Welcome back to Twin&Chic Sustainability Journal!

In this second installment of our Sustainability Journal our "Guest Editor" will talk to us about Transparency and Traceability.


Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Pepe Jeans Group

Pilar has more than 20 years in the fashion sector, and has experience in the areas of Quality and Corporate Social Responsibility, coordinating technical teams and managing the supply chain both in the social area and in product safety, environmental impact. and international legislation.

We hope you enjoy our second post.

Thank you for being part of the change, together we will work for a better future.


When we talk about Corporate Sustainability and its application in fashion companies, terms such as transparency and traceability They have become a “must” in recent years.

Traceability, as defined by the United Nations Global Compact, is the ability to identify and track the history, distribution, location and application of products, parts and materials to ensure the reliability of sustainability claims in the areas of human rights, labor (including health and safety), the environment and anti-corruption.

Traceability is an invaluable tool to drive tremendous progress and improve the sustainability of the supply chain , one of the major sources of both social and environmental risk in the textile industry. It is also evidence of the good practices of the companies, valued by investors, financial entities and, above all, by consumers in the face of their growing demand for sustainable products.

We can list your benefits encompassing them in four important areas:

  • Traceability creates value, reducing risk in operations, ensuring supply in the event of any contingency, improving supplier selection and benefiting the reputation of companies.
  • It is a communication tool with stakeholders in their demand for more product information and to ensure that fashion brands' sustainability claims are true.
  • Ensures legislative compliance of companies.
  • Helps globalize sectoral responses with partnerships in processes and systems standardization projects and guaranteeing the security and supply of natural resources.

Start the route of the traceability It requires tenacity to trace the value chain, an opaque and highly atomized chain, composed of thousands of small production units for different processes in more than 100 countries around the world and where in many cases high levels of nonconformity can be found.

The first step of the route begins with the “mapping” of all the suppliers and the tracking of products and the origin of raw materials as far as possible. Once the chain has been traced, it is time to analyze the risks taking into account the complete product life cycle: production of the raw material itself, its processing, use and end of life.

Creating a “business case” with internal policies and the necessary resources will be the next step, studying the diligence of competitors and market tools to create the necessary strategy and the tools to use.

With the strategy created, it is time to set traceability and transparency objectives in the company's basic products as the first objective and ensure the commitment of senior management and the departments involved in products and acquisitions of all types. This includes financing already existing initiatives such as BCI, FSC, or Fairtrade and including GOTS, OCS or GRS type certifications in products.

To be successful, commitment to suppliers will be essential, sharing objectives with them and helping them meet requirements, as well as educating them about the traceability scheme and their responsibilities.

Refering to Transparency , this refers to the strategy of disclosing supply chain and sourcing information to interested parties. To do this, it will be necessary to define the data about which it will be transparent, to whom the information will be directed, how frequently it will be published and when.

There are already sectoral commitments in this regard, such as the Transparency pledge created in 2016 by Human Rights Watch (HRW) together with eight other human rights organizations to advocate for transparency in fashion supply chains and promote their dissemination. . This Commitment is a voluntary action by companies that helps to know how and where products are manufactured, the conditions in which employees are, etc.

In the December 2019 report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) already mentioned that transparency in the fashion industry had tripled since 2016.

"Transparency is not a remedy for labor rights abuses, but it is essential for a company that describes itself as ethical and sustainable," says the senior legal advisor of the women's rights division of Human Rights Watch, Aruna Kashyap. “All brands should embrace transparency in their supply chains, but ultimately laws are needed to require this transparency and make fundamental human rights practices mandatory.” And there is already movement to legislate it in Europe.

In April 2020, European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders advanced a mandatory legislative initiative for European human rights and environmental due diligence companies, and in August the European Commission published an initial assessment of the impact of the due diligence initiative and sustainable corporate governance.

This initiative aims to strengthen the regulatory framework so that companies focus on long-term sustainable value creation by reforming managers' responsibilities and thus, better align the interests of companies, interest groups and society. The commission has already opened a formal consultation process and, as foreseen in the roadmap, the due diligence of administrators is intended to be regulated through a directive that will be presented during the first quarter of 2021.

Given the suspicion of companies and many professionals about transparency and disclosing their supply chain, the regulation of due diligence will create an obligation to comply with all companies in the European sector, necessary to focus on the human rights of all. chain workers and the environmental impact of operations. Companies will become co-responsible for the consequences of their operations, no matter what.

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