Will Blockchain Technology Solve Fashion’s Forced Labor Problem?
Fashion brands importing to the US must now show who made their products & the materials.
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-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
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