May 28, 2021

Program Aims To Increase Apparel Industry Transparency

  • by Admin

When it comes to pollution, the apparel industry has been among the world's top offenders. But there's a conscientious movement underway to lessen environmental impact in the sector - something evidenced by the just-announced launch of a transparency program for publicly sharing data on a product's effects on the planet, starting with the content of its materials. The initiative comes from the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), a nonprofit alliance for the consumer goods industry, and its technology partner Higg. The eco effort centers on providing a consistent means for brands, retailers and manufacturers to share sustainability information on apparel and footwear products across critical areas that include water use, greenhouse gas emissions and use of fossil fuels. Leaders from SAC and Higg described the program as an important sign of progress toward establishing greater transparency throughout the apparel industry. Such transparency can intensify accountability on brands and producers and provide consumers with clear visibility into the type of impacts the products they're buying are having. SAC members Amazon, Boozt, C&A, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, Columbia Sportswear, H&M, Helly Hansen, JustWears, Lenzing AG, Norrona, PUMA, Salomon and Zalando have all said they plan to implement the first phase of the program on a selection of products available in the U.S. and Europe, including tops, skirts, backpacks and purses. A new era of transparency in fashion is here. Check our ED @asrazvi 's blog about our new Higg Index transparency program, which we launched with @hm & @norrona today! https://t.co/L2L9gzEUyp #higgindex #sustainablefashion pic.twitter.com/iePM7P8hgZ — Apparel Coalition (@apprlcoalition) May 27, 2021 During the first phase, the program will focus on the environmental impact of a product's materials, leveraging data from the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI), part of the Higg Index suite of sustainability measurement tools developed by the SAC. "The Higg MSI is a tool used by designers, product developers and analysts to understand the costs, benefits and tradeoffs of different materials that serve the same functional purpose for a product (for instance, comparing a recycled fiber to its conventional version)," organizers said in a statement. "Using the Higg MSI helps companies create products with a lower environmental impact - and now brands and retailers can share information on impact reduction with customers in an accessible and credible way." Over the next two years, the program will expand to incorporate additional data, including manufacturing and corporate responsibility. Creators of the program note that an important component is the Higg Index Sustainability Profile, a new scorecard for sharing data on how a product affects the environment. "Transparency itself is not the end game, but it's a critical step for transforming the industry and establishing a new era of accountability," said SAC Executive Director Amina Razvi. "By leveraging the Higg Index — starting first with environmental data and then expanding to include social impacts — we can help both businesses and consumers make better decisions and drive collective action at scale."

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