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Our Transparent Supply Chain

The lack of transparency in most mainstream fashion supply chains makes it virtually impossible for consumers to know who made their clothes, let alone whether their garments were produced following environmentally and socially sustainable methods.

As part of our efforts to add to provide transparency in our supply chain, we participated as a pilot for the EU GEO Fair Trade Project which was designed to provide consumers with geo-specific environmental and social data about the products they purchase. The project, aimed to provide visible accountability of sustainable provenance, both for raw materials as well as production processes and aims at 100% transparency throughout the supply chain.

Pachacuti collected 68 different social, environmental and economic indicators over a four year period in order to measure our impact on our rural-dwelling Ecuadorian hat weavers.

Despite the region’s remoteness and inaccessibility, we traced the production of our Panama hats back to the GPS co-ordinates of each weaver’s house, not easy data to collect when only 45% of their houses are accessible by road and are high in the Andes.

GPS locations of Pachacuti's hat weavers. (Azuay, Ecuador)
GPS Locations of Pachacuti's Straw Producers. (Manabí, Ecuador)

Not content with just tracing our hats back to where they were woven, we then traced the straw from which they are made, back to the communities on the coast of Ecuador in Guayas province where it is grown and processed. Next, a bumpy hour by truck from the nearest paved road, we mapped the GPS coordinates in the coastal cloud forest where the straw is harvested on community-owned, biodiverse plantations. Our straw is gathered by 32 harvesters who form the Love and Peace Association – maybe a rather incongruous name for men who spend most of their lives wielding a machete!

This level of traceability data is not easy to collect, it cannot be achieved by a few clicks on the computer, but it is essential to guarantee that our supply chain is as transparent as we can possibly make it. Moreover, our weavers have been delighted to participate in this project as it helps to correct a historical misnomer. Now consumers can track Panama hats back to their country of origin, Ecuador!

As a pioneer in ethical fashion, Pachacuti continues to push traceability and transparency standards higher in order to guarantee the highest social and environmental conditions throughout the supply chain. See the Our People page for more information on our current work.