Follow us


Google and WWF launch tool to spotlight fashion industry supply-chain issues

Camilla Rydzek
19 November 2021

Google and non-profit organisation WWF have announced the launch of the Global Fibre Impact Explorer (GFIE), a digital tool that will help fashion brands to understand the environmental risk and impact of their fibre sourcing.

The new tool will help inform the fashion industry’s sustainable sourcing strategy from the ground up through previously inaccessible data insights, incorporating climate risk and impact, according to a first case study with sustainable luxury brand Stella McCartney.

Using the tool has informed the brand’s sustainable sourcing strategy, identifying that cotton sources in Turkey would face increased water and climate risks, which affirmed the need for investment in local farming communities focused on regenerative practices such as water management and soil regeneration.

The GFIE is an intuitive environmental data platform using Google Cloud technology to enable more responsible sourcing decisions at the raw materials stage of the fashion and textiles supply chain where significant damage is done and data on environmental impact is mostly opaque.

Through an intuitive interface, brands will be able to understand and more accurately identify risks across 20+ fibre types, including natural, cellulosic and synthetics, at a granular level thanks to a combination of high calibre national data and near real-time sub national data insights.

Data and analysis will focus on a multitude of environmental impact factors including air pollution, biodiversity, climate and greenhouse gases, water use and water quality.

It is the first time that this breadth of data and impacts have been combined into an integrated risk assessment tool for the textiles industry.

Results in the tool will provide brands with recommendations for targeted and regionally specific risk reduction activities, such as opportunities for positive interventions with farmers, producers, communities, and those in the surrounding landscape to drive improvements.

While first developed by Google in partnership with WWF two years ago, in its next iteration the tool will be transitioned to the global NGO Textile Exchange to assure widespread industry access and continued development.

In addition to Stella McCartney a number of brands across the fashion sector including Adidas, Allbirds, the H&M Group and VF Corporation were consulted to help test and refine the tool, ensuring that it can be used by big and small players alike.

The aim is to provide global fashion brands and their sourcing teams access to the platform in 2022. Brands can sign up their interest here.

Claire Bergkamp, Chief Operating Officer at Textile Exchange said: “Climate action starts at the source of the materials we choose. The Global Fibre Impact Explorer has the potential to influence a brand’s sourcing decisions positively. The tool complements the work already underway at Textile Exchange to support and accelerate the adoption of lower impact fibres and materials. Meaningful change cannot happen in isolation. A holistic view is required to shift away from the current system that leads to pollution and poverty and towards a system that supports prosperity and regeneration. This tool helps the industry move towards this."

Stella McCartney, Founder of her namesake brand said: “More and more, consumers are insisting that they understand where their clothing is coming from. But often, the very people producing the product don’t have the information they need. And they’re desperate for it. This tool is a great answer for us at Stella McCartney, and for the broader industry, to really understand the impact of where they’re sourcing from.”

Free NewsletterVISIT