Ethical Performance
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Apparel sector establishes coalition

April 2011

A worldwide Sustainable Apparel Coalition has been formed by clothing companies, NGOs and other industry stakeholders.

The coalition, whose founding members include Adidas, Gap, Levi, Marks & Spencer and Walmart, will try to facilitate collaboration among brands, retailers, manufacturers and other groups ‘to reduce the environmental and social impacts of apparel and footwear products’.

The ultimate goal is to establish an index for apparel businesses to measure the sustainability footprint of products. Tools are being developed with a range of stakeholders, and are now being tested. The coalition hopes soon to have the metrics available for global adoption.

The index will draw on existing efforts in the sector, such as the Outdoor Industry Association’s eco index and Nike’s environmental apparel design tools.

The group also aims to use its collective weight, in the words of its vision statement, to ‘spotlight priorities for action and opportunities for technological innovation’.

The coalition’s chair, Rick Ridgeway, of the France-based Patagonia outdoor clothing brand, said the initiative provided member companies with the opportunity ‘to get in front of the growing need to measure and manage the environmental and social impacts of their products.’

The group’s membership extends at present to companies in Asia, Europe and North America. The US Environmental Protection Agency and a number of research institutions are also involved.

Sustainable Apparel Coalition | Global | Partnerships

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