Google and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Sweden are teaming up on the development of a new environmental data platform that is meant to help drive more responsible sourcing decisions in the fashion industry. The new tool will combine Google Cloud’s big-data analysis and machine learning with WWF’s knowledge of assessing raw materials to measure the environmental impact of raw materials and sourcing locations. The raw material stage accounts for a large portion of the environmental footprint of the fashion production process. Each material and its sourcing location will be scored on multiple environmental indicators, such as air pollution, water scarcity and greenhouse gas emissions. These supply chain data will be made available to fashion companies, hoping that this will help make more sustainable decisions at the raw material stage.
In 2018, WWF Sweden collaborated with Ikea to create a similar tool that analyzes the environmental footprint of different textile materials. In 2019, at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, Google Cloud partnered with Stella McCartney on a pilot program to provide a more comprehensive view of the fashion industry’s supply chains, with a focus on cotton and viscose. The new platform that is being developed by Google and WWF Sweden will move beyond cotton and viscose to include additional raw materials, using WWF knowledge and data. Both IKEA and Stella McCartney will continue to be involved in the consultation process of the new WWF-Google platform, while other fashion, athletic and luxury brands and retailers are reportedly being contacted for the same purpose.
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