TAL Apparel

  • Manufacturers

Read why TAL Apparel uses Higg Index tools and believes in equal partnership.

TAL Apparel logo
Workers in a Tal Apparel factory assembling an order, wearing blue shirts with orange collars.
February 07, 2024

TAL Apparel

“The more people asking for the same tool, the better. The same language, the convergence – it’s incredibly important. Our strategic mills are definitely also using the Higg Index suite of tools and then hopefully they push it up as well. ”

— Delman Lee, Vice Chair, TAL Apparel

TAL Apparel is one manufacturer using the Higg Index suite of tools across its factory footprint. For the Vietnam-based manufacturer, all eight factories use the tools for advancing social and environmental performance. Sustainability is one vital value driver in TAL’s business operations, according to vice chair Delman Lee.

In a January interview with the SAC, Lee explained why TAL (a founding SAC member) continues to see value in membership including upholding principles like equal partnership and representation.

“As a manufacturer, we don’t participate in many multi-stakeholder initiatives because we’re a small team, and there are a lot of multi-stakeholder initiatives. There are two reasons. Even right at the outset, the SAC’s approach to driving change is impressive. On the technical side, even 12 or 14 years ago, they introduced the idea of facility, environmental performance, product performance, and brand performance. There are multi-dimensions of sustainability which is a technical aspect that was pretty comprehensive at the time. And then the second reason is they involve partners across the supply chain. Manufacturers are actually at those tables. There are manufacturers talking about how to make the change.”

He argued many multi-stakeholder initiatives today are brand-led and dominated. “Manufacturers are told to do something or rarely consulted. A lot of the social and environmental issues are in the plant, so it’s always good to involve the people doing the change in the discussion about change,” he added.

Though the SAC, too, has faced challenges in engaging its wide array of stakeholders, Lee said intentional partnership is at least foundational.

A second-term SAC board member, Lee explained the importance of equal partnership. “We call this an equal partnership principle which has been instilled in SAC from the beginning, and that’s why you see a third of the board comprises brands and retailers, a third is manufacturers, and a third is affiliates. It’s in the governance model. That’s why it’s made so much progress and why it appeals to manufacturers to be part of this coalition.”

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