Sustainable Apparel Coalition Sharpens Focus on Climate, Decent Work, and Nature in Updated Strategy

  • Strategic Plan
Three photos in columns of wind mills, a girl in a fabric factory and green leaves
September 19, 2023

New York – September 19, 2023: Announced during New York Climate Week, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is pleased to announce an evolution of its strategy, one that amplifies and builds upon its already strong base. As the world continues to confront mounting challenges like environmental degradation, social injustice, and economic volatility, the SAC is to now sharpen its focus on three foundational pillars: combating climate change, ensuring decent work for all, and shaping a nature-positive future.

The Three Pillars
Building upon its decade-long commitment to sustainability, the SAC’s sharpened focus aims to create a meaningful, measurable impact on the industry’s most urgent issues. Each pillar has specific, targeted initiatives:

  • Combating Climate Change: The SAC is concentrating its resources on building robust capabilities, developing data systems, and refining target-setting mechanisms that support brand and manufacturer decarbonization efforts, focused on supply chain emission hotspots. A notable example is the Decarbonization Program launched last year, which aims for a 45% emissions reduction by 2030.
  • Decent Work for All: The SAC work here will focus on enabling the adoption of effective foundational management systems across the vast manufacturing base, while also advancing the adoption of more responsible brand purchasing practices.
  • Nature-Positive Future: The SAC is committed to advancing circular product design and development practices, fortified by sound foundational environmental management systems for manufacturers and their facilities.

The Power of Data
The SAC’s accumulation of industry data over the years has not only granted a panoramic view of the industry’s state but also insights into areas ripe for transformation. Recognizing the potential, the SAC is ushering in a new era by:

  • Driving Insights: Moving beyond just tool development, the SAC is harnessing the data to glean insights that inform actionable strategies.
  • Mapping Impact Pathways: Shifting from mere performance snapshots, the SAC now uses its data to map out clear pathways to tangible, lasting impact.
  • Revamping Verification: The verification process is evolving from a traditional audit approach to a comprehensive journey of performance improvement.
  • Facilitating Collaboration: The data serves as a foundation to create conditions that foster effective collaboration, especially in areas demanding collective action.

Coupled with the scale and reach of the SAC’s membership, this rejuvenated approach to data transforms potential into impactful reality. Through strategic partnerships and a culture of collaboration, the SAC is exceptionally positioned to drive substantive, industry-wide change.

Accountability Through Industry Tools
A key example of the SAC’s ongoing evolution, is the soon-to-be-released Higg FEM 4.0. Launching in November 2023, the revamped tool epitomizes the SAC’s commitment to responsive, industry-driven solutions and the evolution of its work. Developed in close collaboration with the SAC’s extensive network of manufacturers and brands, this update sharpens the tool’s relevance and effectiveness.

Benefits and Impacts of Higg FEM 4.0

  • Data Precision: Improved data quality, enabling more accurate environmental assessments.
  • Industry Alignment: Compliance with GHG Protocol and ZDHC Roadmap to Zero standards allows for precise Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions calculations, facilitating seamless Scope 3 reporting for brands and retailers.
  • Expanded Scope: Broader coverage of critical environmental issues, from groundwater to soil contamination.
  • User-Centric Design: Streamlined question sets and advanced platform features make the tool more intuitive and informative.
  • Audit Efficiency: The update significantly reduces the need for duplicate audits, a crucial advantage for manufacturers.

The Higg FEM 4.0, part of the industry-leading Higg Index suite of tools, positions the SAC and its members at the forefront of industry-wide environmental accountability, delivering a more focused, relevant, and efficient tool for measuring sustainability.

CEO Statement
Amina Razvi, CEO of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, said, “We stand at a crossroads. We can either remain passive participants or become catalysts for profound, industry-wide change. This isn’t just the SAC’s journey; it’s a collective endeavor. Your involvement is the accelerator for our shared impact. We’re not merely ticking boxes; we’re drafting the blueprint for sustainable industries worldwide.”


– ENDS –

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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