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Sustainable Apparel Coalition Introduces New Membership Level

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) debuted a new membership model for companies with revenue of more than $100 million, with the goal of advancing a more sustainable apparel and textile industry.

The Candidate membership will offer companies up to two years of access to SAC resources—including its community, the Higg Platform, and the five Higg Index tools that evaluate the performance of a company’s supply chain and the environmental impact of its products—while their candidacy is assessed. This model will give businesses insight into full SAC membership expectations, along with support as they continue working toward their sustainability objectives. Companies will be evaluated based on their goals, commitment and abilities as they work toward full membership.

SAC executive vice president Andrew Martin said the Candidate membership will allow the organization to engage with more businesses. “We believe it presents a great opportunity to further expand the SAC’s reach within the apparel and footwear industry while also creating opportunities to expand our reach into adjacent sectors within the consumer goods industry to drive further progress and deliver greater impact,” he said.

SAC brings together over 280 international brands, retailers manufacturers, NGOs, academics and industry associations, including sustainability expects and newcomers. “As a global convener of almost half the apparel and footwear industry, we believe the reach and diversity of our members is our most powerful lever for collective action and providing greater inclusivity for all sizes of businesses is critical if we are to move the industry forward,” he added.

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The membership model offers an accessible pathway to SAC membership for medium to large companies, Erlinda Lee, SAC senior manager of global membership development said. “We recognize that not all businesses are at the same stage of the journey, and hope that through this membership model, more companies can better understand how they can introduce and implement initiatives to accelerate their sustainability journey,” she added.

Germany’s Tchibo, which is known for its coffee but also rent’s children’s clothes, will join as the first Candidate member, driven by the ability to access SAC’s data and insights. “Solutions need to be tailor-made and adapted to the specific and individual needs of our partners,” Michelle Herfeldt, the company’s sustainability manager, said. “Knowing the majority of our suppliers are already using the SAC tools, we can seize the opportunity to connect with them and jointly implement measures that help build a sustainable, safer and environmentally friendly production.” The membership will allow Tchibo to become a part of the SAC community, while also having “the flexibility to evaluate the tools’ applicability for our business before adapting them at full scale,” she added.

Family apparel and accessories brand George at Asda, which is being investigated for greenwashing along with Boohoo and Asos, will also join as a founding Candidate member. “This will give us a great opportunity to collaborate with other members, and with the help of SAC’s Higg Index tools, it will enable us to further strengthen and drive sustainability improvements throughout our supply chain too,” said Indira Chauhan, senior ethical manager for the Walmart-owned company.