Sustainable Apparel Coalition launches new membership category to encourage more across the industry to set and achieve positive environmental and social impacts

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March 16, 2023

New model provides greater opportunity for companies to understand their impact and commit to working towards a more responsible textile and apparel industry

San Francisco, Amsterdam, Hong Kong – March 16, 2023: The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), has launched a new membership model for companies with a revenue of over $100 million to encourage more in the industry to work towards including sustainability as part of their business.

The new Candidate membership model will offer businesses insight into what it means to be a full SAC member, and provide clarity on the expectations of members to help them better determine if their company’s sustainability goals align with those of the SAC and its global membership. It will create greater opportunities for companies to engage with the SAC and gain support on their sustainability journeys.

As a Candidate member, businesses will have access to the SAC membership community, the Higg Platform and all five Higg Index tools that together assess the social and environmental performance of the value chain and the environmental impacts of products, including the Higg Facility Environmental Module (FEM), Higg Facility Social & Labor Module (FSLM), Higg Brand & Retail Module (BRM), Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI), and Higg Product Module (PM).

All companies who express interest to become a Candidate member will be evaluated by the SAC on certain criteria including suitability, commitment, goals, and abilities. The new Candidate membership will allow companies access for up to two years, following which they will be required to transition into full membership at the SAC.

Andrew Martin, Executive Vice President at the SAC said: “We are delighted to introduce the Candidate membership model and for the opportunity to engage with more companies. We believe it presents a great opportunity to further expand the SAC’s reach within the apparel and footwear industry while also creating opportunities to expand our reach into adjacent sectors within the consumer goods industry to drive further progress and deliver greater impact. As a global convener of almost half the apparel and footwear industry, we believe the reach and diversity of our members is our most powerful lever for collective action and providing greater inclusivity for all sizes of businesses is critical if we are to move the industry forward.”

Erlinda Lee, Senior Manager, Global Membership Development at the SAC said: “We are excited to launch the Candidate membership model that offers a pathway to SAC membership for medium to large companies committed to positively impacting people and the planet. We recognize that not all businesses are at the same stage of the journey, and hope that through this membership model, more companies can better understand how they can introduce and implement initiatives to accelerate their sustainability journey.”

Indira Chauhan, Senior Ethical Manager at George@Asda said: “George at Asda is excited to join the SAC under their new Candidate model membership. This will give us a great opportunity to collaborate with other members and with the help of SAC’s Higg Index tools, it will enable us to further strengthen and drive sustainability improvements throughout our supply chain too.”

Michelle Herfeldt, Sustainability Manager, Tchibo said: “Tchibo is excited to join the SAC as the first Candidate member. In the journey towards net-zero we are at a time where the industry needs to increase efforts to bring down GHG emissions to reach the 1,5 °C target. The collection of primary and standardized data is essential to increase our efforts towards environmental challenges in our supply chains. Solutions need to be tailor-made and adapted to the specific and individual needs of our partners.

Knowing the majority of our suppliers are already using the SAC tools, we can seize the opportunity to connect with them and jointly implement measures that help build a sustainable, safer and environmentally-friendly production. The Candidate membership gives us the chance to be part of the community while at the same time have the flexibility to evaluate the tools’ applicability for our business before adapting them at full scale.”

To inquire about SAC membership, contact the SAC’s Membership Development team. For more information on the new Candidate membership and other membership types, please download our Membership Brochure.

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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, organizations 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 and competitors from across the sector, to develop a universal approach to measuring sustainability performance and founded the Sustainable Apparel Coalition.

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