Companies are usually transparent about some aspects of their production processes, such as the origin of raw materials or processing sites, but the supply chain includes many more elements.
Can we define as sustainable a green company that relies on a polluting packaging supplier? Can we define as ethical a company that does not use leather and fur but relies on a supplier that uses products of animal origin for other customers?
The concept of sustainability is more complex than one thinks.
Sustainability and the supply chain
The globalisation revolutionised the supply chain, leading to an increasing dependence on suppliers and subcontractors spread globally. These are mostly small or medium-sized enterprises.
In parallel, fashion itself has changed. The rise of Fast Fashion has led to the continuous production of new collections and an increase in clothing consumption.
The consequence is a huge environmental impact. However, most of the difficulties related to sustainability are not found in big brands but in those small or medium-sized companies that are part of the supply chain. In fact, scarce human and financial resources often prevent them from meeting the social and environmental demands, the need for flexibility of the big brands, and the achievement of a profit at the same time.