We use cookies 🍪
By clicking “Accept All”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Cookies Policy for more information.

From overload to relief: the impact of certificate automation on CSR and quality teams

Marie Petitalot
Marie Petitalot
Market intelligence analyst
Published on
June 4, 2024
certificat automation, supply chain sustainability, CSR management, quality teams efficiency, fashion industry carbon footprint, manual vs automated certificate management, traceability in fashion, certified materials benefits, sustainable supply chain practices, reducing carbon footprint in fashion, certification fraud prevention, automating certificate collection, improving team productivity with automation, sustainable material sourcing, validity verification of certificates, centralized certificate management, transaction certificate automation, scope certificate automation, OCR technology for certificate management, real-time certificate updates

Certificates are the gateway for brands that want to integrate more sustainability into their supply chain. The study conducted by BCG in 2020 estimated that choosing certified materials ("preferred fibers") contributes to reducing the carbon footprint of a fashion brand by 10 to 20%.

Another advantage is to offer more transparency to consumers with guarantees of good social and environmental practices.

Buying certified materials necessarily involves the collection of evidence. Manual management is inefficient; automating the collection and verification process is the first action to automate to free up bandwidth for CSR or quality managers.

In this article, we will explore the challenges of manual certificate management and the benefits of automation.

What are the difficulties of manual management?

Time-consuming and low value-added

Manual management of certificates, involving numerous email exchanges and complex verifications, is inefficient and not scalable to all products. According to a Lectra study (2019), fashion companies could save up to 50% of their administrative time by automating these tasks, including certificate management, which remains a constant challenge and offers little added value to the brand.

CSR manager fatigue

Certificate management, often entrusted to already overloaded CSR managers, increases their workload and complicates their mission to define sustainability. Often isolated and without support from their superiors and colleagues, these managers risk burnout, as highlighted in an Eco-Business report in May 2024.

Risky management and errors

Manual certificate management carries a high risk of errors, which can lead to the use of invalid, expired, or false certificates, undermining the credibility of brands.

No longer possible with increased demand and fraud

The demand for certificates has significantly increased. OEKO-TEX has observed a 21% rise between July 2022 and June 2023, totaling 43,000 certificates and labels. Fraud is also on the rise: in 2020, GOTS detected 20,000 tons of fake organic cotton in India and in 2016, the Cotton Egypt Association revealed that 90% of the world's Egyptian cotton was fake.

Why automate its management?

Improve team productivity

According to Andréa Garcia, product manager and project manager for traceability at Mise au Green, "our teams were able to save the equivalent of two months of work with Trace For Good.”

Secure sustainable material supplies

Brands that succeed in significantly changing their supplies can increase their profits by 6%, according to a BCG - Quantis - Textile Exchange report.

Ensure material origin

Automation also helps to ensure material origin through the collection of TC (Transaction Certificate). Once this material origin is verified, products can be labeled among eight possible labels to obtain eco-modulations.

What can be automated?

  • Intelligent collection: The automatic sending of certificate requests to suppliers is based on the specific regulations targeted by the brands, with integrated reminders to ensure documents are up-to-date.
  • Reading, extraction, and classification of information: OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology is used to read, extract, and automatically classify the information contained in the certificates.
  • Validity verification: Certificates are automatically verified through interconnections with Open Source databases, ensuring their authenticity and validity.
  • Centralization and categorization: All certificates are centralized within the Trace For Good platform and categorized with real-time updates, making it easier to track and manage documents.

Certificates covered by Trace For Good

Trace For Good covers a wide range of certificates to meet the diverse needs of brands in terms of sustainability and transparency in their supply chain.

Audit: BSCI (AMFORI), SMETA, ICS, Higg Index, WRAP, SA 8000, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, ISO 9001, SLCP, CTPAT

Scope certificate and transaction certificate: FSC, GOTS, Leather Working Group, Chrome Free Tanned Leather, Recycle content, Oeko-Tex, QIMA, FAIR TRADE PERU GOOD PRACTICES, Textile exchange Scope Certificates (CCS, GRS, OCS, RAS, RCS, RDS, RMS, RWS)

Confirmation letters: EcoVero, Tencel, Viscose Liveaco, Better Cotton Initiative (BCI)

Signed letters: REACH, Declaration of forced labor ban

To find out more about the difference between transaction certificates and scope certificates.

Production and Quality