Google and WWF Sweden announced today that they are partnering to create an environmental data platform, enabling more responsible sourcing decisions in the fashion industry.

The fashion industry is a significant producer of waste water, and World Bank estimates it is responsible for responsible for 10 % of annual global carbon emissions. Much of the industry’s sustainability challenges result from the highly fragmented nature of the raw materials supply chain, which creates difficulty in gathering and assessing data at scale.

The Google/WWF partnership aims to address these challenges by creating a platform to provide a more comprehensive view into raw materials of clothing manufacturers’ supply chains, and  analyse the risk and impact of various textiles raw materials, based on prior collaborations between Google and Stella McCartney, and between WWF and IKEA. The new platform aims to increase the accuracy and relevance of raw materials assessments, moving beyond cotton and viscose as first announced, to include numerous additional raw materials based on WWF data and knowledge. In addition to Stella McCartney and IKEA, the partners are also in consultation with a large number of other fashion, luxury, denim, and athletic brands and retailers.

Commenting on the new partnership and platform, Ian Pattison, Head of Customer Engineering, Retail, Google UK/IE, said:

“It’s our ambition to create a data-enriched decision-making platform that enables analysis of the supply chain in a way that has not been possible before at this scale. Partnering with WWF brings together Google Cloud’s technical capacity, including big-data analysis and machine learning, and WWF’s deep knowledge of assessing raw materials. Together, we can make supply chain data visible and accessible to decision makers, and drive more responsible and sustainable decisions.”

Kate Brandt, Google Sustainability Officer, added:

“Sustainability is a challenge that crosses industry boundaries, and we firmly believe that solutions require strong partnerships and collaboration. Our ambition is to fill fundamental data gaps by bringing greater accuracy to environmental reporting—ultimately moving toward more sustainable processes. By combining our technology, and with data inputs from many key industry brands and retailers, we believe we can significantly magnify this work together.”

Håkan Wirtén, CEO of WWF Sweden, said:

“WWF’s partnership work with companies has always been motivated by the need to drive real transformation at the largest possible scale. This project is an excellent example of how we can take valuable work with a long term partner like IKEA, collaborate with another strong WWF partner like Google to make that work even more powerful, and make it open source so that hopefully it can help with the transformation of a whole industry.”