Sustainable Apparel Coalition: what is it?

In the last days there has been a lot of buzz about the Sustainable Apparel coalition, officially launched on March 1st. But what is it?

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), which includes* Nike, Gap Inc, H&M, Levi Strauss, Marks & Spencer, and Patagonia, will work to lead the apparel industry towards developing improved sustainability strategies and tools to measure and evaluate sustainability performance. 

The Coalition’s purpose at a higher level has two goals.  First, the member organizations will develop plans to soften the apparel industry’s impact on water and industry consumption, while making commitments to improved waste diversion and the reduction in the use of chemicals. To that end, the Coalition’s members will work with industry peers and supply chain partners to achieve the fullest possible life cycle transparency for clothing. Meanwhile, the SAC seeks to ensure that workplaces throughout the apparel industry adopt fair employment practices and a safe working environment, while eliminating any exposure to toxic chemicals.

Second, the Coalition will develop a metrics-based tool that will assist companies in the measurement of their environmental and social impacts.  For now described as the Version 1.0 Apparel Index, the tool works similarly to Nike’s Apparel Environmental Design Tool and the Outdoor Industry Association’s Eco Index.  Besides offering an assessment on companies’ usages of energy, water, and chemicals, the index will also evaluate products’ entire life cycles.  Companies will be able to measure their performance, compare them to their peers, and receive guidelines and resources for how they can improve their performance all such metrics.  The Apparel Index is slated to launch next month.(Source: Triplepundit Photo: Treehugger)
*Founding members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition are based in North America, Asia, Europe and the U.K. They include Adidas, Arvind Mills, C&A, Duke University, Environmental Defense Fund, Esprit, Esquel, Gap Inc., H&M, HanesBrands, Intradeco, JC Penney, Kohl’s Department Stores, Lenzing, Levi Strauss & Co., LF USA, a division of Li & Fung Limited, Marks & Spencer, Mountain Equipment Coop, New Balance, Nike, Nordstrom, Otto Group, Outdoor Industry Association, Patagonia, Pentland Brands, REI, TAL Apparel, Target, Timberland, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Verité, VF Corp, and Walmart.