Apparel

World’s first free digital map of apparel factories now online

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NEW YORK CITY – Sourcemap gave the apparel industry, manufacturers, and consumers worldwide unprecedented access to the factories making their clothes with today’s launch of the Open Apparel Registry (OAR) — an open, crowdsourced database of apparel facilities around the world.

The online tool creates a common and standardized resource of facility names and addresses that is completely free and easy to search. As the first advanced name-and-address matching system for the apparel industry, the OAR will create historic transparency and accountability in an industry plagued by systemic sustainability challenges and inhumane employment practices.

“The Open Apparel Registry has been a years-long effort to help consumers, companies and NGO's make certain that the factories they think their clothes are coming from are actually the right ones,” said Dr. Leo Bonanni, founder and CEO of Sourcemap. “Apparel facilities can now be searched much like finding an address on Google Maps, which we expect will create an industry where one-day, every article of clothing is traced to its source.”

Currently, most apparel factories are logged across multiple, inconsistent databases. Many more facilities are completely unaccounted for. Even the most conscientious brands have struggled to maintain visibility over the manufacturers beyond the first tier of their supply chains. The lack of accountability has led to the apparel industry’s failed attempts to rid supply chains of forced labor, child labor, poor working conditions, and environmentally harmful practices. 

The OAR is funded by the C&A Foundation. It marks Sourcemap’s largest open-source project to date. Nonprofit partnerships and corporate alliances have attempted to conduct similar large-scale mapping projects without success.

Sourcemap is recognized as the leader in mapping and transparency platforms for industry groups. C&A Foundation is also sponsoring Sourcemap’s partnership with BRAC University (BRACU) on a breakthrough project to survey and map every garment factory in Bangladesh. Sourcemap currently powers the latest generation of the Higg Index platform, the leading suite of tools for measuring social and environmental sustainability across the apparel, footwear and textile industries. The Green Electronic Council’s newly reimagined EPEAT Registry for sustainable IT products also runs on Sourcemap’s platform.

The OAR is now live at openapparel.org

Read the news release on Ecotextile News >

Sourcemap Receives Green Carpet Fashion Award at Milan Fashion Week

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Sourcemap was awarded the Supply Chain Innovation prize at this year's Green Carpet Fashion Award, a “a star-studded celebration of the sustainability, innovation and the contribution of the Italian fashion industry.”

Read more about it on the Eco-Age website and see it in Vogue

This Tech Startup Could Revolutionize The Fashion Industry With Its Latest Project [Forbes]

Sourcemap, a New York City tech start-up is building a platform, that could transform the fashion industry: a digital map of all clothing manufacturers in Bangladesh.

Read the full article at https://www.forbes.com/sites/eshachhabra/2018/03/30/this-tech-startup-could-revolutionize-the-fashion-industry-with-its-latest-project/#356582bf72f2

Sourcemap travels to Dhaka to launch massive digital mapping of Bangladeshi garment factories

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The Sourcemap team travelled to Dhaka, Bangladesh last month to kick off the door-to-door census of every garment factory in the country: a Digital Ready-Made Factory Map of Bangladesh. Local data collectors equipped with mobile apps have begun to amass thousands of GPS-linked data points collected on the ground from factory owners, workers and organizations. As this data is fed into Sourcemap’s supply chain mapping and transparency platform, we will be able to provide global apparel brands and consumers with radical transparency in one of world’s largest garment producing regions.

The timing of the project is critical. April 24 will mark five years since the factory collapse at Rana Plaza outside Dhaka that took the lives of 1,135 people. North American and European apparel brands have already announced their intention to walk away from the safety tracking programs formed in response to the tragedy once they expire in May.  

Sourcemap is partnering with C&A Foundation and BRAC University (BRAC U) in Bangladesh to administer the survey. Together, we will create a new digital factory map that will democratize data collection and transparency by permanently transitioning accountability for factory improvements to Bangladeshis.  

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“A big part of our commitment to have Bangladeshis own and control this data comes down to designing the right interface,” said Rhea Rakshit, Director of Design for Sourcemap. “The goal is to make it as simple as possible to collect data from factories on the ground, and then allow apparel brands and other stakeholders to gain access to it through an easy to use mapping platform.”

While on the ground in Dhaka, our team witnessed just how critical the garment industry was to Bangladesh. The industry employs approximately four million people. Alarmingly though, most workers report to factories that are invisible on the supply chain – even to the multinational brands ultimately purchasing their products.

The BRAC U survey will put each of these factories on the map. In addition to factory and worker statistics, types of products manufactured, the names of clothing brands that each factory manufactures for will also be captured. All data will be uploaded on Sourcemap cloud servers and visible to the public. Ultimately, this transparency will increase the accountability of brands, decrease risk to workers, and add value to Bangladeshi products.

Dr. Leonardo Bonanni, CEO of Sourcemap, remarked on the project, “The crowdsourced garment factory map promises to make the ‘Made in Bangladesh’ label an asset to apparel brands and a point of consumer pride worldwide.”

What it's really going to take for sustainability to work [Sourcing Journal]

by Tara Donaldson

Posted on January 23, 2018 in Feature.

The thing about sustainability in the apparel industry is that brands and retailers are either embracing it of their own accord, finding themselves backed into a corner with little other option, or faking it until they make it.

The latter, of course, is where the problem of compliance arises.

“I’m kind of pessimistic when it comes to sustainability, compliance, traceability,” Sourcing Journal president Edward Hertzman said speaking on a Texworld USA supply chain panel Monday.

Having spent years in sourcing prior to publishing, Hertzman said he’s had brands ask him to manufacture organic product for them, and he’s gone to factories to source it, only to find that the suppliers are selling the brands goods labeled as organic when they’re in fact no such thing.

“It’s very complex to trace this. There isn’t necessarily one set of standards that everyone follows,” Hertzman said. “I think we are a long way from this being part of every single company’s culture.”

The problem, according to Dr. Leonardo Bonanni, founder and CEO of Sourcemap, a supply chain-mapping software company, is that the apparel industry has faced structural issues that haven’t exactly served to fuel transparency and traceability.

Until recently, Bonanni said, “You actually couldn’t map a supply chain for an apparel product,” largely because brands themselves couldn’t see past their Tier 1 suppliers—a problem which still remains for some companies.

Read the rest of the article at Sourcing Journal.

See How Vivienne Westwood, Karen Walker, Mimco and sass & bide support artisans in East AFrica: introducing Ethical Fashion Initiative + Sourcemap

We're proud to have been selected by the Ethical Fashion Initiative (Motto: Not Charity - Just Work) as the software for RISEmap: an online traceability platform highlighting the brands who support artisans in Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia through their supply chains. Accessible through QR codes on product hangtags and the EFI website itself, RISEmap highlights stories of unique crafts that sustain communities and supply unique products to globally recognized brands. Find out more by visiting the RISEmaps below:

Visit the RISE reports page to learn more about the work of the Ethical Fashion Initiative

How Plastic Bottles From Haiti End Up In Your Boots: Timberland X Thread on Open Sourcemap

Thread International weaves fabric from plastic bottles collected in Haiti and Honduras - providing income opportunities to nearly four thousand people and diverting two hundred tons of plastic from waste streams. This Spring Timberland is launching two footwear products built using Thread post-consumer recycled fabric. Follow the entire story from bottle collection to Timberland's supplier factories in Asia in the mesmerizing map below or visit open.sourcemap.com to create one like this for your brand.