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Apparel industry goes green
Mar '11
A group of leading apparel and footwear brands, retailers and manufacturers has launched the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and announced their plans to adopt the work of the outdoor industry Eco Index.

Outdoor Industry Association, a developer of the Eco Index, joined the Coalition as a founding member along with global companies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academic experts, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The OIA Eco Working Group will work together with the Coalition to reduce the environmental and social impacts of apparel and footwear products sold around the world by:

• Leading the industry toward a shared vision of sustainability built on an industry-wide index for measuring and evaluating apparel and footwear product sustainability;
• Spotlighting promising technological innovations; and
• Identifying opportunities for improving current social and environmental practices throughout the supply chain by collaborating to establish consistent expectations for brands, retailers and manufacturers.

To accomplish this, the Coalition will draw on the work of different efforts to measure and track apparel sustainability including the outdoor industry Eco Index and Nike's “Environmental Apparel Design” tools. The groups have been working together informally since early 2010, and will begin beta-testing the initial version of an apparel and footwear sustainability tool in 2011.

Founding members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition are based in North America, Asia, Europe and the U.K. They include adidas, Arvind Mills, C&A, Duke University, Environmental Defense Fund, Esprit, Esquel, Gap Inc., H&M, HanesBrands, Intradeco, JC Penney, Lenzing, Levi Strauss & Co., Li & Fung, Marks & Spencer, Mountain Equipment Co-op, New Balance, Nike, Nordstrom, Otto Group, Outdoor Industry Association, Patagonia, Pentland Brands, REI, TAL Apparel, Target, Timberland, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Verité, VF Corp, and Walmart.

“OIA is proud of the outdoor industry's foundational contribution of the Eco Index to the work of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. We are gratified to be a member of this larger coalition that shares our values and desire to reduce the environmental and social impacts of apparel and footwear products sold around the world. The outdoor industry is committed to the development of a single, common index for apparel and footwear."

" This effort reinforces our belief that global, industry-wide collaboration can lead to advances in sustainability that no one company, region or sector can achieve on its own,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of OIA.

“The largest and most influential corporations in apparel and footwear, together with leading environmental and social organizations, have voluntarily engaged in this collective effort because they recognize the opportunity to get in front of the growing need to measure and manage the environmentaland social impacts of their products,” said Rick Ridgeway, Coalition Chair and Vice President of Environmental Programs, Patagonia. “More importantly, they recognize the threat to the planet and its inhabitants by continuing the model of 'business as usual.'”

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