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By
Fibre2Fashion
Published
Oct 25, 2017
Reading time
2 minutes
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New institute launched to improve sustainability impact

By
Fibre2Fashion
Published
Oct 25, 2017

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, Target, PVH, Gap and others have launched Apparel Impact Institute (AII), with a goal to galvanise around collective action in the apparel and footwear industry and work with brands and manufacturers to select, fund, and scale projects that improve the sustainability impact of the sector.



Despite widespread awareness of the environmental hazards within the apparel and footwear industry, few of the pilot projects designed to reduce impacts are operating at the scale needed to meet the critical environmental and social outcomes brands and consumers are seeking.

The AII will identify promising projects that are working in limited geography, for example, or are targeting a narrow problem yet show potential for broader application. By applying the appropriate resources, the AII will help bring them to scale more quickly.

"Through the Higg Index, we've seen incredible industry collaboration when it comes to standardising sustainability measurements," said Jason Kibbey, CEO of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition.

"It's critical that we also take collective action to put that data to work. The Apparel Impact Institute allows us to act jointly on scaling practices that have a positive impact on people, planet, and the whole industry, while simultaneously helping brands and manufacturers improve their Higg Index scores," he added.

The AII's first project will focus on Mill Improvement, one of the most environmentally impactful segments of clothing production. Specifically, the AII has selected the Natural Resources Defense Council's Clean by Design programme, which reduces energy, water and chemical use to scale mill improvement across the industry and across geographies.

Later this year, the AII will focus on how to support and expand mill improvement initiatives globally.

"At Target, we know that our decisions have the potential to impact millions of people around the globe, from the people who create our products to the families they support and the communities where they live, and we're committed to leveraging Target's scale for good," said Ivanka Mamic, senior director of responsible sourcing, Target.

The AII came together using seed funding from the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) and Target, and with additional financial support from PVH, Gap and HSBC Holdings.

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is providing industry support and access to Higg Index data. The parties have engaged San Francisco management consultancy Schaffer&Combs for project management support of the Apparel Impact Institute's early stage activities. 

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