PFI Newsletter February 2021

PFI Fareast newsletter – your one stop shop to industry updates in footwear technology, sustainability trends and scientific advancements, as well as auditing, testing news and much more.

Dear PFI community,

More than ever the Chinese saying is fitting this coming year:

“When the wind of change blows, some try to hide behind walls, but others go out and build windmills”.

This is the philosophy of PFI in Asia. Seeing and using the chances in an apparently frightening situation. Triggered by the pandemic, the world has changed tremendously. The political and economic rise of China is shaking up the existing world order and changing our view of the world. Whether amidst the pandemic or working through industry disruptions, PFI masters market trends by offering a comprehensive suite of sustainable supply chain solutions.

According to the Chinese zodiac, the year of the Ox is almost upon us, meaning a year of hard work is ahead.

Let us work together and seize big opportunities in these turbulent and stormy days.

Mrs. Candice Wang and Dr. Gerhard Nickolaus
Managing Directors of PFI Fareast


Dr. Tommy Ou
Managing Director of Quanzhou Laboratory

Managing Director of PFI Fareast shared about supply chain preparedness at the HDS/L Lieferkettengesetz conference in January

On the 21st January 2021, our Managing Director, Dr. Gerhard Nickolaus spoke as a panellist at the virtual Lieferkettengesetz (“LKG”) conference: ‘Transparent supply chains: preparation for planned regulations’. The conference convened leaders in apparel and footwear supply chains in preparation for legislative changes aimed at increasing responsibility and transparency across all supply chain actors.

PFI partners with DFS to digitally connect the shoe industry’s material value chain

The alliance of PFI and DFS guarantees to meet the quality and service needs required to offer a competitive edge to the footwear industry.

Global Supply Chain News

Rising concern: consultants stop at nothing to complete China factory audits

In current years, some consultants in China have begun using illegitimate ways to help unqualified Chinese manufacturers passing quality checks, social and environmental audits.

According to the investigation mentioned in the South China Morning Post article: “Bribes, fake factories and forged documents: the buccaneering consultants pervading China’s factory audits” these buccaneering consultants offer a wide range of services, “from basic coaching of workers on how to answer auditors’ questions, to the provision of additional record books. I was also alleged that such consultants use their network of contacts to arrange for a particularly friendly auditor to inspect… Others have software that can conjure up documents for a full team of seemingly legitimate factory workers and records in 90 seconds”.

The article also highlights the reasons behind this phenomenon could be the insatiable demand for fast fashion products and other cheap goods. Chinese factories often have extremely limited time to deal with sudden change of order details. Nevertheless, factories should comply to regulations and laws. While brands are also accountable for their supply chains; “a growing body of research shows that consumers expect brands to be responsible for ensuring their goods are ethically made”.

Founded in Germany, PFI is a global leader in sustainable supply chain solutions with over 60 years of experience in the footwear, garment, leather, and consumer goods industries. PFI offers environmental and social audits, as well as quality inspection that that keep track of factory compliance performance and quality of production. Assisting brands in their efforts to source from trustworthy ethical suppliers. Our highly experienced experts verify and improve the social and environmental performance of factories according to PFI standards as well as designated codes of conduct. Check out the PFI’s audit services now and see how we can help you.


In what way can traceability fulfil sustainability pledges?

In recent years, stakeholders across a range of industries are increasingly demanding sustainability in supply chains. Customer satisfaction no longer solely depends on the product itself but the entire supply chain used to make it. Delivering on brand’s sustainability commitments can be keys to pleasing the modern consumer base.

In article, “3 ways traceability can fulfil the sustainability promise”, “Bain & Company’s Elements of Value research shows that companies that successfully match customers’ sustainability expectations are rewarded with higher revenue growth and customer loyalty.” The three ways the article suggests fulfilling sustainability pledges are: creating “upstream visibility for sustainable inputs”, “downstream visibility to enable reverse logistics”, and “product authentication to promote reuse”.

PFI offers product certifications: Recycled Material Certification (RMC) and Recycled Material Certification Blue (RMC Blue) to trace the recycled content of products from source to finish. PFI provides a QR code on the hangtags or product packaging of each certified product, enabling consumers to verify the percentage of recycled material their product contains. Talk to our sustainability experts now to know more about how to improve the transparency and traceability of your supply chain.


Combatting modern slavery may in global supply chains

The fashion industry was hard hit during the pandemic, with reduced sales and disrupted fashion supply chains, garment workers’ jobs were hit hard. According to “Without action, modern slavery will surge in supply chains”,  “Louis Vuitton’s parent company LVMH saw profits nose dive 68 percent in early 2020, sales are now up 12% year-on-year”.

The article mentions that “across several countries and regions, garment workers’ vulnerability to forced labour is deepening as they confront growing hunger, wage compression, and mass layoffs … many workers are turning to risky strategies such as taking on loans with usurious interest rates to make ends meet.”

The 5 ways authors of the article, Genevieve Lebaron and Penelope Kyritsis, suggest that governments and fashion businesses can help the situation include to; “consider and measure their recent commercial activities, then address continuing harm to workers in supply chains if possible; governments to build corporate accountability for labour standards.”

Not sure if your suppliers have followed through on their commitments to ensure living wages are paid within your supply chains? PFI offers social audit services to ensure that you are sourcing from trustworthy ethical suppliers. Check out the PFI’s social audit services now and see how we can help you.



Consumer Survey Report, Fashion Revolution. 

“Fashion Revolution commissioned a survey of 5,000 people aged 16-75 in the five largest European markets, including Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, to find out how supply chain transparency and sustainability impacts EU consumers’ purchasing decisions when shopping for clothing, accessories and shoes.”

Data Excellence: Transforming manufacturing and supply systems, World Economic Forum and Boston Consulting Group. 

“This report is a key milestone in the multi‑year journey of our initiative. It describes the value pockets that manufacturers can unlock by leveraging the power of data; proposes a set of priorities for decision‑makers; and highlights opportunities for cross‑company collaboration. The value‑driven applications and key priorities will be further defined in the Manufacturing Data Excellence Framework, which is being co‑developed by this initiative’s community.”

Net-Zero Challenge: The supply chain opportunity, World Economic Forum and Boston Consulting Group. 

“Addressing supply-chain emissions enables many customer- facing companies to impact a volume of emissions several times higher than they could if they were to focus on decarbonizing their own direct operations and power consumption alone – and achieving a net-zero supply chain is possible with very limited additional costs. This report shows how.”

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