Essential Glossary


The ability to identify and track the history, distribution, location, and application of products, parts, and materials throughout the entire supply chain, from raw material sourcing to the end consumer. Traceability enables the verification of sustainability claims by providing information about the origins, processes, and practices involved in the production of goods.


The voluntary sharing of information related to the social, environmental, and economic aspects of a company's operations with relevant stakeholders, such as suppliers, customers, regulators, and the general public. Transparency involves disclosing information that is relevant, accurate, timely, and accessible to facilitate informed decision-making and promote accountability.


The pursuit of social, environmental, and economic objectives in a balanced and integrated manner, ensuring the long-term viability and resilience of the fashion-apparel supply chain. Sustainability encompasses practices and strategies aimed at reducing negative impacts, fostering ethical business practices, and promoting resource efficiency and circularity throughout the supply chain.


Any filament, fibre, or yarn that can be made into fabric or cloth, and the resulting material itself. The term is derived from the Latin textilis and the French texere, meaning “to weave,” and it originally referred only to woven fabrics. It has, however, come to include fabrics produced by other methods. Thus, threads, cords, ropes, braids, lace, embroidery, nets, and fabrics made by weaving, knitting, bonding, felting, or tufting are textiles.

Multi-tier value chains

A tiered value chain represents a hierarchical categorisation of the various intermediaries and processes involved in the production, distribution, utilisation, and end-of-life management of a product. This framework facilitates the assessment of traceability and visibility throughout the product's lifecycle. Although the tier concept is not standardised, it offers a simplified depiction of the different and numerous stages. Actual value chains can be highly complex, with numerous intermediaries and sub-processes within each tier, as well as multiple components and materials in a single product. The tiered structure aims to improve comprehension and support informed decision-making in value chain management.

The tiers are generally categorised as follows:

The upstream part of the value chain include:
Tier 4: Raw material agriculture, farming, and extraction
Tier 3: Raw material processing
Tier 2: Material manufacturing
Tier 1: Final product manufacturing
Tier 0: Distribution

The downstream part of the value chain (essential for a transition to a circular economy) include:
Tier +1: Use
Tier +2: End of life

In practice, the tiered structure represents a complex network with numerous branches, highlighting the intricacy of modern value chains.

More traceability, for responsible fashion.