Control Union, a global network of inspection operations and dedicated laboratories, in partnership with H&M has created a new tool to help the apparel industry meet its commitments to supply chain transparency and responsible sourcing. A unique supply chain traceability and data service, CONNECTED is designed specifically for apparel industry supply chains that are complex, distributed over several tiers and countries.
The new program provides companies with full visibility over their entire supply chains. It also collects a variety of data, helping them to assess the risks and their impact on communities and the environment. Initial trainings have already been rolled out within a select group of H&M’s viscose suppliers.
Supplier engagement and support is one of the key priorities of CONNECTED. To ensure that participants remain committed, dedicated support centers have been established in all producing regions. A local CONNECTED representative is made available to suppliers to provide guidance in using the system, to address technical issues or for general enquiries.
“CONNECTED is the product of several years’ experience with successful traceability projects for leading brands which have helped us identify and understand the challenges and needs along the entire supply chain, from farms to retailers. Thanks to our extensive geographical presence, we have established collaboration with producers and have been able to get a comprehensive view on what a supply chain traceability solution should look like,” said Franco Costantini, Senior Manager Supply Chain Services at Control Union.
The CONNECTED system includes traceability features for man-made wood fiber cellulosic materials (viscose, rayon, modal, lyocell and other trademarked brands) in response to over 100 fashion brands looking to meet their CanopyStyle initiative commitments, such as not sourcing from ancient and endangered forests. It also incorporates compliance targets that pull in the results from the CanopyStyle verification audits and ‘Hot Button’ producer rankings. Control Union says CONNECTED will continue to evolve over the coming months to reflect growing demand and offer fabrics made from alternative and next generation fibers, such as recycled clothing and left-over straw.
CONNECTED is based on an open traceability platform that allows retailers, brand owners and producers to map their supply chains, track materials, monitor compliances and have access to a variety of supply chain data — from volumes of transactions to order lead times.