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Origins: The NZ Company Reducing Clothing's Social and Environmental Impact with Blockchain

Estimated reading: 3 mins

Origins: The NZ Company Reducing Clothing's Social and Environmental Impact with Blockchain

The Problem

Most people know very little about the environmental and social impact associated with the clothing that we wear daily. The clothing and apparel industry contributes almost 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Also, a significant proportion of the production of clothing happens in Developing companies where a “living wage” and employee safety and wellbeing is unheard of. Without realising, many of us are contributing to a system where the cycle of poverty and depletion of natural resources is very real.

“Without understanding the origins and impacts of the clothes we purchase, we inadvertently buy into a system that depletes natural resources and reinforces the cycle of poverty inherent in garment producing countries”.

The Blockchain Solution

Origins is a company looking to address these issues. With the support of NEM, they want to revolutionise the fashion industry. To do so, Origins are developing a supply chain solution using NEMs blockchain to implement tagging and tracing products from source to point-of-sale.  The system will cover every stage of the garment production process. The plan is to develop an app, or similar, for end-users to scan the tag and find out exactly where the product was made.

Currently, the majority of supply chain reporting is self-reported and only examines a part of the process. Therefore, it is not representative of the entire garment cycle. Also, present systems are costly, confusing, and unable to be adequately validated.

NEMs Involvement

Samantha Jones, the founder of Origins and New Zealand clothing company Little Yellow Bird, has been granted a $1.2m fund from the NEM Foundation to develop the platform. Origins are only the second New Zealand venture to receive NEMs Community Fund (the first being Choice), and she is the first woman globally. Jason Lee, NEM.io Foundation Global Director for Partnerships and Strategic Alliances, said this about the project:

"The supply chain industry is one of best areas to develop a real world blockchain use case and we are excited to support Origins in utilising the NEM blockchain technology which will be a great showcase globally. This also aligns with NEM’s aim to support social impact project like these across the region". Jason Lee, NEM.io Foundation Global Director for Partnerships and Strategic Alliances.

Samantha Jones, Origins

Samantha Jones's involvement in supply chains spans over ten years. She holds an Undergraduate degree in Operations Research and spent six years as a Logistics Officer and Supply Chain Manager in the Royal New Zealand Air Force. Jones has a Master’s degree in Engineering Management and International Relations and National Security Studies. Her Master’s thesis looked at how Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) can enhance the security of military supply chains.

Jones’s current company, Little Yellow Bird, provides full traceability of raw materials right back to the farming level. Little Yellow Bird supports two cotton co-ops in East India and currently manufactures clothes for 200 companies. At present, the company communicates the impact of their products including factors such as labour hours, chemicals used, amount of water saved by using rain-fed organic cotton etc through their Impact Report. However, there is a tremendous opportunity for improving current systems.

“Most people don’t question where the products they buy comes from or explore what that means. My mission is to get people to think more about where their purchases come from, be more conscious of the consequences of their decisions, and choose what to buy accordingly.” Samantha Jones, founder of Little Yellow Bird and Origins.

The Benefits of Origins Summed Up

  • Customers will see exactly where and how clothing is manufactured
  • Customers will have a greater understanding of the costs involved in the process of creating a garment
  • Origins will enable customers to make informed decisions on their purchase
  • Businesses in the fashion industry employing Origins will have a transparent and measurable supply chain with immutable record keeping
  • The technology is transferable to other industries
  • Real-time data and transaction history


If you wish to learn more about Origins, please see the original proposal here.

To learn more about the NEM Foundation and Blockchain technology, see our post explaining why it’s the blockchain for everyone. Or, how about another use case for blockchain technology resulting in social good?

Disclaimer: The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. Do not take this as personalised financial or investment advice. The opinions expressed by the author do not represent the opinion of BitPrime.

Last updated: 01/08/2018

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