Rooted in bold ideas and the need for action, the Coalition was founded by some of the industry’s biggest brand names alongside visionary manufacturers and retailers

Behind the Scenes at the Sustainable Apparel Coalition

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.

Our Timeline
  • Exploratory meeting between initial 12 members leads to an agreement to develop a sustainability Index for the industry
  • SAC is officially established in April
  • Work begins on Index prototype
  • Members approve the pilot version of the Higg Index 1.0
  • Members approve the pilot version of the EcoIndex (what would later become the Higg Index) after thorough testing in company and in supply chain
  • SAC incorporates as a 501(c)(6) organization and hires its first executive director
  • SAC creates name and trademarks Higg Index
  • SAC publicly releases the Higg Index in July, including environmental, brand, product and facilities modules
  • SAC is honored as a C.K. Prahalad Award recipient for leadership in sustainability
  • Membership doubles from 2011
  • SAC releases Higg Index 2.0 in November to membership and unveils the web tool platform
  • SAC launches beta version of its Social and Labor modules for brands and facilities
  • SAC launches footwear assessment
  • SAC completes Product Category Rules for t-shirts, trousers and jackets
  • SAC grows to more than 100 members
  • Membership expands to include home textiles
  • SAC opens European office in Amsterdam
  • SAC grows to more than 150 members
  • Nearly 2,000 facilities posted their modules on
  • SAC launches Product Environmental Footprint pilot with the European Commission
  • SAC Builds European Team
  • SAC Finalizes Design and Development Tool
  • SAC launches partnership with NRDC to help scale Clean by Design to improve Higg facilities scores
  • Number of facilities posted on on track for
    100% growth
  • SAC grows to 150+ members
  • 5,000+ Higg Index accounts exist
  • 8,000+ Higg Index Modules are posted since launch
  • NRDC Clean by Design program launches
  • Higg Index Design & Development Module launch
  • Higg Material Sustainability Index launch
  • Higg Index Verification launch
  • SAC membership exceeds 200 members

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.