The Open Apparel Registry launches free, open source, global map of apparel facilities

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Following a beta release in 2018 and a series of improvements based on user feedback, the Open Apparel Registry has launched.

The Open Apparel Registry (OAR) is an open source tool, mapping garment facilities worldwide and assigning a unique ID number to each. It aims to become the go-to source for identifying all global apparel facilities and their affiliations by collating disparate supplier lists from industry stakeholders into one central, open source map and database.

The collated database of facility names, addresses and affiliated parties is powered by an advanced name and address-matching algorithm and will be available for use by any organization, for free, to:

  • Update and standardize facility names and addresses against the database
  • Understand affiliations of current and prospect facilities to identify opportunities for collaboration
  • Find potential new suppliers listed with their affiliations
  • Leverage the OAR ID as a unique and shared ID across software systems and databases

The OAR compiles data from multiple sources including large datasets from multistakeholder initiatives (MSIs), brand and retailer supplier lists, facilities and factory groups, service providers, government databases and more.

The OAR is a neutral, non-profit organisation, with a multistakeholder Board of Directors representing civil society, the open data sector, factory groups, industry MSIs and brands. To further facilitate contribution and cross industry collaboration, several industry MSIs, including Amfori, Fair Factories Clearinghouse, SAC, SEDEX and ZDHC have formed an OAR working group to explore API integration.

Commenting on the launch, Project Director Natalie Grillon said,

“As we launch the Open Apparel Registry today, we look forward to seeing all the ways the industry will use the tool for its work. As part of its development, we've conducted an extensive stakeholder consultation exercise, gathering input and feedback from across the industry - from non-profits working on the ground in major sourcing countries and the factories themselves, to major global brands and the industry MSIs. Based on this input, we're confident that we've built a tool that will be of practical use throughout the industry, enabling organisations to better understand their supply chains, collaborate on in-factory improvements and act as a source of truth on name and address information for global apparel facilities."

Azavea, the OAR technical provider, has led software development activities leading up to the launch. They are a certified B Corporation and have a two year grant from C&A Foundation to continue development and maintenance of the OAR. Speaking on the launch, Robert Cheetham, President and CEO, said,

“Azavea is excited to work with C&A Foundation on the Open Apparel Registry. As a B Corporation, we seek out projects that have the potential for civic, social, and environmental impact, and the OAR project aligns with our mission. Further, our geospatial software experience will enable us to support the OAR's goals of creating a standardized, open source global database and map of apparel facilities. We look forward to supporting a project that improves transparency and information sharing in the global supply chain.”

Sharing her views on the launch, Leslie Johnston, Executive Director at C&A Foundation, said,

“C&A Foundation is proud to support the launch and continued development of the Open Apparel Registry (OAR). This groundbreaking initiative is the first to share, free of charge, important industry data across brands, retailers, manufacturers, multi-stakeholder initiatives, and civil society.  By doing so, the OAR accelerates collaboration within the apparel industry and contributes to a new paradigm of open data, which we believe is critical to making fashion a force for good.”

To explore the Registry and upload a supplier list, visit openapparel.org

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For questions and follow-up, please contact:

Katie Shaw - based in London, UK

katie@openapparel.org

+447780 682958

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

Watch a video explainer of the OAR here and visit the website for more detailed information. For details of how the system processes lists, click here.

Stakeholders from across the industry share how they use the OAR:

Andreas Streubig, Director Global Sustainability at HUGO BOSS, commented:

“The OAR will offer a unique platform that helps to increase transparency in highly complex textile supply chains. By consolidating and mapping information from multiple sources, a high level of quality and comparability is achieved. HUGO BOSS attaches great importance to such an approach.

Only by joining forces from all industry players, we can achieve systematic sustainability improvements in the textile and fashion industry.”

Peter Burrows, Executive Director, Fair Factories Clearinghouse shared his views on the launch of the OAR:

“Fair Factories Clearinghouse (FFC) is very pleased by the development of the Open Apparel Registry (OAR). One of the critical remaining barriers to more cross-platform collaboration and data exchange has been the lack of a single, trusted supplier directory; the OAR will fulfil this promise. FFC plans to contribute supplier master data to help build the new open source registry but, more importantly, we also expect that use of it will create benefits for our members, as it will greatly improve the quality of our own supplier master data. FFC is proud to be a founding member of the OAR multi-stakeholder working group to develop electronic data synchronization between MSIs and the OAR.”

Head of Sustainability at textile and apparel manufacturer Arvind Limited, Abhishek Bansal, voiced his support for the tool:

“Arvind Limited believes there are real benefits to facilities and factory groups themselves engaging with the Open Apparel Registry (OAR). By being able to demonstrate the relationships of your facility through the affiliations visible on the site, and directing people to the OAR as a verified resource, the OAR serves to enhance trust between supplier and client. Through using the unique OAR ID, there is the potential to save hours of time and huge financial cost through more streamlined and efficient reporting. We’d encourage other supplier groups to get on board to reap the benefits this free tool can offer.”

Phil Bloomer, Executive Director of the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, said,

“We're excited the Open Apparel Registry launches today. As a free, public registry, it has become a vital tool for corporate transparency and accountability, for us, and partners. It brings immediate benefits to our work. For instance, we use the OAR to track back the abuse reported to us in apparel factories to ensure brands are informed of violations in their supply chains, and to seek accountability – due diligence to end abuse, and remedy for those harmed.   

We see enormous gains for the entire industry. Human rights advocates inside companies, civil society, investors, and governments can use it to help drive the change needed to achieve sustainability and respect for human rights throughout apparel supply chains.”

Jeffrey Hogue, Chief Sustainability Officer, C&A Global, shared his support for the tool:

"The Open Apparel Registry seeks to resolve an important challenge that the industry has been struggling with for several years - the lack of a single facility identifier for garment factories in the apparel supply chain. This development will support current and future brand collaboration on factory audits, joint remediation, corrective action planning and capability building."

Speaking on how they will use the registry, Paul Roeland, Transparency Coordinator for the Clean Clothes Campaign said,

"We work to help garment workers achieve their rights. Accurate supply chain transparency is vital for that, so we can reach out to the correct brands and other stakeholders to resolve rights violations. Having a clear and unified registry of production facilities makes finding the right information easier and faster, and therefore speeds up the route to remedy."

Social media links

Twitter: @openapparelreg / #openapparelregistry

Instagram: openapparelregistry

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/open-apparel-registry

 

About the OAR:

Launching to the public on 28th March 2019, the Open Apparel Registry (OAR) is an open source tool which maps garment facilities worldwide and assigns a unique ID number to each.

It aims to become the go-to source for identifying apparel facilities and their affiliations by collating disparate supplier lists from industry stakeholders into one central, open source map and database.

The collated database of facility names, addresses and affiliated parties is powered by an advanced name and address-matching algorithm and will be available for use by any organization, for free, to:

  • Update and standardize facility names and addresses against the database
  • Understand affiliations of current and prospect facilities to identify opportunities for collaboration
  • Find potential new suppliers, listed with their credentials and affiliations
  • Leverage the OAR ID as a unique and shared ID across software systems and databases

The OAR compiles data from multiple sources including large datasets from multistakeholder initiatives (MSIs), brand and retailer supplier lists, facilities and factory groups, service providers, government databases and more. The data is published under an open data license, Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 4.0.

The OAR was developed by Azavea, a geospatial software firm and certified B Corporation based in Philadelphia, and funded by C&A Foundation. Azavea has extensive experience in developing and maintaining open source projects and will support the creation of new features on the OAR over the next two years.

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