Google, WWF Partner for Sustainable Fashion Platform

Companies will share data to provide comprehensive look at textile-production impact

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Need to Know

  • The platform will leverage data that analyzes risk, impact of textile production to assess how sustainable individual raw materials are.
  • Google Earth data will be combined with WWF’s framework for increased data processing.
  • Stella McCartney will be the first brand to test the new platform.

Analysis

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Sweden and Google have paired up to launch a platform that analyzes the environmental impact of individual raw textiles, the organizations revealed this week.

The platform’s aim is to allow fashion-industry players to make better sustainability decisions, according to a press release announcing the collaboration.

Using Google Earth Engine data, which can quantify changes to the Earth’s surface, and a framework for data processing developed by the WWF, the collaboration will provide a comprehensive look at the impact of textile production. Originally, the pair planned to analyze just viscose and cotton, but will include various other materials based on WWF’s data and knowledge.

“It’s our ambition to create a data-enriched decision-making platform that enables analysis of the supply chain in a way that has not been possible before at this scale,” Ian Pattison, head of customer retail engineering for Google UK/IE said in a statement.

“Partnering with WWF brings together Google Cloud’s technical capacity, including big-data analysis and machine learning, and WWF’s deep knowledge of assessing raw materials. Together, we can make supply chain data visible and accessible to decision makers, and drive more responsible and sustainable decisions.”

It’s not the first foray into brand partnerships for the WWF: in 2018, WWF Sweden and IKEA created a tool focused on analyzing the risk and impact of various raw materials used by the furniture and housewares company, including textiles.

Håkan Wirtén, CEO of WWF Sweden, said the partnership with Google is “motivated by the need to drive real transformation at the largest possible scale.”

“This project is an excellent example of how we can take valuable work with a long term partner like IKEA, collaborate with another strong WWF partner like Google to make that work even more powerful, and make it open source so that hopefully it can help with the transformation of a whole industry.”

Stella McCartney, a brand long known for its sustainability mandates, will be the first fashion brand to test the platform. The brand’s partnership is somewhat of an extension of its 2019 collaboration with Google, which saw Stella McCartney sharing manufacturing data with Google in order to allow for more sustainable processes in the future.

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