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A Comparison of TraceabilityApproaches and Certifications inthe Clothing Industry: A Case Study at ASKET AB
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The textile industry is one of the most polluting industries worldwide with vast impacts on all three pillars of sustainability – ecology, society and economy. Recently there has been increased interest in improving sustainable practices in the clothing industry. These practices look to tackle the negative impacts from emissions, pollution and synthetic or man-madematerials (i.e. those made from fossil fuels). Popular approaches are transparency, supply chain traceability and product certifications.

This research aims to evaluate these different approaches with a multi-criteria analysis using a developed evaluation framework and applying the framework at a case study at ASKET AB, a menswear brand from Sweden. Research included seven different certifications common in the clothing industry. Due to a different focus not on a product but rather on a company management level, one of the certifications is excluded in the evaluation process. To ensure the relevance of the framework, the common approaches in sustainability research of the Planetary Boundaries and the Doughnut Economy are combined with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). Thus, the evaluation framework covers an environmental as well as a social dimension, including 18 impact categories in total. The evaluation results in a score for each certification according to the ranking per impact category for each certification. The results showed a clear advantage for certifications covering impact categories from the environmental as well as the social dimension.

The results from the evaluation are accompanied by semi-structured interviews with seven experts from within the apparel and sustainability industry. The interviews support most of the findings from the literature research and evaluation. The combination of evaluation and interviews concludes that there is a necessity to take different factors into account before choosing a certain certifications scheme. There is no one fits all approach due to the fact that each organisation adopts its own sustainability practices. Key factors to take into consideration include values and focus areas of the company as well as the rigour of the certification. Consequently, depending on the circumstances, a combination of different certifications and ecolabels might be the best approach.

The results are applied to a case study at ASKET AB, a Stockholm-based menswear brand focussing on high-quality and timeless wardrobe essentials. Applicability of different traceability approaches and certifications for ASKET considered different factors including limited monetary and personnel resources of a small- to medium-sized enterprise to a micro-company. Furthermore, a comparison to other approaches of supply chain traceability and transparent communication are taken into account in the assessment. Overall, a different focus depending on the supply chain processes is the most suitable option for ASKET since a full certification of the company, or specific products are not applicable at the current stage of the company.

Abstract [sv]

Textilindustrin är en av världens mest förorenande industrier med stor påverkan på alla tre delar inom hållbarhet – ekologiskt, social och ekonomist. På senare tid har intresset för mer hållbara metoder inom klädindustrin ökat. Målet med dessa metoder är att minska de negativa effekterna från utsläpp, föroreningar samt material från fossila källor. Populära tillvägagångssätt inkluderar transparens, spårbarhet i leverantörskedjan och produktcertifiering.

Denna studie utvärderar dessa tillvägagångssätt via en multikriterieanalys utförd med ett framtaget utvärderingsramverk. Studien innehåller sju, för klädindustrin, vanliga certifieringar varav en av dessa exkluderades i utvärderingsprocessen på grund av annat fokus. Ramverkets relevans säkerställs genom att kombinera de vanligaste metoderna i hållbarhetsforskning inom Planetary Boundaries och Doughnut Economy med FN:s mål för hållbarutveckling (FN:s SDGs).

Därmed täcker utvärderingsramen såväl miljö- som sociala aspekter innehållandes 18 olika påverkningsbara kategorier. Utvärderingen ger varje certifiering en poäng enligt ranking per påverkningsbar kategori. Certifieringar innehållandes miljö- och sociala aspekter fick bästresultat.

Utvärderingsresultaten åtföljdes av semistrukterande intervjuer med sju experter som stöder mestadels av litteraturforskningen och utvärderingen. Utvärderings- och intervjuresultaten visar vikten av att ta olika faktorer i beaktning innan ett certifieringsschema väljs. Dessa inkluderar företagsvärden, fokusområden samt kriteriets strikthet. Det existerar således ingen universell metod och i vissa fall kan en kombination av olika certifieringar och ekomärkningar vara den bästa metoden.

Resultaten applicerades på en fallstudie hos ASKET AB, ett Stockholmsbaserat herrklädesmärke med fokus på högkvalitativa och tidlösa ”wardrobe essentials” (garderobsnödvändigheter). Tillämpbarheten av olika spårbarhetsmetoder och certifieringar för ASKET innehöll faktorer så som begränsade monetära- och personalresurser för ett litet till medelstort bolag till ett mikroföretag. I bedömningen beaktas även en jämförelse av andra tillvägagångssätt för spårbarhet i leveranskejdan och kommunikationstransparens. Sammanfattningsvis ärolika fokus beroende på leveranskedjeproncessen mest användbar för ASKET eftersom en fullständig certifiering av företaget eller en specifik produkt i nuläget inte är applicerbar.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 57
Series
TRITA-ABE-MBT ; 19632
Keywords [en]
supply chain traceability, transparency, certifications, clothing industry, SME
Keywords [sv]
Spårbarhet i leveranskedja, transparens, certifieringar, klädindustri, SME
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-256556OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-256556DiVA, id: diva2:1346613
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-08-28 Created: 2019-08-28 Last updated: 2019-08-28Bibliographically approved

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