TradeBeyond Seeks to Help Companies Actually Produce Less
Picture a hydra, the mythological serpent with seven heads. It’s a helpful image for understanding the nature of what we’re up against when we talk about sustainability, for the situation we’re in has many interwoven aspects. We live in a capitalist society based on consumerism, which requires constant novelty to keep its wheels turning, which includes most people’s livelihoods. Over the past few decades we offshored production, and the lowest cost meant people could buy more stuff. Now we overproduce and burden our planet with too much waste, from spent fuel to unused products in landfills.
Wrangling this hydra involves taking on each head of the monster we created, and TradeBeyond is one of the innovators rising to the challenge. The supply-chain pioneer formerly known as CBX (a term it still uses for software products) is bringing awareness to the 92 billion tons of textile waste produced each year, much of it from overproducing. “We’re producing too much of what people don’t need and don’t want,” said Rejean Provost, team lead for ESG strategy at TradeBeyond and a 40-year veteran in the garment industry who seeks to help it make progress on its sustainability aspirations.
In addition to software solutions, the apparel industry should expect increasing government regulations, Provost said, as well as a push toward “impact investing” on the financial side of things. “Apparel companies are making sure they’re more conscious about the amount of waste they produce, the amount of energy it takes, the water—so there’s a big awakening that they have to buy less and buy better.”
TradeBeyond helps companies make less stuff but better and more targeted stuff. It starts with sourcing. “By mapping the supply chain for our clients, it allows them to be smarter in their buying to not only save money but also water, energy and time.” Moreover, efforts to educate the consumer about a brand’s sustainability efforts are much easier to quantify, “so you can actually prove you’re making a better product.”
TradeBeyond’s CBX solution is geared toward importers of record and large companies.