Sustainable Apparel Coalition Joins MIT SHINE Research Initiative

  • Partnership and Collaboration
Four people working together at a desk around a laptop
November 20, 2023

San Francisco, Amsterdam, Hong Kong – November 20, 2023: The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) has become a member of the Sustainability and Health Initiative for Net Positive Enterprise (SHINE) established by the Materials Systems Laboratory (MSL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The project researches product-based and organizational handprint creation and net positive assessment, enabling organizations to pursue the creation of positive sustainability-related outcomes in concert with ongoing efforts to reduce their footprints.

“Net Positive reflects the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s strategic goal of transforming the industry into one that gives more than it takes to people and the planet,” said Amina Razvi, chief executive officer at the SAC. “The work of MIT SHINE aligns with the SAC’s strategic focus on three foundational pillars – combating climate change, ensuring decent work for all, and shaping a nature-positive future. We’re thrilled to join this powerful initiative.”

SHINE @ MIT is a research center dedicated to improving the scientific basis by which NetPositive is assessed at all of these levels: products, activities, companies, economic sectors, individuals, and groups of people. Its work includes the quantitative evaluation of footprints through the science, data, and methodologies of life cycle assessment (LCA). LCAs also provide the basis for estimating the positive impact of innovative products, materials, activities and processes that function with greater efficiency, provide increased benefits, and reduce wastes and adverse effects.

“The idea of Net Positive is conceptually simple,” said Gregory Norris, research scientist and MIT SHINE director. “However, using LCAs to evaluate both the potential good and harm done by apparel with rigor, clarity and credibility is a complex challenge, though it’s one we are devoted to alongside the SAC. We look forward to working with the SAC and accessing the deep well of data presented by the Higg Index suite of tools.”

As a global multi-stakeholder nonprofit alliance that represents about 50 percent of the apparel and textile industry in 36 countries, the SAC facilitates a common approach to measuring sustainability that is grounded in the Higg Index, a suite of tools that utilize LCA data to measure social and environmental impact from materials in products, to how those products are made, to brand practices. Through the continuous evolution of the Higg Index tools, the aim is to provide users with access to the most up-to-date, accurate data against relevant industry standards in order to drive sustainable decision-making across the industry.

“We look forward to collaborating with MIT Shine in our ongoing efforts to provide state-of-the-art tools to support our members in their journey of transformation,” said Jeremy Lardeau, vice president Higg Index. “Initiatives like these help bring the latest academic and scientific developments to the industry in innovative and sometimes disruptive ways, and we look forward to the exciting opportunities for our tools and the value chain impacts they can help drive.”


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About the Sustainable Apparel Coalition:

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is a global, non-profit alliance of over 280 organizations in the apparel, footwear, and textile industry. Initially formed to create standardized sustainability metrics, the SAC has sharpened its focus to driving pre-competitive, collective action across three foundational pillars. As an independent entity, the SAC brings together brands, retailers, manufacturers, NGOs, academics, and industry associations to combat climate change, ensure decent work, and contribute to a nature-positive future. Central to the SAC’s mission is the Higg Index, a suite of comprehensive tools that empower members to measure, evaluate, and improve sustainability performance across the supply chain.

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