Compliance in Fashion at Sourcing Journal Conference 2023
23 November 2023
Fashion industry experts from North America and abroad gathered in New York earlier this month for the annual Sourcing Journal Fall Summit.
One of the world's leading apparel supply chain events, the summit brings together executives and senior professionals from some of the world’s leading brands, retailers, and manufacturers.
Issues of regulation, sustainability, and technology have shaped the industry this year, and the Sourcing Journal event provided a platform for attendees to foster connection and work towards solutions. From the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) to increased focus on ESG principles and the emergence of AI, there was plenty for participants to discuss.
Oritain enjoyed a high profile at the event, with members of the team providing expertise around forensic traceability through our booth, as well as featuring in a special panel discussion concerning compliance in the fashion industry.
How to prove compliance: a panel discussion
The topic for the panel discussion was, “So you're compliant? Can you prove it?”, which featured Oritain Vice President of Retail Sales, Ben Tomkins.
A recording of the full panel discussion is available for viewing below.
The impact of regulation dominated much of the discussion, where the raft of recent supply chain legislations has forced businesses to reevaluate their due diligence practices around material sourcing. With one panelist signposting that a potential 35 new pieces of legislation are coming over the next four years, this level of regulatory scrutiny is unlikely to ease.
Ben Tomkins spoke on the three key burdens of proof for companies concerning regulatory compliance. “Can I prove there’s no financial nexus in my supply chain, can I prove there’s no use of forced labor, and can I prove the origin of raw materials?”
But as he pointed out, the volume of legislation businesses can expect can deliver positives in terms of preparedness and strength of response. “Understanding and response to each regulation is additive, making us better prepared to meet the requirements of future legislation.”
The biggest area of danger to brands, he said, lay in relying on only a superficial level of compliance, such as supplier affidavits. With US Customs and Border Protection seeking to step up enforcement, compliance has never been more important.
The panel discussed how even though regulations may vary by geography, they share a common thread of the importance of knowing and proving where products and raw materials are sourced from. Employing scientific traceability technology like Oritain and developing stronger relationships with supply chain partners are important solutions to support this.
The view of the panel was that an attribute of the more successful companies was having visibility through their entire supply chain, which enables easier identification of gaps at any stage that could introduce risk. Through developing stronger supply chain relationships and conducting regular gap analysis, brands can put themselves in a position to improve their compliance posture.
Oritain is well placed to support fashion businesses on their compliance journey by providing a robust, reliable solution, underpinned by forensic science, to prove the origin of their goods.
For more information:
Ben Tomkins – Vice President of Retail Sales