The fashion market is worth $2.5 trillion globally and is, after oil and coal, the world’s most polluting industry. It, for example, accounts for 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than air travel and sea shipping combined. Transparency within the manufacturing process is low: few brands are aware of where the individual components of their products come from and how they are manufactured. However, the demand for sustainability and transparency is now rapidly increasing amongst consumers, retailers, and legislators.
The fashion industry is also known to have one of the world’s most complex production networks, making transparency even more difficult. The total cost for manufacturers working with traceability is estimated at USD 40-60 billion. However, the process is often completed manually and the data collected is of poor quality.
TrusTrace solves this huge problem through a digital platform that, for the first time, gives fashion and textile companies a complete picture of their products’ journey all the way from fiber to garment. The platform is blockchain-based and utilizes machine learning to automate data collection and verification work.
“The river turned purple!” – Saravanan lived in the UK but was urgently called back home by his parents, both organic farmers, who had discovered that the river and the groundwater in their Indian hometown had suddenly turned purple. He went home to find that the factories, all of which are manufacturers of clothing and fashion products, were not at all properly controlled by relevant authorities or by their customers. In an effort to solve this problem, Saravanan developed the technology that in the end would be the foundation of what today is now known as TrusTrace. In addition to Saravanan, the founding team consists of Shameek, Hrishi, and Madhava. Shameek and Hrishi run the sales organization in Europe (based in Sweden) and Saravanan and Madhava run the development team as well as the team that onboard factories (base in India.
The gap between an increasing demand for transparency from consumers and the difficulties that the fashion industry face when collecting, analyzing, verifying and visualizing data caught BackingMinds’ attention in 2018. We understood that, in the near-future, transparency would become a question of survival for brands in the industry.
The founders behind TrusTrace have created an impressively holistic solution that enables brands to follow their products’ journey all the way from fiber to garment. Brands and Retailers can not only use the platform to improve data collection and analysis work, but also to visualize and communicate this data towards the end-consumers in a reliable and cost-effective way. Traceability makes it possible to validate the amount of water used in production, greenhouse gas emissions, the presence of microplastics or chemicals, social aspects such as child labor and hundreds of other factors that can help the end customer to make the right decision about their consumption.
As of today, TrusTrace has around 20 customers, including Swedish Houdini, Filippa K, Icebug and Fjällräven – all of which are fashion labels that have taken the lead towards sustainability. There are currently over 1500 registered factories from all over the world on the platform, which are all sourced through their existing brands.