WWF partners with Google to launch new digital tool to give insight into fashion's fiber sourcing

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2021-11-22 11:21:36 – USA

Technology giant Google and non-profit organization WWF has developed The Global Fibre Impact Explorer (GFIE), a new digital platform that will help fashion brands in understanding the environmental risk and impact of their fiber sourcing.

According to a first case study with sustainable luxury brand Stella McCartney, the new tool will help inform the fashion industry's sustainable sourcing strategy from the ground up using previously inaccessible data insights, combining climate risk and effect.

The brand's sustainable sourcing strategy was informed by the tool, which revealed that cotton sources in Turkey would face increased water and climate risks, confirming the need for investment in local farming communities focused on regenerative practices like water management and soil regeneration.

The GFIE is a user-friendly environmental data platform powered by Google Cloud that enables more responsible sourcing decisions at the raw materials stage of the fashion and textiles supply chain, where major environmental damage occurs and data on environmental impact is largely unavailable.

Thanks to a combination of high calibre national data and near real-time sub-national data insights, brands will be able to comprehend and more precisely detect dangers across 20+ fiber types, including natural, cellulosic, and synthetics, at a granular level through an accessible interface.

Data and analysis will be focused on a variety of environmental impact elements, such as air pollution, biodiversity, climate and greenhouse gas emissions, water use, and water quality. This is the first time that such a wide range of data and implications have been merged into an integrated textiles risk assessment tool.

The tool's findings will provide recommendations for targeted and regionally-specific risk reduction efforts, such as positive interventions with farmers, producers, communities, and others in the surrounding landscape to encourage improvements.

While the tool was first developed by Google in collaboration with WWF two years ago, it will now be transitioned to the worldwide NGO Textile Exchange in its next iteration to ensure widespread industry access and continuous development.

A variety of fashion firms, including Adidas, Allbirds, the H&M Group, and VF Corporation, were consulted in addition to Stella McCartney to assist test and enhancing the tool, ensuring that it can be used by big and small players alike.

In 2022, worldwide fashion brands and their sourcing teams will be able to use the platform. Here is where brands can register their interest.

Claire Bergkamp, Chief Operating Officer at Textile Exchange said that climate action begins at the source of the materials we chose. The Global Fibre Impact Explorer has the ability to have a positive impact on a company's sourcing decisions. The tool adds to Textile Exchange's ongoing efforts to assist and accelerate the adoption of lower-impact fibers and materials. Meaningful change is impossible to achieve in isolation. To move away from the current system, which leads to pollution and poverty, and toward a system that promotes wealth and regeneration, a holistic approach is essential. This technology aids the industry's progress in this direction.

Stella McCartney, Founder of her namesake brand said that more and more, buyers are insisting that they understand where their clothes come from. However, the people who make the product frequently lack the information they require. They're in severe need of it. This tool is a fantastic way for them at Stella McCartney, as well as the rest of the industry, to fully comprehend the impact of where they're sourcing from.

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