As most of us are aware, one of the biggest challenges of our generation is how we manage limited resources for a growing human population, to prevent the destruction of the environment. Awareness is on the rise; it is clear that we cannot continue to consume unsustainable products at the current rate. More and more, people are demanding ethically made products, and this means that brands must act responsibly by prioritising human welfare and protecting the environment we depend on, to cater for conscious consumers and ensure their own success.
This requires new brand strategies and processes, along with honest and open communication in order to build trust and, ultimately, a sustainable future. Here, we explore the issues and how technology can be harnessed to power brand transparency.
What are the issues we’re facing?
While globalisation has helped drive economic growth around the world, the relentless drive towards cheaper products to feed consumer culture is causing widespread devastation. From fashion fabrics to entertaining electronics and fast food, we are disconnected from the provenance of our products, and the reality of the conditions they are made in.
Whether it is the human cost of lives from dangerous working conditions in clothing factories or child labour and modern slavery in sourcing raw materials like cacao, to environmental destruction to produce cheap palm oil or raise livestock for excessive meat consumption, complicated global supply chains make it extremely difficult to establish product traceability. This is slowly beginning to change, however, as modern consumers are becoming more aware of these issues and the implications of our everyday decisions.
Why is Supply Chain Transparency important?
First and foremost, the widespread adoption of transparent supply chains is vital in order to end the humanitarian and environmental atrocities that are currently plaguing our planet. However, with many global corporations prioritising profits, this will be indirectly led by consumer demand. The minute consumers are confronted with the devastating impact their purchasing decisions are having, brands are exposed and consumer behaviour will start to change. The pressure is then on brands to fall in line and act more responsibly, if they are not already intrinsically ethical.
It is now incredibly important for your brand to have open and honest communication with your customers about your product journey, and have transparency through your supply chain management. Trust and loyalty are fundamental to consumers’ relationships with brands and their purchasing decisions. Companies that can clearly demonstrate their sustainability credentials, make life easier for their customers and foster greater loyalty as a result.
We understand this importance at Ytao Connect, and that’s why we’re developing a platform that will help you validate your supply chain transparency, which will give your customers access to your product journey information, and make them feel more involved and related to your brand. With transparency, consumers can help hold production industries accountable for their actions.
How can Technology help?
Paradoxically, it is our progress and development of powerful communications technology that can now actually help us deliver the transparency needed, in order to restore the clarity needed to develop transparent and ethical supply chains.
Up until now, due to the lack of tracking standards or technology in complex supply chains, brands could only identify their direct vendors. However, new technologies such as blockchain can be used to build reliable and effective tracing systems, to track goods and prove ethical sourcing and manufacturing. These verifiable systems will restore trust from discerning consumers.
Furthermore, the technology enables higher scalability and automation of the tracking process, while simultaneously reducing cost, delays and human error. This provides even more incentive for brands to start accessing and tackling the sustainability issues across their production lines.
A variety of other smart technologies are also helping governments, companies and individuals manage their energy use more efficiently, reducing the overall environmental impact from using non-renewable energy sources. It is therefore clear that innovation and the incorporation of technology into the production process will play a key role in the future success of organisations.
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