Google wants to help fashion brands make more sustainable decisions. In 2019, the US Internet giant set out to create a tool that could give companies the data they need to make more responsible sourcing decisions.

Last week the first version of the Global Fibre Impact Explorer (GFIE) was officially introduced. The tool, which is built on Google Earth Engine and uses Google Cloud computing, assesses the environmental risk of different fibers across regions as it relates to environmental factors such as air pollution, biodiversity, climate and greenhouse gasses, forestry and water use, Google states.

With this tool, brands shall be enabled to identify environmental risks across more than 20 fiber types­–including natural, cellulosic and synthetics materials. The GFIE will also provide brands with recommendations for targeted and regionally specific risk reduction activities including opportunities to work with farmers, producers and communities, such as investing in regenerative agriculture practices.

GFIE dashboard
Photo: Google
GFIE dashboard
To better understand the needs of the fashion industry and to test the platform, Google worked with British designer Stella McCartney, who is considered a pioneer for sustainable fashion–in advance. Using the tool alongside their existing sustainability efforts, Stella McCartney’s team was able to identify cotton sources in Turkey that were facing increased water and climate risks which showed to them the need for investing in local farming communities that focus on regenerative practices, such as water management and soil regeneration.
According to Google, other brands and retailers–including Adidas, Allbirds, H&M Group and VF Corporation–have also tested and refine the tool to make sure it can be useful to everyone in the industry.

The GFIE was born out of a partnership between Google and the WWF, and is built to complement existing tools focused on industry impact and risk analysis. With the initial development phase complete, Google and WWF are now transitioning GFIE to Textile Exchange, a global non-profit focused on positively impacting climate through accelerating the use of preferred fibers across the global textile industry. As the official host of the GFIE, Textile Exchange will continue the development of the tool, onboard new brands and work towards an industry launch in 2022.



READ ALSO:
Limonta and Modern Meadow joint venture

The Materials

Can BioFabbrica offer alternatives to leather and synthetics?

Read more →
Fibre Trace partners with Arise IIP

The Materials

How Africa could play a role for the future of the textile industry

Read more →
sapphire group drone technology

The Materials

Could drone technology and soybean denim be the future?

Read more →
Fabric News – Part 1

The Materials

How to debunk misinformation on cotton

Read more →