Working towards a sustainable environment

Google has partnered with fashion brand Stella McCartney on the first phase of a new machine learning data analytics tool to improve the transparency of the supply chains for the fashion industry.

<p>The first phase will focus on cotton and viscose </p>

The first phase will focus on cotton and viscose 

Collaborating with Stella McCartney, Google will build a cloud-based tool that improves data collection and analysis for the fashion industry, enabling key end-users to implement more sustainable management practices across the supply chain.

“To start, we’ll be building a tool that uses data analytics and machine learning on Google Cloud to give brands a more comprehensive view into their supply chain, particularly at the level of raw material production, referred to in the industry as Tier 4 of the supply chain,” Google Cloud’s head of retail Nick Martin said in a blog post.

The fashion industry accounts for around 20% of wastewater and 10% of carbon emissions globally. The industry is aware of the need to better manage the impact of raw material use and how supply chains contribute to air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water scarcity and cradle-to-grave product models.

The first phases of the project will initially focus on cotton, which accounts for 25% of all fibres used in the fashion industry, and viscose – a plant-based fibre linked to severe cases of agriculture and fishery destruction due to poor factory handling of toxic chemicals.

“At Stella McCartney, we have been continuously focusing on looking at responsible and sustainable ways to conduct ourselves in fashion, it is at the heart of what we do.  We are trying our best –we aren’t perfect, but we are opening a conversation that hasn’t really been had in the history of fashion,” Stella McCartney added.

The fashion sector is the latest to benefit from Google’s machine learning capabilities. The technology giant is working on solutions to help cities lower emissions, help domestic households deploy solar and improve the efficiency of wind turbines.

Pioneering polymers

In related news, global fashion firms including H&M, Kering and Asics have all been announced as founding members of Worn Again Technologies’ Pioneer Members initiative to promote circular textile use and production methods.

Worn Again Technologies has a polymer recycling process that can separate, decontaminate and extract polyester polymers and cellulose from non-reusable textiles, plastic bottles and packaging, to be used as new fibre for products.

The end-user fashion giants, which also include Sympatex, Dibella, Dhane and manufacturers Directex and Himes, will be given a percentage share of the closed-loop fibres to be used in supply chains.

H&M’s investment manager for sustainable fashion, Erik Karlsson said: “We are proud of the collaboration we have with Worn Again Technologies. H&M Group looks forward to being an early adopter of the outputs and integrate them into our supply chain. This will be an important step towards our goal of using only recycled and sustainably sourced materials by 2030.”

Matt Mace