Sustainable Apparel Coalition and International Apparel Federation Announce Collaboration Agreement

  • Partnership and Collaboration
Rear view of chinese female blue collar workers working in clothing factory in a row
September 25, 2023

New collaboration with the IAF to accelerate efforts towards equitable and sustainable global supply chains for the apparel and fashion industry.

San Francisco, Amsterdam, Hong Kong – September 25, 2023: The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), has today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), outlining a strategic collaboration with the International Apparel Federation (IAF). This collaboration aims to advance a shared vision for equitable and sustainable global supply chains for the apparel and fashion industry.

The two organizations come together with the shared belief that their collaboration can catalyze net-positive effects on the societies and communities of which they are a part. This is underpinned by an understanding of the need to further advance balance and equal partnership in commercial activities throughout the supply chain — including building efficiencies that will reduce the number of social and environmental assessments that unnecessarily burden manufacturers. The strategic collaboration recognizes the value of each organization’s different core competencies, skill sets, and expertise in order to build complementary solutions, industry roadmaps, and frameworks — working together to raise the voice, engagement, and real influence of manufacturers.

Andrew Martin, Executive Vice President at Sustainable Apparel Coalition, said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with the International Apparel Federation. As an organization committed to creating an equitable and just world for all, we believe this collaboration will enable us to harness our collective strength in our work on areas from decarbonization, to purchasing practices and more, and will see us co-create solutions that drive rapid progress at scale. We are at a critical point for our planet and now more than ever, we must work together to solve the industry’s most urgent and systemic issues, and doing all we can to elevate manufacturer voices and perspectives is essential not only for the SAC but our industry as a whole. At the SAC, we have renewed our commitment to collaborate with key industry stakeholders and organizations to develop solutions that foster equitable and restorative business practices, as evidenced by the recent launch of our updated strategy. Our collaboration with the IAF will only accelerate the momentum.”

Matthijs Crietee, Secretary General, at International Apparel Federation said: “It is the IAF’s conviction that the impressive range of challenges faced by our industry can only be met by brands, retailers and manufacturers working in unison. Hence, as IAF, we have embarked on an ambitious program to create structural links between such global initiatives as the SAC and the global apparel manufacturing community that IAF represents. The IAF is very pleased that SAC clearly shares our view on the importance of structurally including apparel manufacturers’ voices and perspectives when designing solutions to create a more sustainable industry. Organizing the inclusion of manufacturers is not only the just way forward, it is also simply imperative to achieve the necessary results as an industry. Good collaboration is complex but rewarding and this agreement will facilitate and push IAF and SAC to make it happen.”

Responsible for as much as roughly 8% of annual global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the textile and apparel industry recognizes the scale and urgency of the global climate challenge and the impact of apparel and fashion supply chains in responding with and a 45% reduction by 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

IAF and SAC will collaborate on projects and activities to deliver decarbonization of the industry in line with internationally recognized targets, working together on collective action opportunities to reduce carbon emissions. In addition, they will work together towards industry-wide alignment and implementation of responsible purchasing practices, while also identifying and implementing opportunities to ensure that manufacturers’ voices and influence are represented in the development of legislative initiatives, measures, and policies that impact the supply chain, both on relevant policy stages and with key policymakers – on a regional or national level and from a global perspective.

This collaboration complements the SAC’s recent launch of its updated strategic plan, redefining its mandate of “evolution for impact” — a focal theme that now drives its strategies, initiatives, and partnerships, building on the strong base SAC has created over the last decade.  And it fortifies the SAC’s commitment to realizing a sustainable future, aligning harmoniously with its strategic plan’s overarching objectives. By pooling their collective expertise and resources, the SAC and IAF are well-positioned to make lasting contributions to the global apparel and fashion industry.

— ENDS —

About the International Apparel Federation 

The International Apparel Federation (IAF) is the world’s leading federation for apparel manufacturers, (SME) brands, their associations, and the supporting industry. IAF’s membership now includes apparel associations and companies from more than 40 countries, a membership that directly and indirectly represents over a hundred thousand companies and over 20 million employees. IAF brings its members together to jointly create stronger, smarter, and more sustainable supply chains, it provides its members with valuable information and guidance and it represents its members on several international platforms working incessantly on more industry standardisation and harmonisation, industry collaboration, and inclusiveness of solutions.

About the Sustainable Apparel Coalition:

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is an independent and impact-creating organization that aims to lead the industry toward a shared vision of sustainability based upon a joint approach for measuring, evaluating, and improving performance.

As a non-profit organization, it has members from across the apparel, footwear and textile sector, but exists independently outside any one company so that it can drive progress. The SAC’s collective action efforts bring more than 280 global brands, retailers, manufacturers, NGOs, academics and industry associations together. They represent about half of the apparel and footwear industry along the whole supply chain – from sustainability pioneers to organizations just getting started.

Before the SAC existed, companies worked in a siloed way, using their own programs and measurements that lacked standardization and an ability to drive collective action. In 2009, Walmart and Patagonia identified this as a serious problem. Joining forces, they brought together peers, competitors, and relevant stakeholders from across the sector to, on a pre-competitive basis, develop a universal approach to measuring sustainability performance and founded the Sustainable Apparel Coalition.

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