September 17, 2020 SAN FRANCISCO — The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), ZDHC Foundation (ZDHC), Textile Exchange, and the Apparel Impact Institute (Aii) are today announcing new partnerships in order to accelerate impact and drive new efficiencies for the industry. Based on their core competencies and complementary efforts, the organizations are forming an alliance of resources and offerings for the global value chain. “COVID has been a very negative backdrop to so much industry news and it’s true that it has accelerated our views on the potential for transformational partnerships, but together we’ve been contemplating deeper integrations for years. The timing finally seems right,” explained Amina Razvi, SAC’s Executive Director.
The four organizations have documented their efforts with Letters of Intent clarifying their roles and commitments to cooperation in the following four areas:
Programs and Tools: the organizations will seek to connect complementary frameworks (like the Higg Facility Environmental Module and ZDHC’s Roadmap to Zero program, and the Higg Brand and Retailer Module and TE’s Corporate Fiber and Materials Benchmark), coordinate subject matter governance in the relevant content areas, and engage the industry together much more efficiently.
Impact Management and Funding: the organizations will seek to consolidate their efforts to benchmark impact improvements in key areas, prioritize the projects and programs that will most accelerate impact for the value chain, directly partner in strategic fundraising in support of these efforts, and collaborate to create an annual report of results.
Global Implementation: the organizations will seek to defragment efforts and establish global implementation as a shared industry resource, by co-investing in infrastructure, training, education, and regional access.
Administration and Infrastructure: the organizations will seek a substantial decrease in resource expenditure on operational matters by engaging in shared services and creating economies of scale with external service providers.
“Credit is due to the efforts through the years advocating for more effective partnerships, such as the recent work of the Fashion Conveners,” said James Schaffer, Managing Partner, of Schaffer&Combs, the strategy consultancy designing the agreements and facilitating the endeavor. “These four organizations are showing a lot of courage and service to the industry today, building on the professional relationships and trust they’ve developed. The vision of a much more effective ecosystem of impact is closer to reality. We’re very excited to keep pushing and deliver on the promise of these Letters of Intent.”
“Our ultimate objective is to increase efficiency near term to accelerate our collective impact,” said Frank Michel, Executive Director of ZDHC. “There are some very exciting points of complementarity possible, and I think we have the right initial organizations at the table to do that.” Lewis Perkins, President of Aii, added, “Ultimately, we see this alliance as an open resource for the industry’s sustainability initiatives, a platform for long-term, efficient industry engagement. COVID is a wake-up call. We have to continually innovate to preserve our work as a core industry investment.”
The organizations have also highlighted their commitment to resolve persistent barriers between areas of impact and tiers of the supply chain. La Rhea Pepper, Managing Director of Textile Exchange, commented, “For so long, the mainstream conversation has underemphasized the role of fiber production and textile manufacturing, not to mention what happens at the farm-level itself. We’re excited about what these new partnerships can mean for the industry driving holistic and scalable solutions.”
The organizations expect to release more detail about their collective efforts before year-end, and will announce engagement opportunities for the industry and other stakeholders in the weeks to come.