It’s often difficult to be a conscientious consumer. Even with the best intentions, we often just don’t have the information we need to make a truly informed decision. Sure we can observe and avoid excess packaging, but it’s challenging to get a deeper dive into the origin of materials or how employees at a plant halfway around the globe are treated. These are issues that inspired PaperTale, an app that provides information about the origin and production of certain products.
The inspiration for PaperTale came to Swedish creator Bilal Bhatti after more than 15 years of witnessing the atrocities associated with fast fashion, such as worker exploitation and environmental pollution. Knowing how toxic the textile industry is to the planet and workers, he created a smart tag that allows tracking of the product through every stage of material sourcing, manufacturing and transport.
The smart tag provides transparency of the process so consumers can see the tale of the clothing they purchase. Traceability is achieved as businesses provide information at each stage of the process. Suppliers and buyers must register and verify each transaction independently of each other for a more comprehensive and authentic picture of the product supply chain. This information allows PaperTale to calculate an environmental footprint of the product that shows water usage and carbon emissions.
Once manufacturing begins, employee hours are also tracked to ensure a fair working wage. For complete transparency, employees have access to their worker logs, via a kiosk within the factory or the app on their phones, to verify hours are properly recorded. All of the information gathered from all sources is stored using blockchain technology to enhance transparency and prevent users from manipulating the data.
With a simple scan of the embedded smart tag using a smartphone, consumers can see the employees who made the garment and read their feedback about wages and working conditions. In addition, consumers can tip workers directly through the app and even contribute to crowdfund educational programs for workers or their children.
PaperTale is currently campaigning on Kickstarter with a goal of just over $103,000. Rewards for pledges include clothing along with the PaperTale technology. The campaign ends December 13, 2019 with production set to begin in January if it is fully funded.
Images via PaperTale