase consumer awareness is to make sustainability easy to understand and accessible. For example, people can change their behavior by washing more clothes in cold water, avoiding toxic detergents, and using biodegradable detergents.
A third of consumers need to learn how to differentiate sustainable products from non-sustainable ones. This challenge is even more acute for older consumers, as one-third of Baby Boomers and one-fifth of the Silent Generation need to learn how to find information about sustainability. Despite this challenge, fashion brands are on the brink of a breakthrough. While many companies attempt to address these issues, they often need help with the complexity of supply chains. As a result, many are waiting for consumers to become more conscious of sustainability and ethical shopping.
Competitive advantage for brands
Brands that demonstrate their commitment to sustainability through dedicated strategies have a clear advantage over their competitors. They can take advantage of growing consumer environmental concerns and help shift them towards more sustainable consumption. Some studies have found that as many as 65% of fashion consumers care about the environment, but only a tiny percentage prioritizes sustainability in their shopping. A brand that can create sustainable products can capture a significant share of this market.
A brand’s ultimate competitive advantage is the brand equity that its customers recognize and identify with. But brand equity can be hard to measure, even for the world’s largest companies. Fortunately, some of the world’s most successful brands have leveraged different competitive advantages to create success, including scale, aggregation, and customer loyalty.
One brand that has taken this approach is Reformation, which has earned its million-dollar status by being 100% carbon, water, and waste neutral. Reformation’s clothes are made from recycled and plant-based materials. In addition, 75% of their garments are recyclable. As a result, Reformation has a clear competitive advantage, and many major retailers are now stocking their products.