Cone Denim just made a major stride in its journey to total transparency. The denim mill announced a new offering that makes it easier for its customers to determine the environmental impact of its products.
Using the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI), customers can now access Life Cycle Assessment and comparison data for details on specific materials used in Cone Denim fabrics. The mill developed custom materials in the MSI tool for its full Spring/Summer 2022 fabric collection, and is among the first to offer this type of accessible, verified transparency to its customers.
“Cone is a strong supporter of industry standardization and transparency in the sustainability and compliance areas,” said Steve Maggard, president of Cone Denim. “We continue to explore and advance tools and resources that align with our customers’ goals to design and produce sustainable apparel. I am excited by the many opportunities ahead to drive increased sustainability through meaningful collaborations across the textile and apparel industries.”
The Higg MSI is a resource used by sustainability analysts, designers and product developers to determine the sustainability of materials used in garment and footwear design, and is considered one of the most comprehensive tools for making informed materials choices—though it’s not without its shortcomings. The tool, launched by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) in 2011, recently fell under scrutiny by critics who questioned the accuracy of the platform’s cradle-to-gate methodology. In November, the SAC agreed to retire the aggregated single score within one year’s time to provide a more holistic view of a material’s environmental impact.
Cone Denim is a longtime champion of the Higg MSI as well as other tools in the Higg Index product suite, including the Higg Environmental Module (FEM), which provides insight on the environmental performance of individual facilities, and Higg Facility Social & Labor Module (FSLM), which promotes safe and fair social and labor conditions. Earlier this year, Cone Denim’s parent company Elevate Textiles formally joined the SAC to contribute data and resources to further support the Higg Index.
The new functionality is one part of the denim mill’s ongoing commitment to using more sustainable materials. In April, Elevate Textiles released its 2021 sustainability report highlighting that it has already reached 68 percent sustainably sourced cotton usage. By 2025, it aims to achieve 80 percent sustainably sourced cotton and 50 percent recycled polyester content.