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BOSTON – A US business has developed a new technology platform which helps apparel brands to easily and methodically screen for forced labour and country of origin identification in global supply chains. The system enables easy risk profiling beyond Tier 1 suppliers – taking users through an intuitive process to quickly identify red flags for forced labour and other product claim issues.

The solution essentially moves beyond blockchain or certification, to help brands show traceable, evidence-based steps to government enforcement agencies – including the ability to identify fraud and other hidden problems deep in textile supply chains.

Developed by supply chain due diligence experts, HAP, the technology arrives at a time when brands globally are grappling with new due diligence legal requirements and risk management challenges in textile supply chains. In recent months, we have seen a growing number of Withhold Release Orders (WRO’s) by US customs due to concerns that cotton in apparel products may have origins in Xinjiang, China. A consignment from Japanese brand Uniqlo was most recently stopped at the US border.

HAP’s solution enables scalable risk targeting and verification of raw materials and prohibited labour at the point of origin – and ultimately end to end supply chain due diligence that does not leave brands concerned, confused and feeling a lack of control over lower tier supply chains.

Explaining the technology, Andre Raghu, founder and CEO of HAP, told Apparel Insider: “Our tech’s risk targeting approach provides insights about present vulnerabilities as well as evidence-based requirements necessary to assure programs to combat country of origin and prohibited labour claims are prioritized and can be relied upon.

“While block chain-only oriented approaches serve a role as a secure share point for transactional documentation collection between all relevant parties, they ultimately are just that – a secure database with implementation challenges. But this still leaves industry with the burdensome responsibility of formulating some way to ensure the analysis as well as reliability and fraud detection across all the stored information. As an industry we have a responsibility to ensure the information produced by systems we ask others to rely upon for confidence reveal more about the social and environmental problems in the supply chain than it obscures.

“HAP’s technology solves this problem by the development and application of a risk management framework and targeting process that connects an evolving risk-based entity profile with other aspects of digital or physical tracers and transactional evidence verification.

“This approach is not just a technology tool but a scalable comprehensive strategy for traceability in the textile supply chain that can be applied across all vendors or suppliers by the trade community. Standardized implementation will result in data network efforts, bringing more visibility to lower supply chain tiers, as well as greater process integrity and significant risk management cost savings for industry. HAP will also serve as a platform for a new method in sharing lower tier traceability information across buyers and suppliers as well as interpreting legal norms and shaping the future of supply chain due diligence governance.”

More on this new technology in our next magazine.

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