Australian fashion retailer Sportscraft has signed a deal to digitally map and manage its global supply chain.
Sportscraft parent company APG & Co has over 100 suppliers across garment manufacturing, fabric suppliers, fabric mills and dyeing, finishing and printing facilities as of February 2023.
As well as China and Vietnam, APG & Co has a handful of suppliers in other markets such as India, Bangladesh and Turkey. The company also looks after Jag and Saba.
Speaking with Ragtrader, environmental and sustainability manager Eloise Rapp confirmed a majority of Sportscraft apparel is manufactured in Vietnam and China.
The new deal, signed with Retraced, will focus on fabric and raw material suppliers and has seen garment and mill suppliers onboarded in recent months.
“We met with the Retraced team a few times before making the decision to engage with them,” Rapp said. “We discovered early on that our strategy and priorities were very aligned – we needed a tool that was easy and beneficial for our suppliers to use, has no cost barrier for them, and will benefit their CSR and transparency as much as it did ours.
“The system has several interacting functions, so we received extensive training to understand how we would implement the platform internally, and how we would support our suppliers to use it too.”
Rapp said there were no shifts in its production processes to accommodate the new technology.
“Digital traceability speeds up our certification chain of custody and human rights due diligence processes, which have previously been very manual.
“Once this manual work is digitised, it gives us greater capacity to focus on deepening our supplier relationships and working on the more wholistic sustainability challenges and opportunities that data, audits and certifications don’t always reveal.
Rapp said that once the brand begins tracing some of its larger programs back to the origin, the brand will have more comprehensive data to inform any sourcing decisions which could help reduce its impact. This data includes region-specific covering emissions, water, chemical and labour.
There were also no changes to teams, with the Retraced partnership being led by Sportscraft’s compliance team and led by the social and environmental manager.
“However, the Retraced platform will allow a broader visibility for all our teams within the business and a holistic overview of our business globally. As each stakeholder requires access to Retraced, we train and onboard them.”
Sportscraft is also considering how it will communicate this product provenance journey with its customers.
Rapp said it will be determined after the brand has traced its major product lines.
“The product journey is often easiest communicated online, through tools such as QR codes and digital passports, however we would also like our in-store customers to have the same learning experience.
“This will be the next exciting phase after we have completed our first round of tracing.”
The latest move comes after APG & Co implemented 3D design technology, cutting sampling costs by half.
Rapp said traceability will continue to be at the core of Sportscraft’s sustainability strategy.
“To be able to accurately measure and reduce our impact, we needed a more sophisticated and accurate way of tracing product supply chains,” she said. “Key risks here are the climate impact of our material choices, and the social welfare of the people who make our clothes.
“Retraced's innovative system, their focus on their platform being supplier-facing first, and their partnerships with other data-driven impact organisations are what secured this partnership for us.”