8 Fashion Companies that Have Incorporated Traceability in Their Supply Chains

Editorial TeamEditorial Team
April 4th, 2024
3:31 PM

Supply chain traceability stands at the forefront of the fashion industry's sustainability agenda, with Eileen Fisher, Outland Denim, and Timberland leading the charge in order traceability.


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The fashion industry as a whole has undergone a profound shift towards sustainability, with a spotlight on the critical importance of supply chain traceability and transparency. Traceability, the process of tracing the origins of a product, has emerged as a linchpin in ensuring ethical practices and environmental stewardship throughout the fashion supply chain.


Understanding Supply Chain Traceability

Supply chain traceability encompasses a series of interconnected stages, spanning from the sourcing of raw materials to production, transportation, and distribution. However, the intricate and globalized nature of fashion supply chains often obscures visibility, leading to inefficiencies and challenges in tracking a product's journey. Brands grapple with verifying material origins, ensuring labor standard compliance, and accurately assessing environmental impacts.

The dynamic nature of the fashion industry, driven by rapid trends and consumer demand, further complicates efforts to enhance traceability. Short production cycles and frequent product launches hinder prioritization of traceability initiatives. Additionally, the surge in the use of preferred materials, like recycled or bio-based fibers, amplifies demands on sourcing while necessitating robust evidence to substantiate sustainability claims.


Drivers of Traceability

Regulatory compliance stands as a primary driver for traceability, with governments and regulatory bodies imposing stringent regulations on businesses. Initiatives like the EU cooperative sustainability due diligence directive and deforestation-free product regulation prioritize traceability to mitigate legal risks and ensure adherence to ethical standards.

Moreover, growing consumer awareness of sustainability influences purchasing decisions, compelling brands to demonstrate transparency and responsible sourcing practices. Ethical considerations have become integral to maintaining consumer trust and loyalty. Corporate image enhancement also motivates traceability initiatives, allowing companies to evaluate supplier performance, mitigate risks, and showcase commitments to ethical sourcing and social responsibility.


Promoting Traceability

To bolster supply chain traceability, collaboration between brands and suppliers is paramount. Mapping the entire supply chain, identifying risks, and implementing monitoring mechanisms are crucial steps. Regular audits and inspections ensure compliance with labor and environmental standards. Innovative digital methods, such as blockchain technology, offer promising avenues to enhance data collection, management, and analysis. Transparent and tamper-proof records enable real-time traceability, providing consumers with verifiable information about product origins and journey.


Introducing SGS Solutions

SGS offers comprehensive traceability services tailored to the fashion industry's needs. From supply chain mapping to digital platforms and product verification solutions, SGS facilitates the implementation of robust traceability management programs. Through partnerships, SGS supports companies in enhancing transparency and sustainability, fostering a more circular future.


SGS solutions include:

  • Establishment of a Traceability Management Program: This involves the mapping of supply chains and the development and execution of standardized traceability procedures.
  • Provision of Tailored Traceability Management Training: Customized training materials are provided, encompassing traceability standards and necessary requirements.
  • Deployment of the Traceability Digital Platform (SGS SMART Source): This platform facilitates the collection, management, querying, and analysis of order data.
  • Conducting Product Order Reviews: This service ensures the thoroughness and coherence of order documentation.
  • Implementation of Facility On-site Verification: Suppliers' traceability management performance is assessed through on-site verification.
  • Utilization of Tracer Solutions: Pigment tracers are employed to effectively track products throughout the supply chain.


Supply chain traceability stands at the forefront of the fashion industry's sustainability agenda. By addressing complexities, leveraging digital innovations, and prioritizing collaboration, brands can navigate toward a more transparent, ethical, and environmentally responsible future. SGS's tailored solutions empower brands to embrace traceability, driving positive change across the fashion supply chain.


Companies that Have Mapped out Their Entire Supply Chain

1. Another Tomorrow - A luxury staples brand headquartered in New York, Another Tomorrow is committed to maximizing transparency. Each garment showcased on its website is accompanied by a "provenance journey," meticulously documenting every stage of the supply and production chain. This information is easily accessible via the QR code provided on the product tags.


2. Timberland - A versatile apparel company hailing from New Hampshire, embarked on the journey of mapping its supply chain in late 2018. The leather utilized by Timberland originates from various locations worldwide, spanning China, the Dominican Republic, Italy, Vietnam, the US, and Germany.


3. Nudie - The Swedish denim brand, employs organic cotton procured from India, Turkey, and Uganda. Each pair of jeans sold by Nudie comes with a lifetime warranty for free repairs. Although the company had a production guide since 2013, it took a significant stride in 2020 by integrating supply chain transparency into its model. Furthermore, Nudie ensures that the factories it collaborates with adhere to safety standards, ethical practices, and provide fair wages to all employees.


4. Eileen Fisher - A women's fashion brand born in New York, prioritizes minimalist yet high-quality design. The company meticulously maps its supply chain, tracing its journey from farms to factories. Organic cotton utilized by Eileen Fisher is sourced from New Mexico, while wool originates from Australia, New Zealand, and Argentina. Additionally, the brand incorporates recycled fabrics, including cashmere, nylon, and polyester, furthering its commitment to sustainable practices.


5. Harvest & Mill - An organic basics brand, exclusively relies on cotton sourced from the United States. In addition to meticulously mapping its local supply chain, Harvest and Mill employs data science methodologies to monitor its environmental footprint. This close monitoring of its short supply chain yields notable reductions in water consumption, energy usage, and the utilization of harmful chemicals, underscoring the brand's commitment to sustainability.


6. Christy Dawn - Based in California, Christy Dawn specializes in crafting timeless dresses fashioned from regenerative cotton sourced from a farm cooperative in Erode, India. With production hubs in both India and Los Angeles, the brand emphasizes its commitment to supporting workers' rights while actively contributing to the fight against climate change. Through its sustainable practices and dedication to ethical manufacturing, Christy Dawn endeavors to make a positive impact on both people and the planet.


7. People Tree - Established in 1991, UK-based brand People Tree specializes in unique designs applied to classic clothing styles. It collaborates with fair trade groups to source its products and materials, which are then meticulously handmade by producers in Bangladesh and Nepal. The brand's wool is sourced from New Zealand, while its primary organic cotton supplier is Chetna Organic, renowned for cultivating cotton in India. This commitment to ethical sourcing underscores the brand's dedication to sustainability and social responsibility.


8. Outland Denim - Hailing from Australia, Outland Denim maintains a meticulous awareness of the origins of its materials, tracing them back to the very cotton seed. Its organic cotton is carefully sourced from certified suppliers based in Turkey, ensuring transparency and sustainability throughout the supply chain. Production predominantly occurs within Outland's own facilities, underscoring the brand's commitment to maintaining control over ethical manufacturing practices.