G-Star Raw, Ted Baker, Haikure, and Vivobarefoot are going public—with their sustainability scores, that is. The four brands are part of a pilot program with Made-By, a European not-for-profit dedicated to improving environmental and social conditions within the fashion industry. After a year of working with “Mode Tracker,” a roadmap-progress tool designed to engage brands and retailers in a wide range of sustainability issues, the companies are ready to lay bare the successes and challenges of verifying—and ultimately improving—their supply chains. “Until now, fashion companies’ sustainability performances have not been independently verified, consumer-friendly, based on a common standard or often published,” Made-By said in a statement. “Today’s announcement changes all that.”
Each visual scorecard offers both a high-level brand overview, as well as a more detailed analysis based on eight areas—or “cubes”— including product sustainability, manufacturing impact, labor standards and human rights, and waste management.
The cubes are further broken down into three ascending tiers: setting goals and building a foundation, making steady progress, and adopting the industry best practice.
Mode Tracker also drills down by year, allowing brands to demonstrate progress in different areas over time.
All the information the brands provide is verified by Made-By against expert-reviewed metrics for each topic, from “first steps to embedding processes through to current industry best practice.”
Allanna McAspurn, CEO of Made-By, says that the fashion industry is going through a profound sea change.
“The very fact that companies are now reporting their results in this way—independently verified, transparently and publicly—is the biggest proof of how much attitudes are shifting,” she said. “It would not have happened even five years ago. Of course, the results will be mixed. But it is to the companies’ credit that they are taking this route and willing to be publicly visible.”
THE WAY FORWARD
McAspurn is certainly in a position to know this. Since 2004, Made-By has worked with more than 150 brands and retailers to bolster their environmental and social profiles.
A willingness to settle for basic compliance not only makes for poor business today, it also threatens to “wreak havoc” with future operations, McAspurn adds.
“The industry is changing,” she said. “The role of leadership in the industry is going to be even more important and, within the brands and retailers, the need to be much more holistic and transparent.”
For Frouke Bruinsma, director of corporate responsibility at G-Star Raw, Mode Tracker represents the way forward.
“As well as giving us a comprehensive overview of the strengths and gaps in our approach to sustainability, this process has led to a strategic insight on how to further improve our sustainability performance,” Bruinsma said.”Mode Tracker enables us to be transparent in a credible way; to our customers, the industry and critical stakeholders. We invite other fashion companies to also take this step.”