Patagonia helped gather the top leaders in the apparel industry, non-governmental organizations, academia and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for an inaugural meeting in 2010 to determine the feasibility of working together to create an index of social and environmental performance. We are happy to report that today there are 49 members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, which represent nearly a third of all clothing and footwear sold on the planet. The entire apparel supply chain is coming together to create one measuring stick of where we are, and one road map to show us where we need to go.
The Coalition’s aim: “An apparel industry that produces no unnecessary environmental harm and has a positive impact on the people and communities associated with its activities.” The collaborative index in development is open source, available to everyone. It is the work of companies that otherwise vigorously compete against one another. Everyone understands that reducing the impact on the planet is too important for any single company to pursue alone. Every measurement we make can uncover ways to reduce waste and environmental risk throughout the supply chains.
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s vision and purpose are based on a set of shared beliefs that:
- The environmental and social challenges around the global apparel supply system affect the entire industry.
- These challenges reflect systemic issues which no individual company can solve on their own.
- Pre-competitive collaboration can accelerate improvement in environmental and social performance for the industry as a whole and reduce cost for individual companies.
- This collaboration enables individual companies to focus more resources on product and process innovation.
- Credible, practical, and universal standards and tools for defining and measuring environmental and social performance support the individual interests of all stakeholders.