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HSBC’s Serai boosts ESG visibility in textile supply chain

Now in pilot, the new platform helps manage data along the industry’s complex supply chain to bolster adherence to ESG and compliance.

HSBC’s B2B platform Serai has launched a new tool for the textiles industry to track and trace the origin of cotton and other raw materials used to manufacture clothes and other fabric products.

The platform, currently being trialled in the pilot stage, adds greater visibility to the entire supply chain and helps consolidate data at each stage. The primary benefit is the reduction in manual data management, which often leads to misinformation, human error and inaccuracies. Using the new platform, suppliers can input data on the provenance of their goods at each step along the value chain – from raw material to processed or in-process goods and final shippable product.

More transparent data collection will allow businesses to mitigate risk, Serai says, as well as strengthen compliance and adherence to their environmental, sustainability and governance (ESG) commitments.

Removing barriers

Vivek Ramachandran, Chief Executive Officer, Serai says it is now “critical” for businesses to maintain a grip on the origin of the materials and processes that go into their end products. But he admits that the current flow of “fragmented” data passed down from upstream suppliers makes this task difficult, with barriers at each step. The issue widens the the further down the value chain you look, Ramachandran says, but by removing manual management of this data, Serai’s platform makes it “easy for businesses to access and unify complex supply chain information from multiple sources”.

Businesses using the platform need only integrate their information sources once. Serai’s technology then enables their suppliers, and suppliers’ suppliers to access and add to this through a secure platform. The platform is designed with customisation in mind, allowing each business to tailor it to their needs and role within the value chain.

“Making it easy”

The apparel industry is one of the largest and most complex in the world, comprised of many SMEs: everything from farming and production raw materials to manufacturing labour, fabric treatments and finishing. The complexity of ESG in this sector makes information and data a valuable commodity for ensuring each link in the chain is compliant and above board.

Speaking to Global Trade Review, Ramachandran says that businesses are often intimately familiar with the practices of their immediate suppliers, and their tier two suppliers, “but beyond that, there isn’t much visibility”.

“Serai combines multiple data sources into a single view making it easy for businesses and their supply chain partners to have an overview of information that they may not have had access to before,” says Ramachandran. “Not only does this allow for a seamless flow of information, it could help them identify gaps and inefficiencies in their current processes.”

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