Ethical Trade

Texworld USA Transparency and Traceability Panel - What we learned.

Panelists from left to right: Maggie Kervick (GCNYC Director of Strategy & Integrated Partnerships), Juliette Barre (Director of Business Development and Marketing, Sourcemap), Leslie Ferrick (Senior Manager of Fabric R&D/Sourcing Dept., Athleta), Karen Newman (United Nations Consultant), and Louise Claughton (Senior Director, PVH Corp.)

Panelists from left to right: Maggie Kervick (GCNYC Director of Strategy & Integrated Partnerships), Juliette Barre (Director of Business Development and Marketing, Sourcemap), Leslie Ferrick (Senior Manager of Fabric R&D/Sourcing Dept., Athleta), Karen Newman (United Nations Consultant), and Louise Claughton (Senior Director, PVH Corp.)

Customers and investors are looking for answers: they want brands to provide data about where products come from, how they are made, and other key sustainability facts. It sounds simple, but supply chains can be complex in the age of international trade and a single item can be made of materials from hundreds of suppliers. 

This week Sourcemap was at Texworld USA to meet and discuss with textile brands and manufacturers. Our Director of Business Development and Marketing, Juliette Barre participated in the panel: Transparency and Traceability, Challenges Facing Major Brands. Juliette joined moderator Maggie Kervick (GCNYC Director of Strategy & Integrated Partnerships) with panelists Karen Newman (United Nations Consultant), Leslie Ferrick (Senior Manager of Fabric R&D/Sourcing Dept., Athleta), and Louise Claughton (Senior Director, PVH Corp.).

Some key takeaways from the panel: 

  • Understanding your supply chain from end-to-end benefits a brand’s bottom line:

    • Companies can better anticipate and adapt to disruptions when they know who is in their supply chain

    • Marketing departments can use transparency to back up commitments and avoid greenwashing

    • Suppliers are partners; understanding where they are and opening dialogue around transparency strengthens business relationships

    • Investor increasingly care about the supply chains of their portfolio companies - after all, it’s their supply chain too

  • There’s no need to reinvent the wheel: use open-source resources to gather information on what other industry peers or goal-oriented groups are doing to tackle a specific objective. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals act as a framework, detailing what issues and targets can be achieved in specific areas.

  • If your brand isn’t doing anything about transparency, get started:

    • Don’t be afraid to communicate the good things your company is doing - if you don’t share, you won’t get the credit

    • Be transparent about where you need to improve. No one expects companies to be perfect. Acknowledging gaps and communicating on your action plan will help avoid backlash from third-party organizations. 

The discussion highlighted many ways in which sustainability and traceability can drive operating efficiency. By exploring the supply chain and problems/opportunities within, business functions can be more efficiently used to tackle important issues. But all of the panelists agreed that the journey to sustainability is not linear or clear-cut, it is full of trial, error, reflection, and action. 

The Responsible Mica Initiative Gets Serious About Supply Chain Mapping [Interview]

Source: Reuters 2016

Source: Reuters 2016

Sourcemap’s mission is to map the world’s supply chains, and as part of that mission, we engage with leading practitioners of supply chain transparency to bring attention to their issues and approaches. We start this series with Fanny Fremont, Executive Director of the Responsible Mica Initiative (RMI). RMI is a non-profit organization committed to establishing a fair, responsible and sustainable mica supply chain in the states of Jharkhand and Bihar in India that will eliminate unacceptable working conditions and eradicate child labour by 2022. RMI currently has 55 members including companies like L’Oreal, Merck, Shiseido, Coty, BASF, LVMH, PPG and many more.

Mica has rightfully earned the nickname ‘nature’s glitter’ because it’s a natural mineral used to add sparkle to everything including paints, furniture, automobiles, plastic, electronics, and cosmetics, among others. Despite the mineral’s gleaming properties, the dark side of Mica begins at the source. As much as 25%(*) of the world’s mica is extracted from informal mines in India where working conditions are harsh and systemic problems endure, including child labor. Sourcemap’s Director of Business Development Juliette Barre sat down with Fanny to shine some light on the issues facing the mica supply chain.
 

JB: Can you tell me how the Responsible Mica Initiative came about?

FF: The RMI was officially created in January 2017, building on several existing individual initiatives regarding mica mining in India, with the ambition of aligning the efforts of all the stakeholders, building common standards and programs and scaling up impact from the mines to the end-users. The RMI uses a multi-stakeholder and holistic approach that engages companies, civil society organizations, industry associations, and governments to develop and implement three integrated program pillars that will establish responsible workplace standards, empower local communities and establish a legal framework for the mica sector. That’s to us the only way to leverage a positive impact on local communities, children and their environment, and to drive a long-lasting change.

JB: Issues around Mica aren't new, but lately we’ve been hearing more about them in the news. Why do you think that is?

FF: I guess it’s a combination of growing public awareness versus issues linked to mica sourcing and request for increased transparency; of development of hard and soft regulations focusing on respect of human rights within supply chains - including of minerals supply chains; and - I hope - of our efforts as Responsible Mica Initiative to raise awareness and federate different stakeholders around our mission and activities.

JB: Based on your experience and work with your members, what do you think are the three biggest challenges regarding Mica traceability at the moment?

FF: The 3 main challenges we are facing are (i) the mapping as a pre-requisite, (ii) the lack of clear legal framework regarding mica collection in India, and (iii) the cost. For mica-using industries like automotive or electronics, components using mica can be numerous and supply chains complex. Finding out who are the exact tiers 1, 2, 3… suppliers till the mica mines is already a challenge. Then, to date, feedback from the field indicated that no single mine in Jharkhand and in Bihar (India) can be considered legal, meaning with a valid government license. Based on this, our assumption is that it would be very complicated to have very upstream actors entering identification and volume information into a shared tool. And finally, mica is a low-value mineral in comparison to gold or even other minerals. Bearing the costs of new traceability technologies could represent a barrier to some actors if the ROI is unclear.

JB: What are the frameworks and/or best practices available to the private sector at the moment?

FF: Right after its creation in January 2017, the RMI started work to develop responsible workplace standards which provide a central resource for preventing child labor and improving overall working conditions at mica processors and mines in India. Workplace standards address five dimensions of operations at mines and processors: legal requirements, social obligations, Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) provisions, economic requirements, and environmental standards. To my knowledge, there is no other equivalent standard focusing on mica.

JB: What first step(s) should any company using mica start implementing?

FF: The first step would be to map their mica uses, and right after that, take action. Risks linked to mica sourcing and processing activities have already been identified and assessed, and there is an urgent need for action. We are talking about the worst forms of child labor and globally harsh working conditions. I would, of course, encourage joining forces with the Responsible Mica Initiative through active membership.

More information about RMI can be found at their website: https://www.responsible-mica-initiative.com/

For information about tracing mica in your supply chain, find out how Sourcemap can help: https://www.sourcemap.com/traceability-1

References:

(*) https://www.responsible-mica-initiative.com/the-mica-issue.html

https://www.somo.nl/beauty-and-a-beast/ 


 

Responsible Jewelry = Traceable Jewelry

When the Kimberley Scheme for conflict-free diamonds was introduced in 2003, it was one of the earliest traceability programs in ethical sourcing. But bagging and tagging rough stones is no longer the best practice: today some producers laser-etch polished stones with unique serial numbers. What about rough and colored stones? Old-fashioned record-keeping is still the norm for much of the jewelry industry: paper ledgers, spreadsheets, proprietary databases. These systems are so shoddy some shipments are being turned away from US ports for missing proof of origin. Without a digital supply chain, there are few ways to verify the source of stones. Add that to the complexity in tracking precious metals from areas at risk of conflict, and it’s clear the time has come for the jewelry industry to adopt mine-to-retail traceability for every gem, every metal ingot it purchases.

Using technology that's already proven in remote supply chains, Sourcemap is able to track and trace any number of transactions across the end-to-end supply chain. A new workflow management platform allows the data to be automatically analyzed for anomalies, approved and audited. It can even provide item-level traceability to the end customer. Sourcemap is the all-in-one due diligence solution for the jewelry sector. Click below to download our free resource on implementing responsible sourcing.

Sourcemap at the 13th Forum on Responsible Minerals

Responsible gems and minerals are a hot topic, with over 80,000 artisanal miners being registered into responsible supply chains in the past two years alone. But some reports have claimed that shifts in regulation have had an overall negative impact on miners’ earnings and on the commercial viability of some local traders and exporters.

Eight years ago the OECD published its Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals, an international framework for companies to avoid contributing to conflict through their mineral purchasing practices. The Dodd Frank Act (US) and the new EU regulation on conflict minerals refer to the OECD's guidance as a best practice in responsible minerals sourcing.

Last week, the Sourcemap team joined more than 900 attendees at the OECD's 13th Forum on Responsible Minerals in Paris. Here is what we learned:

  • The London Metal Exchange introduced mandatory responsible sourcing requirements that will be implemented by 2022.

  • The World Bank launched the first annual report on the State of ASM: 2019 State of the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Sector.

  • The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) revised its Code of Practices to include due diligence requirements based on the OECD Guidance.

  • The World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) announced a new Blue Book providing guidance for responsible sourcing in the jewellery sector.

  • Ulula and the International Peace Information Service (IPIS) published a report assessing the impact of due diligence programmes on mining communities in the eastern provinces of the DRC.

  • Several companies announced their transparency and traceability goals for gems and minerals.

The OECD was an important event for Sourcemap too, as we introduced our new Responsible Mineral Platform to help companies implement supply chain due diligence when it comes to responsible mineral sourcing. The platform lets companies track any mineral down to the mine through an automated online process. It works by connecting the entire supply chain down to the smelters and mines, verifying transactions, monitoring performance and managing improvement plans toward corporate and regulatory targets. The Responsible Minerals Platform even lets companies monitor worker livelihoods and the impact your responsible sourcing programs are having on local communities (access to education, miner wages, child labor etc.) To find out more, visit Sourcemap's free responsible mineral sourcing resource here.



Keep up with the new OECD guidance on Conflict Minerals with Sourcemap's Responsible Minerals Platform

Dodd-Frank conflict minerals disclosure ushered in supply chain transparency law, and now it's been superseded by the new EU requirements. What's changed? Transparency isn't enough: companies have to show that they perform due diligence on their extended conflict minerals supply chain, ensuring that risk is monitored and improvement plans are put in place. The best practice is to follow the OECD's guidance - something Sourcemap can do out-of-the-box. Download our free brochure and get in touch to implement best-in-class due diligence practices, for now and for the future. Click the link below:

Last Week, IBM Traced 28 Tons of Oranges Using Blockchain. Also Last Week, Sourcemap Traced 1,000 Tons of Cocoa - No Blockchain Required.

The First Step to Traceability: Stenciling Batch Numbers on Bags of Cocoa at a Depot in Ghana

The First Step to Traceability: Stenciling Batch Numbers on Bags of Cocoa at a Depot in Ghana

There’s a lot of hype around using blockchain to trace supply chains. How does it stand up in the real world? The most widely publicized blockchain pilots involve shippers and retailers - the ‘last leg’ of a global supply chain. What happens when you want to trace a product from the source, and that source is halfway around the world?

Global supply chains include people from every walk of life, from smallholder farmers to corporate executives. The challenge with traceability is finding a solution that can handle the complexity of global trade while being easy to adopt each step of the way. Sourcemap uses proven technology, including the graph databases that power social networks and mobile apps that work on the most common devices. And of course, spreadsheets.

You can trust the data. Everything that’s uploaded to Sourcemap is encrypted and changes are tracked, so there is no chance of someone altering a record without being detected. And the app is lightweight, so it’s used to capture lots of additional data: farm areas, workforce statistics, indicators for safety and hygiene. You can rest assured, not only that the source of products is authentic, but also that important risks such as child labor and deforestation are minimized.

Traceability isn’t about blockchain, it’s about digitizing the supply chain. Once paper- and spreadsheet-based records are uploaded to the cloud, the savings are immense: no more document handling, better quality control, fewer delays and disruptions, less risk. To learn more about the agile ways that end-to-end traceability is being implemented in supply chains around the world, get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

Source

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

Sourcemap CEO, “Manufacturers have no excuses for lack of transparency in cobalt mining.”

Cobalt prices have quadrupled since hitting an all-time low just two years ago. The material’s use in the rechargeable batteries of electric cars and smartphones triggered a spike in the market and demand isn’t expected to slow.

Unfortunately, most corporations lack visibility of their cobalt supply chain beyond the smelters that purchase the ore from mines, or intermediaries. According to Amnesty International, the lack of accountability has led to insidious mining conditions, particularly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which produces 60 percent of the world’s cobalt. Nearly 150,000 people work in “artisanal” mines plagued with collapsing shafts and harsh work environments. An estimated 40,000 child laborers are cheated out of pay, vulnerable to harm, and often handle the toxic material without gloves or masks.

In this piece published in Eco-Business, Sourcemap CEO Dr. Leo Bonanni argues that there is no excuse for companies not maintaining 100% traceability in their cobalt supply chains. The type of end-to-end traceability software that Sourcemap has used to map some of the world’s most complex supply chains can help rid high-risk and inhumane activities from cobalt sourcing.

Article: http://www.eco-business.com/opinion/no-excuses-for-lack-of-transparency-in-cobalt-mining/

 

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 and Bluenumber now offer 100% Palm Oil Traceability

Sourcemap_palm_oil_traceability_smallholder_supply_chain_mapping.jpg

Sourcemap and Bluenumber are teaming up to deliver the first solution to trace both where palm oil comes from and who produced it. The leaders in supply chain mapping and unique smallholder identification have co-developed a service to present verified and visualized data cheaper, faster and with greater assurance than traditional certification or sample-based fieldwork. 

Sourcemap, the global leader in supply chain mapping and transparency, and Bluenumber, developer and host for an independent registry of unique digital farmer and worker identities have jointly developed two groundbreaking offerings for palm oil transparency and traceability. The new services plug current data gaps in industry standard sustainable palm oil sourcing practices by creating end-to-end visibility. Users can now prove with precision that their palm oil supply chain is deforestation-free and socially responsible.

The basic 'Supply Map’ offering is designed to help buyers show their consumers and stakeholders from where and whom they source palm oil. The more advanced service, ‘Trace & Track,’ gives buyers highly detailed information on the origin, route and handling of every specific Palm Oil shipment received, including every smallholder and every mill involved in each specific delivery.

The new solution uses a proprietary technology suite including GPS enabled data collection apps for fieldwork. Bluenumber issues unique identifiers to verify every smallholder, estate worker and facility at every stage in the supply chain. The Sourcemap platform organizes and visualizes all data necessary to understand and present verified smallholders, mills and other actors. The integrated systems establish the relationships and transactions between people and places. The resulting visualization and data analysis reveals time-calibrated activity of smallholders and estates. Risk data associated with each actor or entity allow buyers at multiple levels in the supply chain to make more informed procurement decisions on where and whom to source from.

The solution works with palm oil supply chains that are certified under traditional programs, and with sources that are not certified.  To learn more, please get in touch.    

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.