Saga Software

Fashion & apparel

Forced labor, fossil fuels, and waste: fast fashion’s dark enablers

Apparel industry strategies, most predominantly Fast Fashion, are putting companies under competitive pressure to produce in-demand garments quickly and at low cost.

This is leading to a range of social and environmental challenges including:

Forced Labor

Fossil Fuels

  • The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions. If the industry were a country it would be the 4th largest generator of carbon emissions in the world.5
  • The fashion industry is responsible for more carbon emissions than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
  • At the current pace, the fashion industry’s greenhouse gas emissions will surge more than 50 % by 2030.


  • Of the total fiber input used for clothing, 87 % is incinerated or disposed of in a landfill.
  • Of ~100 billion garments made each year, only 1% are recycled9
  • Each year the fashion industry uses 93 billion cubic meters of water — enough to meet the consumption needs of five million people. 20% of the resultant wastewater worldwide comes from fabric dyeing and treatment8
  • 12% of fibres are discarded on the factory floor4

Enabling circularity through traceability 

Algorithms suggest that only 28% of apparel manufacturers have invested in any level of traceability, and only 2% have clear line of sight beyond Tier 1. A recent study of brands found that:

  • 93% didn’t know where their raw materials came from
  • 82% didn’t know where their fabrics were milled
  • 30% didn’t know where their clothes were manufactured

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has stated that traceability is key for scaling circular business models in apparel supply chains. A circular business model with traceability at its core shows the production and distribution process from start to finish, helping to identify who made what and where.

That’s a increasingly powerful brand message: informed purchase choices increase consumer confidence.

Deconstructing the apparel supply chain – the case for supply chain forensics

With the welcome increase in apparel traceability legislation on the horizon, it is critical that apparel companies understand their own supply chain at every level. PSQR’s SAGA product enables the recording and sharing of key information from different supply chain actors at all levels, creating a comprehensive forensics tool capable of providing critical insights that can drive decision making, enabling companies to measure the true social and environmental impacts of a product.

  • Exposing and eliminating the use of slave labour beyond just T1
  • Reducing carbon emissions
  • Reducing waste the occurs throughout the life cycle of a garment

Quality monitoring

  • Easily tracing sources of defects
  • Identifying and penalizing actors involved
  • Identifying and preventing counterfeiting

Logistics Management

  • Product-tracking tags: providing real-time location information and assisting inventory control
  • Smoothing the reverse logistics flow of the circular supply chain via product-related data, helping to automate product collection and sorting in recycling
  • Highlighting operational excellence and/or inefficient recall practices


  5. WRI/ AII (2020). Roadmap to Net-zero Delivering Science-Based Targets in the Apparel Sector.
  8. Kant, R., Textile dyeing industry: An environmental hazard (2012), p.23