San Francisco, CA & Amsterdam, Netherlands – February 04 2022 – The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), global multi-stakeholder nonprofit alliance promoting sustainable practices for the consumer goods industry is pleased to announce it has entered into a partnership with the Initiative for Global Solidarity (IGS) to coordinate a project to boost industry wide convergence around both environmental and social and labor assessment methodologies in the garment and footwear sector in collaboration with the Apparel Impact Institute (Aii), ZDHC, Implementation Hub and the Social & Labor Convergence Program (SLCP). The funding of approximately 1 million Euro is geared towards accelerating social and environmental supply chain due diligence, and targets suppliers in selected global value chains, brands and retailers as well as workers at supplier factories.
“We are excited to receive this funding and truly see it as an opportunity to move the needle further, making even bigger strides towards achieving industry-wide collaboration and transformation. As an organization united by a shared vision to move the consumer goods industry into one that gives more than it takes- to the people and the planet, we see this project as an opportunity to further our efforts and drive real and positive change by creating synergies with our partners and aligning around sustainability goals, tools, and programs that will help us to achieve these goals,” said Andrew Martin, Vice President Membership and Stakeholder Engagement, at the SAC.
With the aim of creating and expanding the use of open data standards for social and environmental performance, this project will have the potential to make a significant impact towards transparency and greater sustainability in the textile and garment industry and beyond. As a result, a crucial success factor for the project will be the widest possible adoption of the data standards among producers, auditors, sustainability organisations, and brands. The project will employ three key principles that will inform the work:
- Active stakeholder engagement: Involving stakeholders throughout the design, development and rollout of the data models will be a priority. This guarantees a wide adoption of the standards across the industry, and thus ensures comparability and a focus on improvement.
- Openness and transparency: In order to ensure the widest possible adoption of the project’s outcomes, all assessment frameworks and data standards developed by this project will be openly and freely available and published under open licenses.
- A focus on improvement: Assessment frameworks serve as an enabling tool to understand strengths and weaknesses. As such, the data standards are developed in a way that they encourage improvement by making change visible.
Due to the different level of progress in the environmental and social modules, there will be two sub-projects, which will focus on human and labor rights and environmental impacts respectively. The first subproject will be implemented by the SLCP with the expected output of seeing further convergence of the Converged Assessment Framework (CAF), and its pilot in a second industry. Its objective will be to scale use of the openly accessible assessment framework and data sharing model, and for it to be widely accepted to track and report producers’ compliance with human and labor rights. The second sub-project will be implemented by the Alliance consisting of SAC, ZDHC, Apparel Impact Institute and Textile Exchange with the expected output to be the development of a Consolidated Environmental Assessment Framework.
“From the beginning our mission has been to implement a Converged Assessment Framework (CAF) that supports stakeholders’ efforts to improve working conditions in global supply chains. Through the GIZ support, we aim to accelerate further convergence and begin sector expansion, leading to increased acceptance and use of the CAF in the context of supply chain due diligence” said Janet Mensink, SLCP Executive Director.
The Initiative for Global Solidarity (IGS) emphasizes the shared responsibility of purchasing and producing companies to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how they address their actual and potential adverse impacts, creating a more sustainable industry. “Measuring and reporting on progress is a core element of the due diligence process. IGS is therefore happy to be part of this collaboration. By advancing the convergence of environmental and social assessment methodologies we can free up necessary capacities to achieve measurable progress on the ground,” said Thorsten Metz, head of the Initiative for Global Solidarity.
The SAC received the funding after submitting a project in partnership with the Apparel Impact Institute (Aii), SLCP and ZDHC, Implementation Hub to create standardized open assessment frameworks and data sharing models. It sees the project as an opportunity to further its work with its Apparel Alliance partners, as part of its commitment to partnering with intent and radical collaboration to transform the industry for exponential impact during its annual meeting last year. The Alliance was established in November 2020 as a result of the SAC, ZDHC, Aii, and Textile Exchange joining forces to provide industry wide solutions to reach the ambitious and essential GHG targets.
“I am excited that the Apparel Impact Institute is part of this project and we look forward to working closely with our partners in the Alliance to accelerate impact for the sector. Together, we will provide an efficient ecosystem for engagement amongst ourselves and other leading organizations which will accelerate the industry on its path to achieving shared environmental goals. At Aii, we recognize this as a unique opportunity to create meaningful change and we look forward to getting started”, said Kurt Kipka, Vice President Apparel Impact Institute.
As part of our commitment to protecting the planet by reducing the industry’s chemical footprint, ZDHC is proud to be part of this project. With the help of our Implementation Hub team, we look forward to seeing the successful rollout of the project, and subsequent impact on the people and planet at large,” said Frank Michel, Executive Director, ZDHC.
About the Sustainable Apparel Coalition
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is a global multi-stakeholder nonprofit alliance for the consumer goods industry. It’s made up of more than 250 leading apparel, footwear and textile, brands, retailers, suppliers, service providers, trade associations, nonprofits, NGOs and academic institutions working to reduce environmental impact and promote social justice throughout the global value chain. Leveraging the Higg Index suite of tools for the standardized measurement of value chain sustainability, the SAC is working to transform business for exponential impact.
The SAC was incorporated as a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization and launched the groundbreaking Higg Index suite of tools in 2011. In May 2019, the SAC spun-off the Higg Index technology platform to Higg, which delivers tools and services that help consumer goods businesses accelerate transformation for a more sustainable future. For more information, visit www.apparelcoalition.org.
About the Initiative for Global Solidarity
The Initiative for Global Solidarity (IGS) is a program implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). IGS addresses purchasing and producing companies to collaborate as partners, share responsibility for compliance with human rights and environmental due diligence, and gain greater awareness of these issues. In doing so, they contribute to more sustainable and resilient supply chains.
IGS supports companies in pilot countries and in Europe by advising them on topics such as transparency, data management and complaints mechanisms, networking them with one another and other stakeholders, and promoting dialogue throughout the sector. Bangladesh, Viet Nam, Cambodia and Serbia are pilot countries, with a focus on the textile and electronics sectors. Learn more: Initiative for Global Solidarity
The Social & Labor Convergence Program (SLCP) is a multi-stakeholder initiative with the mission to implement a Converged Assessment Framework that will eliminate audit fatigue and support stakeholders’ efforts to improve working conditions in global supply chains. SLCP has brought together diverse stakeholders to create and implement the Converged Assessment Framework (CAF) to provide high-quality, comparable data on working conditions that can be used by all industry stakeholders. The CAF increases transparency in supply chains, reduces the need for social audits, and ultimately enables users to redeploy resources into improving working conditions. Find out more here.
About Apparel Impact Institute (Aii)
Aii identifies, funds, scales and measures proven quality solutions to accelerate positive impact in the fashion industry. Aii looks for scalable solutions and best practices that can be applied to the entire value chain. By improving upon the environmental footprint of the current industrial model the key to unlocking the future will involve new innovations of materials, manufacturing and business models. Learn more: www.apparelimpact.org.
ZDHC enables brands and retailers in the textile, apparel, and footwear industries to implement sustainable chemical management best practices across the value chain.
Through collaborative engagement, standard setting, and implementation, ZDHC is advancing the industry towards zero discharge of hazardous chemicals. The ZDHC Foundation oversees implementation of the Roadmap to Zero Program and is a global multi-stakeholder initiative of more than 160 contributors within the fashion and footwear industry.
Their core competency within the Apparel Alliance is sustainable chemical management and related impact areas to deliver programs, tools, and data needed to support transparency, performance, and impact in the apparel and footwear industry.
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Media Contact, Sustainable Apparel Coalition
SAC, Public Relations Analyst