Digital labeling on apparel items can significantly cut labeling waste and help in decarbonization efforts of the apparel sector, the industry insiders said.
It can also play an effective role in controlling the manufacturing of counterfeit products since every input of the finished goods is expected to come under digital labeling where all the parties in the supply chain will be identifiable.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) is currently planning to introduce a Quick Response (QR) code label instead of conventional labels to check counterfeit products in the local and global markets and to facilitate sustainability.
The fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters of the environment and it is estimated that conventional labeling waste is emitting around 343,000 MT of carbon dioxide.
Moreover, every year about 9.17 million kilometers of label tape is produced for the global fashion industry’s requirement which is enough to stretch between the earth and the moon twelve times yearly.
Speaking to the media, BGMEA President Faruque Hassan said that it is their innovation and they have already started discussing it with the brands and buyers.
In a recent statement, he urged the international and local governments to modernize their domestic fashion labeling requirements and support using more sustainable and digital labels.
He also urged the governments to amend national regulations to allow the adoption of fully digital labeling.
“BGMEA has aligned itself with its sustainability vision of 2030 which promotes sustainability, circularity, and transparency in the global fashion supply chain,” he added.
A fully digital labeling solution would cut manufacturing costs and thus make fashion more competitive and affordable; this would also reduce lead time and enable consumers to access more detailed information about the products they purchase, which will ensure transparency and traceability of products, he added.
Shovon Islam, managing director of Sparrow Group, told media that apparel manufacturers currently put 3-8 tags/labels in a piece of clothing to meet the buyers’ requirements like manufacture country name, brand name, product quality, washing procedure, product details and which chemicals and materials are used in the product.
Moreover, 4-5 workers to attach these labels to an item which costs at least $0.5 including label prices per item,” he added saying that all information can be put on a single label using a QR code which will reduce manpower loss and production costs.
If the brands use the QR code label, counterfeiting will decline and the brands and authorities will easily be able to know the origin of the goods.
However, there are also some challenges including the laws of the destination countries would have to be changed and it may take more time, he added.
Bangladesh is the world’s second-largest apparel exporter and exported $42.61 billion worth of goods in FY2021-22.