Outdoor Industry Association and Sustainable Apparel Coalition Partner to Ensure
Broad Adoption of Higg Index

Next evolution of partnership is formalized

(Boulder, CO and San Francisco, CA), June 6, 2016 – Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) have signed a new memorandum of understanding, signifying another step in their five-year-old partnership to drive environmental and social best practices in the global apparel, textile and footwear supply chain.


Shared objectives detailed in this third MOU include:

  • Ensure broad adoption of and alignment around the Higg Index as the “go-to” supply chain sustainability management tool for the companies in the industry sectors in which it applies, starting with apparel and footwear.
  • Avoid duplication of efforts among groups and serve as a model for other industries as a collaborative effort and catalyst for change.
  • See significant progress toward a fully networked/connected supply chain, sharing common environmental and social performance data.
  • Demonstrate reduction of adverse environmental and social impacts across global supply chains.

The new agreement includes specific Higg Index adoption targets set by OIA for its members, as well as a commitment from the SAC to provide OIA members with access to the Higg Index web tool through 2017 and beyond. (OIA is subsidizing small to medium enterprise members’ access to the tool in 2016 as part of its campaign to boost broader adoption of the Higg Index.) To date, 53 outdoor industry brands have Higg.org accounts, 43 Brand Modules are in progress or completed, and 21 Brand Modules have been posted.

“We are excited to embark on this next phase of partnership with SAC and continue demonstrating the outdoor industry’s sustainable business leadership. The time is now for the outdoor industry to ‘lean in’ to broad adoption of the Higg Index tools, which have significant roots in our industry,” said Beth Jensen, Director of Sustainable Business Innovation for OIA. “Widespread adoption of the Higg Index will allow us as an industry to begin tracking our collective supply chain impacts, allowing individual companies to benchmark themselves against the broader industry and helping OIA and the Sustainability Working Group make informed decisions about how to prioritize industry resources toward improvement.”

In 2007, several leading members of the outdoor industry recognized the need for a common language around what makes a product or brand “sustainable.” The OIA Sustainability Working Group was born, utilizing a pre-competitive, collaborative working group model; its first project was to lead the creation of the original “Eco Index” tool to assess supply chain impacts in the outdoor industry. The Eco Index was launched to the North American and European outdoor industry markets in summer 2010. In 2011, in partnership with OIA, the Eco Index was leveraged by the SAC as one of the foundational inputs into the next evolution of the assessment tool, now known as the Higg Index.

“This builds on years of partnership between Outdoor Industry Association and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. Outdoor Industry Association played a critical role in the collaborative building of the Higg Index and now we look forward to seeing OIA along with fellow SAC members lead on demonstrating meaningful sustainability improvement through the Higg Index,” said Jason Kibbey, CEO of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition.

The OIA Higg Index Adoption Campaign was highlighted at the SAC Annual Membership Meeting held in Copenhagen in early May of this year, and will also be a focus of the sustainability meetings and events at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, August 1-6, 2016 in Salt Lake City, UT, USA. Learn more about the Sustainability Insights Conference and Sustainability Working Group meetings at ORSM at outdoorindustry.org.

Outdoor Industry Association

Based in Boulder, CO, with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA unites and serves over 1,200 manufacturer, supplier, sales representative and retailer members through its focus on trade and recreation policy , sustainable business, market & consumer insights and industry trends. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353.


Sustainable Apparel Coalition

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition is an industry-wide group of over 175 leading apparel, footwear and home textile, brands, retailers, suppliers, affiliates (service providers & trade associations), nonprofits/NGOs, and academic institutions working to reduce the environmental and social impacts of products around the world. Through multi – stakeholder engagement, the Coalition seeks to lead the industry toward a shared vision of sustainability built upon a common approach for measuring and evaluating apparel and footwear product sustainability performance that spotlights priorities for action and opportunities for technological innovation. The Sustainable Apparel Coalition was incorporated as a 501c(6) nonprofit organization and launched the groundbreaking Higg Index suite of tools in 2011. For more information, visit apparelcoalition.org.


Media contacts:

Gareth Martins

Outdoor Industry Association

(303) 327-3539



Scott Miller

Sustainable Apparel Coalition

(917) 699-5301


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