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November 29th, 2017     2 MIN READ

Supporting Sustainable Fashion: how PLM can Make a Difference














2. How do companies know if they are working sustainably?

The SAC is partially driven by the Higg Index, a series of self-assessment tools that brands of all sizes can use to measure their environmental, social and labor impact.

Using the Higg Index is optional, and while it rates sustainability, it doesn’t have the ability to make intelligent recommendations. For companies still using Excel spreadsheets and emails to manage product lifecycles, with information everywhere, there’s no way to directly or easily pass a Higg Index reading on to labels or web copy.

Pooling from a central source of up-to-date, actionable data is critical for companies that want to track the sustainability of their product development and enforce the compliance of their suppliers. PLM can offer a ‘single version of the truth’ approach that makes it easy for internal teams and external suppliers to stay on the same page, as well as adding data (such as a Higg Index rating) to product information repositories in real time.

As Dickson notes, it is up to companies to take the initiative when it comes to assessing their sustainability progress, but they can benefit massively from investing in tools such as PLM that promote improved visibility and communication.

“At the University of Delaware, we’ve been involved in developing guidelines to help companies be more sustainable and now we’re working on the Better Buying project to improve purchasing practices. Companies benefit from assessing their progress with resources like these, but ultimately they need a willingness to change and systems that promote better communication, efficiency, visibility and control in the supply chain.”

3. How important is it to build sustainable practices?

Consumers today increasingly buy based on sustainability criteria growing ever more aware of how spending decisions can impact the environment so, maintaining sustainable practices is an important component of apparel business success.

Study conducted by transnational goods company in 2017 discovered that third of consumers are choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good.

The good news is that smart technologies can significantly help companies to address sustainability related issues and challenges. Using a modern Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution, apparel businesses can monitor every aspect of a product’s lifecycle, from the raw materials used in factories to vendors’ labor practices to the recyclability of packaging. PLM makes it easy to track and manage compliance programs and vendor certification, ensuring peace of mind about ethical concerns in the supply chain as well as more transparency for consumers.

PLM can also help companies plan collections with greater visibility and accuracy in terms of costs and timelines, avoiding panic situations where suppliers’ production is squeezed by time pressure and unexpected costs are passed back through the supply chain.

Companies that are committed to sustainable environmental, labor and financial practices are driving change across the industry, and the transparency and clarity PLM provides is an important resource for improving sustainability worldwide.

To find out more about how PLM solutions can help you to develop more sustainable business practices, check out our webinars.

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