New MoU between OIA and Sustainable Apparel Coalition

New MoU between OIA and Sustainable Apparel Coalition

Outdoor Industry Association®(OIA) and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) have signed a new memorandum of understanding, signifying another step in their five-year-old partnership to drive environmental and social best practices in the global apparel, textile and footwear supply chain. Shared objectives detailed in this third MOU include:

–        Ensure broad adoption of and alignment around the Higg Index as the “go-to” supply chain sustainability management tool for the companies in the industry sectors in which it applies, starting with apparel and footwear.

–        Avoid duplication of efforts among groups and serve as a model for other industries as a collaborative effort and catalyst for change.

–         See significant progress toward a fully networked/connected supply chain, sharing common environmental and social performance data.

–         Demonstrate reduction of adverse environmental and social impacts across global supply chains.

 Next evolution of partnership is formalised

The new agreement includes specific Higg Index adoption targets set by OIA for its members, as well as a commitment from the SAC to provide OIA members with access to the Higg Index web tool through 2017 and beyond. (OIA is subsidizing small to medium enterprise members’ access to the tool in 2016 as part of its campaign to boost broader adoption of the Higg Index.) To date, 53 outdoor industry brands have accounts, 43 Brand Modules are in progress or completed, and 21 Brand Modules have been posted.

“We are excited to embark on this next phase of partnership with SAC and continue demonstrating the outdoor industry’s sustainable business leadership.  The time is now for the outdoor industry to ‘lean in’ to broad adoption of the Higg Index tools, which have significant roots in our industry,” said Beth Jensen, Director of Sustainable Business Innovation for OIA. “Widespread adoption of the Higg Index will allow us as an industry to begin tracking our collective supply chain impacts, allowing individual companies to benchmark themselves against the broader industry and helping OIA and the Sustainability Working Group make informed decisions about how to prioritize industry resources toward improvement.”

In 2007, several leading members of the outdoor industry recognized the need for a common language around what makes a product or brand “sustainable.” The OIA Sustainability Working Group was born, utilizing a pre-competitive, collaborative working group model; its first project was to lead the creation of the original “Eco Index” tool to assess supply chain impacts in the outdoor industry. The Eco Index was launched to the North American and European outdoor industry markets in summer 2010.  In 2011, in partnership with OIA, the Eco Index was leveraged by the SAC as one of the foundation inputs into the next evolution of the assessment tool, now known as the Higg Index.

“This builds on years of partnership between Outdoor Industry Association and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. Outdoor Industry Association played a critical role in the collaborative building of the Higg Index and now we look forward to seeing OIA along with fellow SAC members lead on demonstrating meaningful sustainability improvement through the Higg Index,” said Jason Kibbey, CEO of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition.

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