Our Origins

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

2009

Walmart and Patagonia write a joint letter inviting CEOs of leading global companies to come together to develop an index that would measure the environmental impact of their products.

2010

Competitors from the apparel industry come together to begin collaborative work on the Higg Index. The SAC is formed.

2011

The SAC releases the first version of the Higg Index.

2012

Nike donates the Nike Considered Index to the SAC. It becomes the Materials Sustainability Index, now one of the tools in the Higg Index suite.

2016

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

2017

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

2020
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looking ahead

The SAC aims for full Higg Index transparency.

Watch Video

Vice President of Environmental Initiatives at Patagonia and a member of the SAC board of directors, Rick Ridgeway discusses the SAC’s origins and efforts.

An Unlikely Origin

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition was born from

an unconventional meeting of the minds.

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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.