Marks & Spencer is First Major Retailer to Commit to Full Traceability of Clothing, Home Goods

by , 08/05/11   filed under: Eco-Fashion News

Marks & Spencer, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style

Marks & Spencer is the first major retailer to commit to full traceability of all non-food products, including clothing. In a deal signed with Historic Futures, a firm that specializes in tracing supply chains, the British department store is poised to identify “every raw material source, spinner, and fabric mill” on every garment and home product it sells, according to Mark Sumner, a sustainable raw material specialist at M&S. “Full traceability will give us even greater ability to differentiate M&S products from our competitors,” he says.

Marks & Spencer, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style

STRING THEORY

Using a tracking service known as “String,” Historic Futures will work with M&S to collect information on the company’s supply chain. Beginning this year with kidswear, every product will be traced from seed to shelf. For a cotton T-shirt, for instance, the program will harvest data on where the cotton is grown, the yarn is spun, the fabric produced and dyed, and finally, where it’s finished.

Because of growing scrutiny from consumers, supply-chain traceability is fast becoming a necessity in today’s marketplace.

“Most retailers can only pinpoint the manufacturer of their products and some, who buy through third parties, cannot even go to that level,” says Sumner. By maintaining tabs on every aspect of production, M&S will benefit from “stronger connections” with its vendors, increased marketing power, and improved trust with customers, he adds.

Because of growing scrutiny from consumers, along with tighter environmental restrictions and volatile markets for raw materials, full supply-chain traceability is fast becoming a necessity in today’s marketplace, says Tim Wilson, managing director of Historic Futures. “This deal clearly identifies M&S as world leaders and demonstrates their commitment to quality and to the Plan A program.”

+ Marks & Spencer

[Via GreenWise Business]

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2 Responses to “Marks & Spencer is First Major Retailer to Commit to Full Traceability of Clothing, Home Goods”

  1. simonlazenby (@simonlazenby) says:

    I love that M&S have partnered with Historic Futures! Beyond the label could either party consider using a QR code on a tag that shows more background of the origin/source story? Even better would be an option for customers to donate to the local community or fund a Kiva-style initiative.

  2. summerforkids (@@summerforkids) says:

    What a great thing M&S is doing! If only there was a law that required all companies to do this, we would really know what chemicals / toxins are in our fabrics (and therefore coming into contact with our skin) and be able to make safer consumer decisions!

    Keep it up M&S! And thanks for posting ecouterre! I’d love to see more posts of this nature!

    ~ Danielle ~ http://www.summerforkids.com/ ~

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