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Collaboration & Impact

SAC Pilot Project Champions Smaller Apparel Businesses

Small brands often face unfair challenges in the global apparel industry. The Higg Index gives smaller brands and retailers the support they need to assess sustainability impacts efficiently.

A joint project between the SAC and the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) facilitates Higg Index use among European small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) brands. The project aims to provide a common language to apparel brands of all sizes to help them successfully measure sustainability performance and make meaningful improvements. Twenty-seven SME brands in nine European countries are participating in the first year of the project, which will end in 2017.

Sibbe Krol, program manager Apparel & Electronics at IDH The Sustainable Trade Initiative explains that collaboration is needed to successfully address systemic challenges and that a common language of sustainability measurement is integral to better industry performance.

This project shows how front-running SMEs have a crucial part to play in transforming our industry with participation from all stakeholders, complemented with the use of the Higg Index suite of tools.

Sibbe Krol, program manager Apparel & Electronics, IDH

The project has eased some of the strain often felt by small brands in the large sphere of the apparel industry by offering tools that help to improve performance as well as presenting new possibilities for collaboration and industry-wide support.

There are many challenges in being part of the textile industry. Together with the rest of the industry, we want to show the way to more sustainable fashion.We hope that the Higg Index will be one of the tools to help us get there.

Elin Larsson, Sustainability Director,pilot participant Filippa K

Many industry stakeholders have supported the pilot project, which will conclude in December 2017. The Association of Swedish Fashion Brands, Danish Fashion Institute, Dansk Fashion & Textile, European Outdoor Group, Modint, and Outdoor Sports Valley have all supported the effort. The results of the pilot project may also help to shape a scalable standardized system of measuring sustainability impacts developed by European governments, with a focus on SMEs. The SAC SME pilot project participants have encouraged European national initiatives to talk to the SAC and discuss harmonization.