Member-wide Collaboration: Harnessing the Power of Many

Sharing best practices allows members to implement sustainability strategies that are already tried-and-tested by their peers, saving considerable time, money and resources. Through the SAC, some of the world’s most recognized apparel brands have exchanged information on their successful sustainability practices in design, production and distribution, while manufacturers have shared new technologies and contacts. This cost-effective sharing can be especially beneficial to small and medium-sized businesses that also use the SAC to source supply chain partners with exceptional credentials.

Joining forces can make manufacturer assessments easier to fulfill. The SAC’s Adoption Service Packages coordinate assessment requests from multiple brands and retailers to the same manufacturing facilities; the facilities are then trained in using the Higg Index to fulfill these requests. This helps streamline the assessment process, frees manufacturers of “assessment fatigue,” and results in more successful adoption of sustainability practices.

Collaboration also helps to achieve swifter and more efficient improvements in manufacturing facilities, something that serves the sustainability requirements of manufacturers and the brand and retailer customers they serve. The NRDC’s Clean by Design initiative is a pilot project where SAC apparel brands team up to improve energy use and wastewater and chemical management in multiple fabric mills in Suzhou, China. This is achieved through co-investment and with the assistance of NGO Coalition members.


And through the Coalition’s Collective Impact Projects, peers and competitors work closely together to drive progress in low-performing areas of the Higg Index—not only innovating new best practices for their businesses, but raising the sustainability bar for all. In 2014, several of the world’s largest apparel brands including Nike, Adidas, Puma and REI collaborated on Collective Impact Projects to improve product end-of-use practices. They collectively funded research into innovative recycling technologies—typically an area of great competition. These Coalition members are not only using the research to improve their own technologies, they are also making it freely available for public use.

Ready to join the SAC?

We are building the future of the apparel, footwear, and home textiles industry, and we welcome you to join us.