As concerns about corporate sustainability performance spread across the footwear industry, so, too, do fears about the associated costs of going green.
But the people behind a new company, global fashion-technology platform Zilingo, say they believe that streamlining and improving supply chain management can produce better productivity, revenue and environmental impact results.
“At Zilingo, [we have] a belief that technology and data can break barriers for new businesses, aggregate the fragmented industry and level the playing field for all its actors,” said Ankiti Bose, CEO and co-founder at Zilingo. “The result is an ecosystem that is more sustainable, transparent, fair and equitable for everyone.”
Zilingo launched its platform in the U.S. last summer, with an additional $100 million investment in the U.S. market in October. The company aims to disrupt the monopoly within the fashion industry and help smaller businesses find partners who want to scale and compete; the top 20 companies account for 97% of the sector’s profit, according to the McKinsey Global Fashion Index.
Through the platform, brands can connect with suppliers such as fabric mills and factories. Any prospective partner can register with Zilingo, but they are then required to upload product information, which is then subjected to screening. Details verified by the platform include product authenticity, product quality and pricing, and the seller’s financials.
Sustainability is incorporated throughout Zilingo’s platform, as part of its overall drive to improve efficiency rather than as a separate social responsibility cause. Some of the industry’s biggest environmental dangers are also a drain on a business’ bottom line — from wasted materials to poorly managed factory partners to a lack of transparency throughout the production journey. By fixing these issues at the source, brands can simultaneously reduce their costs and impact on the environment.
“Sustainable practices — economic, social and environmental — are key to our ethos of making the supply chain more efficient,” said Bose. “With improved margins, profits are now also more equitable across the value chain. In the past four years, we’ve helped factories and retailers change the way they run their businesses, thereby empowering them to scale effectively and responsibly.”
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