An open-source tool designed to identify apparel facilities internationally and their affiliations may be the answer to fashion's supply chain transparency problem.
Following a beta release in 2018, the Open Apparel Registry (OAR) has launched following a series of improvements based on user feedback.
The OAR is essentially the first free-to-use interactive map to attempt to collate the names, addresses and affiliations of global apparel facilities by using address-matching algorithms.
By leaving the database open-sourced, the OAR aims to create the largest and most comprehensive database of facilities. The hope is that this centralised data mine will lead to more transparency about from where retailers source their clothes while also aiding in the search for more sustainable and ethical suppliers.
Unique ID numbers are assigned to each facility by an advanced name and address-matching algorithm which will be available for use by any organisation, for free.
This will allow them to:
- Update and standardise facility names and addresses against the database
- Understand affiliations of current and prospect facilities to identify opportunities for collaboration
- Find potential new suppliers listed with their affiliations
- Leverage the OAR ID as a unique and shared ID across software systems and databases
“This groundbreaking initiative is the first to share, free of charge, important industry data across brands, retailers, manufacturers, multi-stakeholder initiatives and civil society,” Leslie Johnston, the executive director of the C&A Foundation, said.
“By doing so, the OAR accelerates collaboration within the apparel industry and contributes to a new paradigm of open data, which we believe is critical to making fashion a force for good."