Blockchain: a sustainability ally in the textile business.
It may be difficult to imagine how a tool that was created in the world of investments can be applied in the fashion business and contribute to sustainable development. The truth is that this technology which is more than 10 years old is expanding to different areas and can transform the way we are informed and consume.
More than 10 years ago, a new way to structure information called blockchain was born, and at that time it was mostly applied to cryptocurrencies. Nowadays the use of blockchain has spread to other sectors such as copyright protection through the registration of names, and it is also used in contracts management in virtual applications, it is even applied in the public sector giving visibility to bidding contracts. The main feature of blockchain is transparency and the possibility to make a follow-up of the information that is being registered, So, what is it used for in the world of fashion?
Last year, the first pilot test about sustainable cotton fiber production in Peru was launched. The test consists in making the follow-up of a 10 tonnes production lot that was generated by a cooperative of small scale producers. In this way, the trajectory of the seed will be known until the making the garment.
The organic raw material will be used to make garments for a minicollection, which will have information about the trajectory of the cotton seeds in the tags. This campaign will allow the final consumer to know more about the origin of the product, and, in this way, encourage conscious shopping behaviour, promote the traditional work of small scale producers and contribute with the sustainable textile industry.
Empower the consumers:
One of the main features of blockchain is transparency, because the data input can´t be changed or adulterated, in this way information is protected from fraud and it even avoids brand’s greenwashing campaigns..
The second feature is the follow-up or traceability, given it is possible to give information to the consumer about raw materials, suppliers and even the transportation to the points of sale, and in this way, the environmental impact of the garment can be known.
There are more and more consumers that with their choices, demand information transparency to the industrial sector, and a more active role in the environmental impact their activity may produce.
Even though the application of this technology in the fashion business started two years ago to protect intellectual property in design registration, we can discover new applications that range from raw materials traceability to garments rental follow-up. There are more and more possibilities to promote a new type of economy and consumption awareness.
Peruvian cotton participates in blockchain pilot test in Latin America for cotton chain traceability. FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean. Available at: https://www.fao.org/americas/noticias/ver/es/c/1440765/ (accessed on February 9th, 2022)