The fashion industry has been given access to a new digital tool to help with transparency as well as sourcing more ethical suppliers.
The open-source digital map has been developed by C&A Foundation and geospatial technology firm Azavea to help the sector strengthen its disclosure practices.
Fashion retailers, suppliers and designers will be able to use the Open Apparel Registry (OAR) to map garment facilities worldwide. Each location will have a unique ID number and the database of IDs will use an address-matching algorithm to tie each facility to its location, name and information about its suppliers and buyers.
Initial data has been calculated from existing multi-stakeholder supply chain initiatives, individual brand and retailer supply lists as well as factory group lists, government databases and service provider lists.
Any organisation within the fashion sector will be able to use the tool which C&A Foundation and Azavea hope will become the “go-to source” for identifying all global facilities and affiliations.
The organisations claim the OAR will help businesses to update and standardise facility information to boost transparency, better understand the other affiliations of their suppliers and find new suppliers which operate in more ethical and sustainable ways.
Leslie Johnston, C&A Foundation’s executive director, said. “This ground-breaking initiative is the first to share, free of charge, important industry data across brands, retailers, manufacturers, multi-stakeholder initiatives and civil society.
“By doing so, the OAR accelerates collaboration within the apparel industry and contributes to a new paradigm of open data, which we believe is critical to making fashion a force for good.”
It will operate as a non-profit organisation, led by a board of directors from open data firms, garment factory groups, retailers, designers and multi-stakeholder initiatives.
The unveiling of OAR follows C&A Foundation’s announcement that it had joined forces with blockchain start-up Bext360, the Organic Cotton Accelerator and Fashion For Good to help bolster the transparency of fashion brands’ cotton supply chains.
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