Creating a Sustainable Apparel Index

Situation:

Many apparel companies share portions of their supply chains but lack a standard system for measuring environmental impacts.  Several influential companies believed that a single, standardized index would drive efficiency and innovation and be the most effective approach to lessen environmental impact and supply chain risks.

Our Role:

  • Worked with co-founders Walmart and Patagonia to convene and align recognized sustainability leaders behind a common purpose.
  • Managed the design, development, pilot test, and implementation of an industry-wide Index (Higg Index) to measure the sustainability impacts of apparel products.  
  • Aided in the development of a non-profit organization including incorporation, structure, governance, and initial staffing as well as providing overall program management support.

Results:

  • Formed a 40+ member collaborative multi-stakeholder coalition with over 40% of global market share.
  • Launched the Version 1 Apparel Index prototype scorecard for pilot testing with over 50 brands, retailers, and suppliers
  • The Index is already influencing capital investment decisions, changing behavior on tactical level.
    • A major retailer has integrated SAC’s facilities module into its supplier scorecard for all suppliers and products.
    • A major outdoor retailer was able to reduce material fabric waste and got opportunity to share best practices and continuous improvement.
    • Another company identified a lack of programs related to the “use” and “end of life” phases of its products and is beginning to enhance its focus on these areas and integrate these considerations into its business decisions.
  • The Higg Index is poised to expand to footwear and related product categories.

 

Read the full case study [pdf] written by the Center for Responsible Business at the University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

 

“Through their skills and passion for creating big change through industry collaboration, Blu Skye has played an essential role in the creation of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and development of the Apparel Sustainability Index.”

-Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia

 

“I continue to be impressed with Blu Skye’s passion, knowledge and commitment to drive the sustainability efforts of the SAC; their ability to facilitate such a diverse group of companies effectively and efficiently is World Class!!”

-Scott Lercel, Target