Our Origins

The challenges facing the apparel industry require collective action on a global scale.


Walmart and Patagonia invite CEOs of leading global companies
to come together to develop an index to measure the environmental impact of their products.


Companies from across the apparel industry come together
to begin collaborative work on a standardized approach to sustainability measurement, which would become the Higg Index.


The SAC is incorporated as a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization.

Jason Kibbey is appointed as the SAC’s first Executive Director.


Nike donates the Nike Materials Sustainability Indexto the SAC, which becomes the Higg Materials Sustainability Index, one of the core tools in the Higg Index.

The SAC releases the first version of the Higg Facility Environmental Module to inform manufacturers, brands, and retailers about the environmental performance of individual facilities.

The SAC releases the first Higg Brand Module and shortly after, a separate Retail Module as a spreadsheet, both designed to measure the social and environmental performance of companies.


The SAC opens an office in Amsterdam.


The SAC begins convening stakeholders from across the industry to align around one common tool for social audits. A public statement, supported by 33 leading organizations, marks the start of the Social & Labor Convergence Project (SLCP).


The SAC continues to grow, representing apparel, footwear, and textile industry members with combined annual apparel and footwear revenues exceeding $500 billion.

The SAC releases an updated Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI), which measures the environmental impacts of material production using life cycle assessment data, and the Higg Design and Development Module (DDM), which empowers designers and product developers to make informed sustainable choices as part of their design process.


More than 10,000 customers around the world use the Higg Index.

The Apparel Impact Institute (Aii) is spun out of the SAC in partnership with the Sustainable Trade Initiative, Gap Inc., PVH, Arvind, and Target Corporation to accelerate impact.


The SAC incorporates the SLCP Converged Assessment Framework as the foundation of the The SAC and Higg release an updated version of the Higg Brand & Retail Module.

Higg Facility Social & Labor Module to improve global working conditions.

The SAC spins out Higg, a public benefit technology company developing software, tools, and services built upon the Higg Index methodology.

In collaboration with Global Fashion Agenda and the Federation of the
European Sporting Goods Industry, SAC launches the Policy Hub – Circularity for Apparel & Footwear.

Amina Razvi is appointed as the SAC’s new Executive Director.

The SAC opens an office in Hong Kong.


The SAC and Higg release an updated version of the Higg Brand & Retail Module.

The SAC and Higg release an updated version of the Higg Materials
Sustainability Index

The SAC and Higg launch the first edition of the Higg Product
, a new tool that measures the environmental impacts of finished products. This replaced the qualitative assessment of the Higg DDM with a tool that delivers quantitative impact results.

The SAC, Higg, and the Social & Labor Convergence Program launch a scored
version of the Higg Facility Social & Labor Module to standardize facility auditing and reduce audit fatigue.



The SAC publicly launches its new strategic plan and membership requirements.

The SAC's Origins

Apparel, footwear, and textile production takes place at hundreds of thousands of factories globally. These facilities play a key role in the overall sustainability of the industry.

An Unlikely Origin

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition was born from a dynamic and unconventional meeting of the minds.

In 2009, Walmart, America’s biggest retailer, and Patagonia, one of the world’s most progressive brands, came together with a radical mission: Collect peers and competitors from across the apparel, footwear, and textile sector and, together, develop a universal approach to measuring sustainability performance.

The SAC’s Guiding Principles

Build on the best of existing work

Instead of starting with a blank page, the new coalition began by adapting an “Eco-Index” that had been developed over several years by the Outdoor Industry Association, whose members include Patagonia, REI, and Timberland. Similarly, they relied on data from Nike, which proved invaluable.

Don’t let perfect get in the way of good enough

The group decided to make progress through rapid prototyping: push forward, test ideas, revamp them, test them again, but don’t lose momentum.

Discuss, then decide.
Don’t await agreement on every detail:

If principled or paramount objectives arise, these issues are addressed. Otherwise, the Coalition moves forward.

Become a member of the SAC

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