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GlassesYou might not be comfortable with transparency because you’re concerned somebody else might take advantage of the great supplier you’ve had such a hard time finding, or because you’re worried you might uncover issues you don’t know how to raise.

Here are 4 reasons to become transparent:

1. Regulation

“Modern slavery is an appalling crime that damages too many people’s lives. This government is determined to give law enforcement the tools they need to stamp it out and to increase support and protection for victims.” – Theresa May, UK Home Secretary introducing the UK Modern Slavery Bill

California, then the UK and the US, and probably the whole EU soon enough, regulation is putting more pressure on brands to get in control of their supply chain, and in particular fighting modern slavery.

2. Watchdogs

“Ignorance is a liability”

Supply chains are now so complex that it’s hard to be sure that none of your Tier 2 suppliers keep workers in unacceptable conditions, or that none of your suppliers sources materials from facilities with a negative environmental impact. Many NGOs and watchdogs are out there investigating in high-risk countries, and may discover that you are somehow connected to an undesirable supplier—before you are even aware.

What if you could uncover these issues and implement a corrective action plan, before they become a PR problem?

3. Best practices enforcement

“You cannot improve what you cannot see.”

In a supply chain where information only flows one level up and one level down, brands can’t influence upstream suppliers to improve their practices.

What if it was possible to share and enforce best practices throughout the supply chain? Product quality, and even costs, would improve.

4. Opportunities

“Your consumers want to know”

Transparency can be good for business. Knowing who makes your materials and where, being in better touch with your supply chain, means you can understand it more clearly and make more informed business decisions.

Being transparent also creates the opportunity for collaborative action between companies, governments, NGOs, unions and the public.

What if you reached out to that NGO who recently published a study about Women Strawberry Workers in Morocco or Water Shortages in Colombia and enabled them to reach out to your impacted suppliers throughout your supply chain, so that they could educate them and help them change? What if you answered the #whomademyclothes question, and showed the people in your supply chain by sharing their stories?

Sounds like the beginning of a great PR!

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