LONDON — Google wants to be part of the solution to fashion’s sustainability issues. Today, the tech giant announced a partnership with WWF Sweden as part of its efforts to create an environmental data platform.
The aim of the platform is to utilize data to “provide a more comprehensive view into raw materials and supply chains” — which is where most of the industry’s waste is created — and consequently, enable brands to make more responsible sourcing decisions.
As part of the tie-in, Google will provide access to Google Earth Engine data and to Google Cloud’s artificial intelligence capabilities, while WWF will offer a framework for processing each type of data to create the overall scores for different fibers and locations.
The news follows the introduction of a pilot of the platform at last year’s Copenhagen Fashion Summit, in partnership with Stella McCartney.
McCartney remains involved in the project and the label will be the first to test the platform, which has now been updated with more data points that can assess a wider range of raw materials, beyond cotton and viscose that were part of the pilot, and provide a more accurate assessment.
“Sustainability is a challenge that crosses industry boundaries, and we firmly believe that solutions require strong partnerships and collaboration,” said Kate Brandt, Google’s sustainability officer. “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.”
WWF Sweden’s chief executive, Håkan Wirtén, also pointed to the importance of the project’s collaborative, open-source approach that “will hopefully help with the transformation of a whole industry.”