Digital Technology for Global Supply Chain in Fashion: A Contribution for Sustainability Development

  • Madalena Pereira
  • Liliana Pina
  • Benilde Reis
  • Rui Miguel
  • Manuel Silva
  • Paulo Rafael


The global fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. In the last few years, with globalization and fast fashion, the pollution has increased. It is easy to see that fashion markets are, day after day, more synonymous with rapid change, and as a result, commercial success or failure is largely determined by an organization’s flexibility and responsiveness (Christopher, M., Lowson, R., & Peck, H., International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management 32:367–376, 2004).

When a firm competes in any industry, it performs several discrete but interconnected value-creating activities, such as operating a sales force, producing a component or delivering products, and these activities are connected with the activities of suppliers, channels and customers (Azevedo, S. G., Ferreira, J., & Leitão, J., The role of Logistics’ Information and communication Technologies in promoting Competitive Advantages of the Firm (1359), 2007). The recent embracing of new business models that encourage design for reuse and improve materials recovery represents a departure from historic production and consumption systems.

In fact, classical economic theory posits that disproportionate production and consumption patterns represent a natural or desirable outcome since they drive the creation of wealth resulting from economic activity (including the flow and use of raw materials and resources) and trade of goods and services (Genovese et al. 2016). Based on this information, this chapter seeks to show an approach to present a solution. Digital technology to source in a global supply chain for fashion, how this tool can be a plus for the fashion business, to sustainable development and the benefits in using these kinds of platforms in a supply chain context from an environmental, market, policy and societal point of view. Regarding the methodology approach, digital platform development was made as an adaptation of the project methodology.

To conclude, digital technology can contribute significantly to facilitate and improve sourcing in the fashion industry, and it could be a plus not only for the global fashion market but also for new entrepreneurs that need to grow and globalize their business, minimize costs and time losses, and contribute for the sustainability.


Digital technology Fashion industry Sustainability 



This research work has been developed in the scope of the Project 003385 “U.MAKE.ID,” promoted by the PICTONIO company and co-promoted by University of Beira Interior, financed by the Center’s Regional Operational Program within the scope of Portugal 2020—I&DT Projects in Copromotion Enterprises—and also co-financed by the European Union.


  1. Ab Talib, M. S., Abdul Hamid, A. B., & Thoo, A. C. (2015). Critical success factors of supply chain management: A literature survey and Pareto analysis. EuroMed Journal of Business, 10(2), 234–263. Scholar
  2. Awwad, A., & Akroush, M. N. (2016). New product development performance success measures: An exploratory research. EuroMed Journal of Business, 11(1), 2–29. Scholar
  3. Azevedo, S. G., Ferreira, J., & Leitão, J. (2007). The role of logistics’ information and communication technologies in promoting competitive advantages of the firm (1359). MPRA Paper, University of Beira Interior.Google Scholar
  4. Boons, F., Montalvo, C., Quist, J., & Wagner, M. (2013). Sustainable innovation, business models and economic performance: An overview. Journal of Cleaner Production, 45, 1–8. Scholar
  5. Brown, B. J., Hanson, M. E., Liverman, D. M., & Merideth, R. W. (1987). FORUM global sustainability: Toward definition. Environmental Management, 11(6), 713–719. Scholar
  6. Caniato, F., Caridi, M., Crippa, L., & Moretto, A. (2012). Environmental sustainability in fashion supply chains: An exploratory case based research. International Journal of Production Economics, 135(2), 659–670. Scholar
  7. Carvalho, H., Azevedo, S. G., & Cruz-Machado, V. (2012). Agile and resilient approaches to supply chain management: Influence on performance and competitiveness. Logistics Research, 4(1–2), 49–62. Scholar
  8. Christopher, M., Lowson, R., & Peck, H. (2004). Creating agile supply chains in the fashion industry. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 32(8), 367–376. Scholar
  9. Elkington, J. (1998). Partnerships from cannibals with forks: The triple bottom line of 21st century business. Environmental Quality Management, 8(1), 37–51. Scholar
  10. Fletcher, K. (2014). In the hands of the user: The local wisdom project and the search for an alternative fashion system. The Journal of Design Strategies: Alternative Fashion Systems, 7(1), 10–17.Google Scholar
  11. Geissdoerfer, M., Savaget, P., Bocken, N. M. P., & Hultink, E. J. (2017). The circular economy – A new sustainability paradigm? Journal of Cleaner Production, 143, 757–768. Scholar
  12. Genovese, A., Acquaye, A. A., Figueroa, A., & Koh, S. C. L. (2016). Sustainable supply chain management and the transition towards a circular economy: Evidence and some applications. Omega. Scholar
  13. Henninger, C. E., Alevizou, P. J., & Oates, C. J. (2016). What is sustainable fashion? Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 20(4), 400–416. Scholar
  14. Kawamura, Y. (2005). Fashion-ology: Dress, body, culture.Google Scholar
  15. Korta, K., & Perry, J. (2013). Squaring the circle. Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy and Psychology, 1, 291–302. Scholar
  16. Li, Y., Zhao, X., Shi, D., & Li, X. (2014). Governance of sustainable supply chains in the fast fashion industry. European Management Journal, 32(5), 823–836. Scholar
  17. Lieder, M., & Rashid, A. (2016). Towards circular economy implementation: A comprehensive review in context of manufacturing industry. Journal of Cleaner Production, 115, 36–51. Scholar
  18. Macchion, L., Danese, P., & Vinelli, A. (2015). Redefining supply network strategies to face changing environments. A study from the fashion and luxury industry. Operations Management Research, 8(1–2), 15–31. Scholar
  19. Manzini, E., & Vezzoli, C. (2003). A strategic design approach to develop sustainable product service systems: Examples taken from the “environmentally friendly innovation” Italian prize. Journal of Cleaner Production, 11(8 SPEC), 851–857. Scholar
  20. Masson, R., Iosif, L., MacKerron, G., & Fernie, J. (2007). Managing complexity in agile global fashion industry supply chains. International Journal of Logistics Management, 18(2), 238–254. Scholar
  21. Moon, M. A., Mentzer, J. T., & Thomas, D. E. (2000). Customer demand planning at Lucent Technologies – A case study in continuous improvement through sales forecast auditing. Industrial Marketing Management, 29(1), 19–26. Scholar
  22. Moretto, A., Lion, A., Macchion, L., Caniato, F., Danese, P., & Vinelli, A. (2018). Designing a roadmap towards a sustainable supply chain: A focus on the fashion industry. Journal of Cleaner Production, 193, 169–184. Scholar
  23. Munari, B. (1983). Cómo nacen los objetos. Barcelona: Gustavo Gili.Google Scholar
  24. Pereira, M., Reis, B., Pina, L., Miguel, R., & Rafael, P. (2018). Textiles, identity and innovation: Design the future: Proceedings of the 1st International Textile Design Conference (D_TEX 2017). In G. Montagna & C. Carvalho (Eds.), U.MAKE.ID Fashion Sourcing Platform Project (p. 500). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  25. Pina, L., Reis, B., Pereira, M., Mguel, R., & Rafael, P. (2017). In E. T. D. Vrontis & Y. Weber (Eds.), Global and national business theories and practice: Bridging the past with the future. Cyprus: EuroMed Press.Google Scholar
  26. Roseira, C., & Brito, C. (2014). Value co-creation with suppliers. International Business Research, 7(4), 7–30. Scholar
  27. Todeschini, B. V., Cortimiglia, M. N., Callegaro-de-Menezes, D., & Ghezzi, A. (2017). Innovative and sustainable business models in the fashion industry: Entrepreneurial drivers, opportunities, and challenges. Business Horizons, 60(6), 759–770. Scholar
  28. Witjes, S., & Lozano, R. (2016). Towards a more circular economy: Proposing a framework linking sustainable public procurement and sustainable business models. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 112, 37–44. Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Madalena Pereira
    • 1
  • Liliana Pina
    • 1
  • Benilde Reis
    • 1
  • Rui Miguel
    • 1
  • Manuel Silva
    • 1
  • Paulo Rafael
    • 2
  1. 1.Textiles DepartmentUniversity of Beira InteriorCovilhãPortugal
  2. 2.U.MAKE.ID Research ProjectLisbonPortugal

Personalised recommendations