The garment and footwear industry is one of the most polluting sectors on the planet generating more carbon emissions than international flights and maritime shipping combined, according to figures compiled by the European Parliament.
Human exploitation is also a significant problem in a sector where opaque international chains of production make it difficult to find out how - or even where - our clothes and shoes are being made.
Consumers, governments and many companies are calling for change. But, until now, it’s been very difficult for clothing and footwear vendors to vouch with authority for the sustainable and ethical production values of their goods.
The Sustainability Pledge aims at providing companies with the right tools to trace their products from raw materials to shop shelf. By tracking goods through the supply chain, producers and brands have the immutable information they need to make verifiable sustainability claims that consumers, governments and regulators can trust.
The UNECE actively engaged with hundreds of experts over two years to formulate the Sustainability Pledge and develop a workable, opensource solution for policy makers and industry actors to implement.
Piloting its approach with blockchain and DNA tracing technology, the UNECE has developed an information exchange standard for tracking clothing and footwear from their raw materials to finished, wearable products. With complete and verified information about the composition of our clothes and shoes, they can be recycled and repurposed, reducing waste and protecting our planet's precious resources.
Tracking and tracing information is central to bringing the garment and footwear sector in line with the policy objectives of the European Union towards the transition to a circular economy.