A pilot project to monitor the impact of fashion on the environment using data analytics and machine learning
How can we make the fashion industry more eco-sustainable? How can we help reduce carbon emissions, as well as water resources and pesticides considering that the fashion industry is one of the most polluting in the world?
Based on these questions, and with the concrete intent to take action, the Stella McCartney brand and Google Cloud have decided to join forces by inaugurating a pilot project that is the only one of its kind. Relying on the most innovative tools of data analytics and machine learning, it seeks to map the use of raw materials along the entire production chain, in order to develop an efficiency plan that can help avoid waste and reduce the environmental impact.
Unveiled at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, this initiative focused the spotlight primarily on the numbers. Along with the oil industry, fashion is one of the major causes of pollution at the global level: it generates 10% of carbon emissions as well as 20% of wastewater. «Though many organizations are trying to address this issue and are implementing various approaches to deal with the problem, there are still significant shortfalls», highlights Google Cloud, which has decided to put its technologies on the line to mark a turning point. «We are doing our best. We are not perfect, but we are moving along a path that has never been considered in the history of fashion», says Stella McCartney. To tell the truth, the British fashion designer, daughter of Paul McCartney of Beatles fame, has always waved the banner of eco-sustainability: she contributed to launching the United Nation’sSustainable Fashion Industry Charter for climate change, and recently introduced “Stella McCartney Cares Green”, a programme of the “Stella McCartney Foundation” dedicated to promoting sustainable behaviour and environmental protection.
The project with Google Cloud starts by measuring the environmental impact of cotton and viscose
Cotton alone accounts for 25% of all fibres used in the industry, requiring significant amounts of water and pesticide for production, while viscose, at the moment less significant, is growing rapidly and is linked to deforestation. «This pilot project, explains Google Cloud, will enable us to test the effectiveness of our data analytics and machine learning platform on these raw materials, opening up the possibility of expansion to a wider range of textiles».
More specifically, the Google platform will make it possible to measure the impact of cotton and viscose on air pollution, taking into account parameters such as greenhouse gas emissions, land use and water scarcity. «Our goal, specifies the American corporation, is not only to be able to determine the impact of producing these raw materials, but to compare the impacts in the different geographical areas where they are produced».
This is just the beginning of the project in which Google Cloud will increasingly be on the front lines. «We are working actively with fashion brands, experts, NGOs and industry bodies with the ambition to create an open tool, and at the same time we intend to pursue our collaboration with other key players in the industry, large and small. We truly hope that this experiment will give fashion brands great visibility of the impact produced by their supply chains that will allow them to make better raw material sourcing decisions».
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translation by Olga Barmine