EPISODE 60: Transparency Vs Traceability: What's the difference?
- Transparency vs Traceability
Welcome to the Fashion Unearthed podcast. If you need help navigating the fashion industry sustainably, you have come to the right place. I'm your host Belinda Humphrey and my hope is to simplify the fashion industry so that businesses can make the best decisions for people, planet and product.
Hello and welcome to episode 60 of the Fashion Unearthed Podcast. Today I wanted to dip into some terminology. If you're in my fortnightly newsletter, you would've read about a recent report from changing markets that highlighted two major global suppliers of polyester were cashing in on the global sanctions to buy more Russian oil. Indirectly, brands were funding the Russian War, and if you aren't on the newsletter and want to be, you can sign up by heading to the website, belindahumphrey.com.
Yes, they got me thinking about how transparency and traceability are hot topics at the moment. But most brands have been focusing on natural fibres down to farm or forest level. But I haven't seen any brands applying this scrutiny to where the gas, oil, or coal for their synthetic gowns are coming from and whether the workers involved in extracting those resources are safe and are paid a living wage. And actually, most brands in that changing market survey either wouldn't or couldn't disclose their synthetic supply chain.
Now, if you've been listening along for a while, firstly thank you. Or if you're new, thank you as well. I started this podcast to try and simplify a lot of industry terms and innovations within fashion and sustainability, which is sometimes easier than done admittedly. But I hope at the very least, it helps you to start asking questions about your business supply chain and understand the systems that are operating, which is why today I wanted to talk about the difference between traceability and transparency, similar to ethics and sustainability, transparency and traceability.
There are two sides to the same coin, so to speak. Let's start with traceability. Traceability is simply tracing everything back to the original source. Done well, this includes raw fibres for fabric, trims, interfacing threads, and packaging.
This is sometimes referred to as mapping your supply chain. And if you are interested in doing that, there is a freebie in the shop on the website, belindahumphrey.com, that you can download and it explains all the tiers and it gives you a framework to get started mapping your own supply chain. But yes, it's essentially mapping all the steps and going right back to the original source of all components used in your product. Moving onto transparency, it's important to note that you can't really be transparent unless you have traced your materials. Well, I guess you could be transparent and say you don't know, but usually, when transparency is talked about, it means you have investigated and verified the supply chain and you are publicly disclosing the information to be held accountable to change. Traceability is basically finding out all the information and transparency is publicly divulging it.
I hope that's helped to simplify the slight differences between transparency and traceability. And again, thank you to all new and regular listeners. I really appreciate each and every download I get. And if you want to get in touch on Instagram, you can find me at @belindahumphrey_ or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And as always, you'll find the show notes and any links on the website, belindahumphrey.com in the podcast section. Thanks so much for listening. See you next time.
Thanks for listening to the Fashion Unearthed Podcast. If you want to get in touch, head over to belindahumphrey.com, or you can find me on Instagram at Belinda Humphrey.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort is made to ensure that information is accurate at the time of recording, much like the fashion industry itself, this information may change.