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Published: 02 February 2021
4 min read
Aii Updates
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SAN FRANCISCO (Feb. 2, 2021) — The Apparel Impact Institute, a leading organization for driving scalable solutions for the apparel and footwear industry, announced a new program based in Italy that will establish a platform for Italian manufacturers to coordinate, fund and scale environmental programs with measurable impact. Two luxury fashion brands, Burberry and Stella McCartney, as well as the Global Luxury Group, Kering, have joined forces with Aii to lead the effort.

Aii will also partner with an Italian NGO and local experts to facilitate positive environmental impact in Italy’s supply chain by bringing together brands, manufacturers, philanthropy and nonprofits to work in collaboration, sharing Aii’s programming framework and best practices.

Aii identifies, funds, scales and measures the apparel and footwear industry’s proven environmental impact solutions. The organization plays a critical role as the technical clearing house for partner brands, manufacturers and philanthropic donors, validating and aggregating proven environmental initiatives. Its focus areas are energy, water and chemistry, all of which will be the focus in Italy.

“This partnership is important to the industry as it allows us to continue bringing Aii’s proven and future methodologies to Italy’s luxury apparel and footwear producers,” said Lewis Perkins, president, Aii. “Now is a critical moment to include environmental stewardship in the industry’s efforts to build back better through this work. We are anxious to begin implementing with our partners.”

A legacy partner of Aii’s Clean by Design program, Stella McCartney comes to this collaboration with a proven history of implementing this type of environmental effort. The brand played a leading role in bringing environmental programs to various countries, including Italy, as long ago as 2013, and continues those efforts with this new partnership.

“At Burberry, we believe empowering suppliers is fundamental to building a more sustainable future for our industry,” Pam Batty, vice president, corporate responsibility at Burberry. “From equipping our Italian suppliers in transitioning to renewable energy to helping our wool producers restore farmland in Australia, we know it takes targeted action and cross-industry collaboration to make a meaningful systemic impact. This is why we are delighted to support Aii alongside fellow brand partners – it takes shared ambition to pursue our collective mission to make fashion’s supply chains more sustainable.” 

Géraldine Vallejo, sustainability programme director at Kering, stated, “When we launched our Environmental Profit & Loss account (EP&L), we realized that over 90% of our impact was outside our own operations. Since then, and to reach our target of a 40% EP&L reduction throughout all our supply chain by 2025, we have been engaging persistently with our suppliers on environmental performance. This is how we started implementing Clean by Design five years ago in Italy, a program with positive economical and environmental outcomes, that has already been adopted by more than 35 of our suppliers. It is now time for Kering to scale it up by joining forces with Aii and other companies to weave even further sustainable practices locally.”

Aii’s goals for the Italy project include:

  • Prioritize the issues: Clarify the high-impact environmental issues for manufacturers and establish a system to drive continuous improvement.
  • Unlock collective action opportunities: Maximize shared stakeholder benefit to increase the pool of influence, expertise and funding available.
  • Drive solution awareness: Elevate the level of localized expertise to establish and sustain a market of best practice for environmental improvement.

“When we first conceptualized this project, we knew there would be nuances adapting our model for a new market and challenges in launching during uncertain economic times, but that didn’t stop us from moving ahead,” said Kurt Kipka, vice president of programs, Aii. “This is an incredible group of leaders who are equally committed to achieving their environmental aspirations. The next phase of this work is recruiting 10-15 manufacturers to participate in the project and inviting more luxury brands to join in our efforts. Ultimately, we want to make sure we’re establishing a viable program for Italian producers long term.”

Despite the uncertainty of the times, Burberry, Kering and Stella McCartney have continued to double down in working with Aii to prepare for the deployment of Aii’s Italy Program, which launched at the end of 2020 with a prioritized group of Italian manufacturers.

About Apparel Impact Institute (Aii)

Aii identifies, funds, scales and measures proven quality solutions to accelerate positive impact in the fashion industry. Aii looks for scalable solutions and best practices that can be applied to the entire value chain. By improving upon the environmental footprint of the current industrial model the key to unlocking the future will involve new innovations of materials, manufacturing and business models. Learn more: