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  • Writer's pictureMikahila Bloomfield

Will Blockchain Technology Solve Fashion’s Forced Labor Problem?

Fashion brands importing to the US must now show who made their products & the materials.

Blockchain supply chain cargo shipments

Amid the draconian decisions coming out of the United States Supreme Court this week on abortions and gun control, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced a ban more in line with global human rights. Due to rising concerns about forced labor, the CBP will begin blocking all imports made in China’s Xinjiang region. The Xinjiang region is where the Chinese government is accused of inflicting forced labor programs against Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities. This recent enactment of the CBP ban on Xinjiang goods comes from the forced labor law signed by President Joe Biden last year.

Nearly 20 percent of the global supply of cotton is produced in China — most of that comes from Xinjiang. With the ban in place, many large brands like H&M and Ralph Lauren that source their cotton through third parties with ties to the Xinjiang region, those brands will no longer have the ability to neglect production at the raw material level. Interestingly, many companies are exploring blockchain-based platforms to help bring transparency to their supply chains.

According to a recent report from Deloitte, using blockchain in the supply chain can help participants record price, date, location, quality, certification, and other pertinent information to more effectively manage the supply chain.

Blockchain supply chain cargo shipments

Blockchain-based Supply Chain Benefits:

Primary potential benefits
  • Increase traceability of material

  • Less counterfeit/gray market trading

  • Improve compliance over outsourced contract manufacturing

  • Reduce paperwork and administrative costs

Secondary potential benefits
  • Strengthen corporate reputation via transparency of materials

  • Improve public trust in data shared

  • Reduce potential public relations risk from supply chain malpractice

What are your thoughts on the CBP ban on Xinjiang goods? Leave a comment below. Follow Fashion League on Instagram, and subscribe to our newsletter for Faux or Fashion™ trivia, and the latest job postings from some of your favorite companies.

Photo Credit: Panksvatouny/ Getty Images

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