US-based Cone Denim has recently taken a giant step forward in its quest for total transparency. The denim mill has introduced a new service that makes it easier for consumers to assess the environmental effect of their products.
Customers can now access Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and comparative data for particular materials used in Cone Denim textiles using the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI). The mill created unique materials in the MSI tool for its whole Spring/Summer 2022 fabric range, making it one of the first to provide consumers with this level of accessible, verifiable transparency.
Steve Maggard, president of Cone Denim, said that in the areas of sustainability and compliance, Cone is a strong advocate of industry standardization and transparency. They continue to research and develop tools and resources that match their customers’ goals for designing and producing sustainable apparel. He is looking forward to the numerous opportunities ahead to enhance sustainability via meaningful collaboration across the textile and apparel industries.
The Higg MSI is a tool used by sustainability analysts, designers, and product developers to assess the sustainability of materials used in garment and footwear design. It is regarded as one of the most comprehensive tools for making informed materials choices—though it is not without flaws.
Critics recently questioned the accuracy of the platform’s cradle-to-gate approach, which was introduced by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) in 2011. The SAC agreed in November to phase out the aggregated single score within a year in order to offer a more comprehensive picture of a material’s environmental effect.
Cone Denim has long been a supporter of the Higg MSI and other Higg Index tools, such as the Higg Environmental Module (FEM), which provides information on individual facilities’ environmental performance, and the Higg Facility Social & Labour Module (FSLM), which promotes safe and fair social and labour conditions. Cone Denim’s parent business, Elevate Textiles, formally joined the SAC earlier this year to contribute data and resources to help the Higg Index.
The new feature is part of the denim mill’s continuous effort to employing more environmentally friendly materials. Elevate Textiles issued its 2021 sustainability report in April, stating that the company had already met a goal of using 68 % sustainably produced cotton. It intends to use 80 % sustainably produced cotton and 50 % recycled polyester by the year 2025.