Using Blockchain with a Transparent Supply Chain

With Fashion Revolution Week approaching, I reflect back on an amazing panel from last year: “How can fashion change the world?” Panelists included: Leonardo Bonanni, Tara St. James, Abrima Erwiah, Tabitha St. Bernard, and Stephanie Benedetto who spoke at Parsons in NYC. Visiting from Los Angeles where the conversation trend leaned toward healthier fashion options, when Leo spoke about open source and how to incorporate blockchain, it was apparent that fashion had begun to change the world by shifting purchase power to the consumer.


Taryn: What is Sourcemap (the platform for open supply chains)? What are the benefits for brands to openly share their supply chain transparently?


Leo: Sourcemap is the first software designed for supply chain transparency: helping companies trace their products to the raw materials, monitor their social and environmental impact, and share the results with their customers. Besides being good for the world, it’s a competitive advantage: companies that use Sourcemap stand out by being transparent, giving their customers considerable peace of mind.


T:  When it comes to sensitive information about a brand, how and why do you implement blockchain technology?


L: Some of the hardest sustainability questions can only be answered using new technology. To make supply chains transparent, we had to build a completely new kind of database that can connect hundreds of thousands of farms and factories around the world, and new visualizations to make sense of the data. To answer difficult questions about living wage, worker health and safety, and forced or child labor, we turn to blockchain. The distributed ledger makes it possible for us to verify that standards are being met without sharing personal data.


T: Which brands are currently using Sourcemap?


L: You’ll see some of the world’s best known apparel brands on, including Vans, Timberland, and Vivienne Westwood, as well as startups like Thread and Seek Collective.


T: What is the typical size of company that Sourcemap works with?


L: Companies of any size can begin their transparency journey on by drawing the map of their supply chain, down to the farms and factories where they source, all for free. Larger companies benefit from our enterprise solutions to make sense of their vast supply chains, measure social and environmental impact, and manage the sustainability of their brand. Blockchain is still in its early days, but many large manufacturers and retailers are already exploring how it can benefit their supply chain transparency work.

Learn more about integrating blockchain into fashion.

Written by Taryn Hipwell


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