The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

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Apparel Industry Forms Association to Address Sustainability

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition, which includes Cotton Incorporated as a member, is a trade association representing more than a third of the global apparel and footwear industries, formed to address current social and environmental challenges to the industry. Last summer, it unveiled the Higg Index, a tool to measure sustainability. It focuses on water use and quality, energy and greenhouse gas, waste, chemicals and toxicity.

Target, which has had numerous high/low fast fashion collaborations, adopted the Higg Index within parts of its supply chain. Upon the Higg Index’s debut, Target’s Scott Lercel, director of social responsibility and sustainability, said, “This tool allows our teams to make better decisions, improve our supply chain and, most importantly, reduce our impact on the global environment.”

Inditex Group, the parent company of Zara stores, has a strategic environmental plan that aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 10% in 2015, and by 20% in 2020 when compared to 2005. It also intends to promote eco-friendly alternatives in the development of new products and ancillary materials.

All of these corporate initiatives are significant. Because even though just 33% of consumers are even likely to seek out environmentally friendly clothes, 69% would be bothered if they found out an apparel item they purchased was not environmentally friendly, according to the Environment Survey. And 40% of consumers say they would blame the manufacturer if they purchased apparel and then found out it was produced in a non-environmentally-friendly way.