Clothes are an intimate part of our everyday life. In constant contact with us physically, they keep us warm and allow us to express our personal style. So, shouldn’t we wonder where our clothes have been and who was a part of their creation before they arrived on our backs? With a recent virtual makeover under its belt, the European-based nonprofit Made-By plans to encourage just that: a more accessible and transparent connection between producer and consumer.
MAKING IT OUT
Through its scorecards, Made-By can highlight the successes and challenges ethical companies face.
Transparency holds importance for any business, Allanna McAspurn, the organization’s general manager, tells Ecouterre. “Transparency within the context of sustainability is important to show the journey,” she says.
Through the use of scorecards and Track & Trace, Made-By can highlight the successes, as well as the challenges that companies face when they make social and environmental improvements to their supply chains. “If you show the journey in a clever way,” McAspurn adds, “you can engage consumers through highlighting the issues that brands face and foster greater brand loyalty.”
On an annual basis, Made-By’s partner brands receive a “report card” outlining their progress and positive changes, along with areas that still need improvement. Consumers can then look over each brand’s scorecard online in a jargon-free format, so they can understand how that company dealt with social and environmental issues in the past year.
TRACK & TRACE
When Made-By’s partner brands incorporate sustainable products into their collections, they can insert a Track & Trace code in the label of these garments. Entering this code on Made-By’s website pulls up information about where the garment was made, what materials were used, and whose hands worked on it.
Since its inception in 2004, Made-By has built a growing roster of partner brands. Twenty-four of these received scorecards in 2009, and eight brands now participate in the Trace & Trace system. Made-By’s newest partner, Ted Baker, joined the group in May and will receive its first scorecard at the end of the year.