Serai, HSBC’s digital B2B platform, makes it easier for apparel companies to track the origin of their products and avoid potential human rights abuses like in Xinjiang, China.
Xinjiang, one of the country’s major cotton centers, has been internationally investigated for the alleged forced labor and internment of the Uighur Muslim ethnic group in the region.
The Serai platform allows apparel suppliers to enter supply chain details for each step of the manufacturing and distribution process so that companies that buy the products can see how and where they were made, from raw material to finished product.
“The platform increases the transparency and transparency of the entire supply chain and helps to consolidate data in every phase,” said Serive CEO Vivek Ramachandran to Yahoo Finance.
The US has imposed restrictions on clothing products from China on allegations of human rights abuses. Because of the transparency and documentation, importers can have a smoother process once the products reach customs in America. Importers can submit certificates of origin and detailed documentation showing that the product was not made in the Xinjiang region for which clearance orders apply.
“The US Customs and Border Protection has requested up to 44 documents,” said Ramachandran. “These documents can be shared by suppliers and supply chains through the platform.”
Suppliers can get third-party officials to validate data and publish it on the platform. From there, clothing brands that buy the products can send these documents to CBP.
“We don’t do accreditation,” added Ramachandran. “We only offer a platform for buyers and suppliers to exchange data.”
Serai, a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC, is a self-described “LinkedIn” network for apparel companies that is currently used by around 3,500 companies.
“We want to build a platform that makes it easier for companies to share information, get information from one another and build relationships with one another,” said Ramachandran.
As soon as more companies start using the platform and use this documentation function as intended, this can lead to an increased level of transparency in the global apparel supply chain, so that companies like Nike or Apple can more easily avoid sourcing products from questionable facilities without their knowledge.