News + Insights

Undressing the apparel supply chain

Rosie Sibley, Community Assistant at Anthesis Group, considers supply chain challenges for the apparel industry.

Last week marked four years since the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh which killed 1,134 people and left over 2,000 injured. While the incident was inarguably appalling, an increased emphasis on the need for transparency across value chains, not least those within the apparel sector, has arisen from the debris of this disaster.

In the past few years, businesses and NGOs have come together to collaborate on a range of issues including worker rights, health and safety, and due diligence. This being said, apparel supply chains remain complex, with multiple tiers involving many people and organizations – from the grower, to the yarn spinner, to the mill, to the finished garment manufacturer. The number of people involved and the level of complexity across the supply chain means the scope for risks and hazards to occur remains large. In the UK media, we’ve recently seen exposés of bad practice in different supply chains, such as hidden Syrian workforce in the Turkish clothing sector; the exposure of modern slavery in the UK; and real fur being mislabeled and sold as faux fur.

These failures have got the attention of consumers; growing awareness is leading to increased consumer demand for sustainable fashion. Where there has been withdrawal of some products from sale, it shows that not only are efforts to resolve these challenges the right thing to do socially and environmentally, but economically and reputationally too.

What can be done about the challenges and potential risks in supply chains? At Anthesis, as global leaders in resilient and transparent supply chains, we can help you tackle these issues. We can help you go beyond compliance, and support you to:

  • Assess your actual and potential supply chain impacts
  • Evaluate gaps and risks
  • Define policies, procedures and suggested actions that are needed to comply
  • Draft a slavery and human trafficking statement to demonstrate compliance with the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015

Our proprietary risk screening and mapping tool RiskHorizon™ enables you to screen your supply chain to identify risk hotspots and make an assessment of the ‘value at risk’. This enables you to prioritize actions for implementation based on a robust commercial footing and evidence-base.

Anthesis’ due diligence services help you to navigate and comply with the complex regulatory environment with on-the-ground support, whether you are looking at which chemicals are in your products in Europe, or the health and safety of your factories in Asia. Our support includes:

  • Supply chain impact assessments
  • Risk quantification
  • Review and implementation of KPIs
  • Development and execution of policies, procedures, engagement and training activities
  • Communication strategies and support
  • Ongoing management in response to changing business operations, operating context and global conditions

As members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Anthesis can help to drive Higg Index adoption throughout the value chain, whilst supporting our clients to derive greater insight from Higg. Please get in touch with us using the form below if you’d like to discuss how we can help.

We are working with a number of clients to implement more resilient and transparent supply chains. We recently worked with the US retailer Target to develop a comprehensive chemical strategy which addresses their entire value chain, and have supported a global financial services organization to review how they are addressing modern slavery and human trafficking within their supply chain.


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