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Transparency: The Most Valuable Currency For Brands

As brands begin to deepen their ecological footprint to keep up with the growing call to action for sustainability, consumers are keen on holding up a magnifying glass against these so-called claims to see if there’s any truth to them. The only reasonable way to out of the greenwashing conundrum is by providing a way in through full-disclosure, aka transparency.

The 2019 State of Fashion report by McKinsey and Co. stated that information has become increasingly important with 52% millennials claiming that they always research for background info before buying, compared with 45% of Gen Z consumers and 41% of baby boomers who are likely to do the same. Issues like fair labor, sustainable resourcing and the environment have escalated the need for transparency even further. As per the same report, consumers are willing to support brands that are doing good in the world, with 66% willing to pay more for sustainable goods as 42% of millennials say they want to know what goes into products and how they are made before they make a purchase, compared with 37% of Gen Z-ers.   

Fashion Revolution, the global movement for driving change in the industry asserts that transparency is a tool for change and not a goal by itself. As per their Fashion Transparency Index that scores brands based on areas that are publicly disclosed when it comes to environmental policies, practices and impacts; Reebok, Adidas and Patagonia are the only ones who’ve come out on top, with each of them scoring 64% on the respective areas. The McKinsey report also claims that transparency ties well into what consumers would deem as ‘value for money’ on the product. Brands will always do better when consumers feel better about their purchases. The labels that do indeed have a positive impact on the environment and back their practices with proof are building consumer trust by offering value for money on their product. 

Blockchain, the record-keeping technology that brought Bitcoins to the fore is now being heralded as the potential solution to bring more transparency and traceability to the fashion industry. These blockchain-based software platforms can allow a brand to trace any individual garment from its raw materials all the way to the customer’s doorstep. While it's a lot harder to introduce transparency into an existing supply chain than to build one from scratch, the ultimate ambition of full-disclosure can be highly rewarding.  

Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2020-03-09

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