‘a better way’ programme criteria #3: Traceability

For nearly 50 years Première Vision has served as the central hub of the upstream fashion industry, a catalyst fostering connections, exchanges, and discoveries. With the introduction of its innovative “a better way” programme, the show is committing to driving the sector’s transformation by sharing key analyses of the environmental and social performance of its exhibitors.

The program is based on 5 criteria: Social initiatives, Impact of production sites, Traceability, Composition, and Product life cycle and end-of-life. Five questions are used to assess how robustly each of these key areas is managed.

Here, a look at the issues covered by traceability.

1- Social and environmental criteria, Tier 1

The first step is to gain full knowledge of your Tier 1 suppliers. ‘a better way’ queries exhibitors about the data they manage with respect to direct suppliers. The scope of analysis covers social and environmental criteria, to identify whether audits or voluntary initiatives are being carried out to attest to best practices.

In the absence of external audits, a code of conduct can be established to ensure suppliers’ commitment to fundamental principles concerning working conditions, health and safety, and environmental responsibility. It is the company’s responsibility to ensure that the code is properly implemented.

2- Social and environmental criteria, Tier 2

Here, too, the aim is to map social and environmental data, and to gather information on indirect suppliers.
It is at this stage that traceability can begin to prove more difficult. For some years now, platforms dedicated to traceability have been making it easier to access this data by linking up the various players involved in a given supply chain.

3- Social and environmental criteria for raw materials

The last line to check is raw materials. Going back to the raw material creates a complete picture of a value chain’s strengths and risks.

This means, for example, ensuring the absence of forced or child labor, particularly in the cotton sector, verifying animal welfare standards in the wool sector, or identifying the origin of raw hides.

4- Geographical origin of raw materials/location of livestock farming

It is necessary to verify that supplies do not come from high-risk countries. Knowledge of the geographical area/country/region where raw materials are produced can help identify potential problems linked to raw material sourcing.

Certain countries may present significant human rights risks or be particularly exposed to deforestation or over-exploitation of natural resources.

5- Risk analysis of all strategic materials

The French Corporate Duty of Vigilance Law, and the regulatory project currently under study at European level, require companies to identify and manage the risks associated with their operations and value chains.

The risks are many and varied: geopolitical tension, supply disruption, failure to respect human rights, environmental issues such as the risk of drought or floods impacting harvests, or the volume of pesticides used, etc. Reviewing each strategic material, its area of origin and its characteristics makes it possible to better understand and protect oneself against those risks.

The objective is to assess any problems linked to strategic purchasing that may arise and to monitor external risks to the company.

Traceability is an extension of a responsible approach, making it possible to assess a situation and gather a wealth of information about the value chain. Its importance was recently highlighted by France’s AGEC (Anti-Gaspillage pour une Economie Circulaire) law, which requires brands to share with consumers the geographical origin of tier 1 and 2 garments, and tier 1 footwear. The prospect of the Fashion Act in the United States could see these requirements extended right back to the raw material.

The next “a better way” pillar will share with you the requirements set by the program in terms of product composition.

Find out more about the ‘a better way’ program and discover the 5 criteria in detail:

Previous post ‘a better way’ programme criteria #2: Impact of production sites Next post [PV Talk] – A New Making for Made in Italy