Original text in Dutch, below English text.
Mariska Schennink, Euretco Fashion and Jolanda Kooi, tex.tracer work together on transparency in the supply chain.
For Euretco Fashion, transparency is a precondition for sustainability. That is why the company is working with tex.tracer, a young company that focuses on mapping textile chains step by step. Mariska Schennink and Jolanda Kooi about their collaboration.
Euretco is a large retail service organisation that is active in the fashion, sports, home, do-it-yourself and media sectors. The Fashion division works together with more than 800 independent fashion entrepreneurs, mainly in the Netherlands, Germany and Austria. One of the services that Euretco offers retailers is private label collections.
“We signed the CKT on behalf of one of our brands,” says CSR manager Mariska Schennink. “We started with Babyface. We also apply the knowledge and experience we gain with this label to our other private labels. In this way, each label works on sustainability at its own pace and we also help our retailers to become more sustainable. After all, our impact is much greater if we mobilise as many people and brands as possible to take sustainable steps.”
It started with Excel lists in which the origin of materials and suppliers were recorded for each garment. “But we soon learned that it would be impossible to apply that approach to all brands, products and materials. We would soon lose the overview. We needed a professional information management system in which all relevant information could be stored and kept up to date, such as data about factories, materials, main risks and audit results. We could have looked for opportunities to leverage our current management systems for that, but I knew the people at tex.tracer and they were working on that. That is why we knocked on their door.”
tex.tracer offers verified solutions for chain transparency. Jolanda Kooi is one of the founders. The company started in 2020. “We have developed a system with which we can provide insight into the entire chain for clothing brands such as Babyface. Based on the order data, we ask every Babyface supplier to provide insight into the entire chain for each item, including the origin of the materials used. The supplier is given a personal account with which he can access our system and enter data, starting with the location data and photos of the factory. We also ask for details such as how many employees work in a factory and which step or steps in the production process are carried out.”
To ensure that the information is correct, the supplier can only upload the data from the specified location. “We work with blockchain technology. This means that data cannot be changed unseen once supplied. We can always check which information and photos have been entered at what time and from which location. We also ask all production partners to confirm deliveries by uploading the order documentation. We submit this data to the next step in the chain for approval. With such a digital handshake, we ensure that every step in the process is reliable. We apply algorithms to check whether there are deviations in the chains. In case of doubt, we will contact the relevant supplier or producer.”
In this way, tex.tracer provides clothing brands and retailers with reliable information that they can use to improve their due diligence. Kooi: “We enable companies to make well-considered decisions about their purchasing. We are also helping them prepare for the due diligence laws and regulations that will undoubtedly be coming and will require companies to make their supply chains transparent.”
Schennink is very satisfied with the collaboration: “Thanks to tex.tracer we are actively working on more transparency in the chain and we are getting more and more information about the links deeper in the chain. We are not saying that everything goes 100 percent with our suppliers. We would like to discuss possible improvements and solutions. To move forward in this sector, collaboration is crucial. We need other companies to share knowledge and experience, for example about how to retrieve, check and keep that information up to date. We need NGOs, trade unions and other initiatives to work together to improve working conditions in the workplace. We need each other to properly shape due diligence.”