Fashion must resolve its problem with sustainability: today, the World Bank estimates that the sector is responsible for 20% of wastewater and up to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. A large part of the CO2 footprint of fashion arrives from its raw materials: this is why those who are genuinely interested in being sustainable can no longer procrastinate on this issue.

To help fashion brands make more aware and sustainable decisions with regards to the sourcing of raw materials, today, the collaboration between Google and WWF Sweden is kicked off, giving life to a platform that will trace more than 20 kinds of raw materials, from cotton to synthetic materials. 

This new tool that makes use of Google’s automatic machine-learning system (with access to the complex data of the Google Earth Engine) and WWF’s knowledge of the environmental impact of a product’s lifetime, will assign each raw material and sourcing origin a score that will take into account aspects like water availability, atmospheric pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, the quantity of waste generated, etc.… allowing brands to make the most sustainable sourcing decisions. The platform will also help cut back on risks: for example, if a brand is used to sourcing its materials from a certain supplier, it could undertake specific actions to help reduce some of the negative impacts.

The platform is set up like an open tool, is updated automatically, and can even extends its range to complement other existing systems in the calculation of environmental impact: like the Sustainable Apparel Coalition materials sustainability index, the Textile Exchange raw materials assessment, or the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s reconstruction of responsible supply chains in the garment and footwear industries.

Although Google declined to name brand partners, it seems that Stella McCartney worked on the test pilot, with multiple luxury, denim and athletic brands having already signed on to participate.