Google and WWF partner up to create platform for sustainable fashion


Google is partnering with WWF Sweden on an environmental data platform to facilitate more responsible purchasing decisions in the fashion industry. The partnership combines knowledge and expertise from both parties by bringing some of their projects together.

Today, the fashion industry accounts for 20% of wastewater and 2-8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, with this potentially rising by as much as 50% by 2030 if no measures are taken, according to Google Cloud in a press release. Much of this impact occurs at the raw material stage of the production process, where the supply chains are often very fragmented, and collecting and assessing data at scale is a challenge.

WWF and Google are now creating a platform based on data that can support responsible sourcing in the fashion industry. Last year, a pilot project used Google Cloud technology to obtain a more comprehensive view of the raw materials in clothing manufacturers’ supply chains. The pilot took place in collaboration with Stella McCartney, which will also be the first fashion brand to test the platform.

Technical capacity Google

Google and WWF Sweden will now collaborate on an updated platform that uses all data types, with the aim of further increasing the accuracy and relevance of the raw material assessments. This new platform will also go beyond cotton and viscose, as initially announced. In addition to Stella McCartney and long-term partner Ikea, WWF and Google are also in talks with a large number of other fashion, luxury, denim and athletic brands and retailers.

“Our ambition is to create a data-enriched decision-making platform that enables supply chain analysis in a way not previously possible on this scale,” said Ian Pattison, Head of Customer Engineering, Retail at Google UK/IE. “The cooperation with WWF brings together the technical capacity of Google Cloud – including big data analysis and machine learning – with WWF’s in-depth knowledge of assessing raw materials. Together we can make supply chain data visible and accessible to decision-makers and ensure more responsible and sustainable decisions.”

Sustainability requires cooperation

“Sustainability is a challenge that crosses industry boundaries, and we firmly believe that solutions require strong partnerships and collaboration,” said Kate Brandt, Sustainability Officer at Google. “Our ambition is to fill fundamental data gaps by bringing greater accuracy to environmental reporting – ultimately moving towards 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.”