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TrusTrace: More sustainability for the fashion industry

TrusTrace from Sweden competed against more than 180 startups, making it to the Green Alley Award finals! From fiber to garment, fashion brands have to deal with complex production processes and numerous suppliers. Therefore, a digital platform developed by TrusTrace promises to shed more light on the materials in fashion products and how they are manufactured. This helps fashion companies to ensure that supply chains align with their sustainability goals and even enables the product verification for circular business models. Learn more about the AI and blockchain-based technology enabling a more sustainable fashion industry at the Green Alley Award final!

TrusTrace offers a digital traceability platform for the fashion industry. How did you come up with the idea?

We started TrusTrace as a local project in Coimbatore, India where the ‘not so great’ practices in the textile industry were polluting rivers and lakes. It destroyed the ecosystem and also led to many problems such as shortage of drinking water, ground water pollution as well as growing illnesses in the surrounding population. When we started scrutinizing the issues, we realised that the issue wasn’t local, but one that needed to be addressed at a massive scale. Consumers and brands buying these clothes had to be made aware about the conditions under which they were produced so that they can make more informed and better choices from an environmental as well as social perspective.

All four founders had a background in technology and hence wanted to bridge the gap between buyers and sellers using scalable technology. We received great support from leading brands in Sweden such as Filippa K, Houdini and Mini Rodini and suppliers in the Tiruppur region of India. This was the genesis of TrusTrace 

Your startup is based in Stockholm. Tell us more about the Swedish startup scene! What benefits do entrepreneurs have there compared to other European startup cities?

Being a country with a small population, Sweden realised very early that the only way to stay relevant for the global audience was through innovation. With great companies like Volvo, Scania, Ericsson, IKEA, H&M, Klarna, Spotify, Truecaller, iZettle, King and so on, Sweden has always been very entrepreneurial and has a great startup ecosystem to support budding businesses. This has also made Swedes early adopters of new technologies and solutions, thereby making Sweden a great test market for most businesses. Also, the process of setting up an entity is fairly simple and the capital needed to do so is also relatively low (SEK 25.000).

To get your idea off the ground, the Swedish government has setup multiple agencies to provide support including startup funding through grants. Also, the presence of exception research institutes such as Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) and world class universities provides continuous resources in terms of research material, talent pool and collaboration opportunities for many entrepreneurs. And lastly, the various family offices and successful entrepreneurs in Sweden always want to invest back into Swedish companies to help them grow globally. This has helped infuse a lot of capital as well as knowledge to help businesses scale very quickly.

Recycling, reusing, or renting clothes – could these also be options for fashion brands? In what way can your platform contribute to such circular business models in the fashion industry?

Renting, Reusing and Recycling are great options for Fashion Brands. It not only creates new business models for the brands but is also better for the environment with increasing longevity for garments and fewer garments being produced. The success of Renting and Reuse services such as Hyber or Rent-the-Runway is testimony to the fact that such services are needed. Also, this helps brands to be connected with their customers even after the first sale of the garment, thereby increasing the lock in and loyalty. Our platform helps brands collect data from fiber to garment to fiber, thereby having complete data on the lifecycle of a garment. This helps them know what materials went into the garment, how long it was used and who could be the possible recyclers to whom the garments can be sent to and raw material recovered again for new production. 

Want to see these six startups with their outstanding circular economy ideas live and ask them some questions? Register now and meet our finalists online on 22nd April 2021, 5pm CET.

Source Green Alley Award

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