Concerns regarding the Higg Index, which was developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), played out last week, culminating in the SAC suspending its consumer-facing transparency programme on 27 June.

Criticism from Norway’s advertising watchdog, amid claims the Higg Index is being used by brands in box-ticking, “misleading” environmental claims, are arguably a little harsh for the coalitions involved. These initiatives are founded on good intentions, and are trying to make things better, but of course claims of ‘greenwashing’ can’t be ignored, and if the Higg Index is seen to be hijacked for greenwashing purposes, then changes will need to be made. 

Meanwhile in the US, The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) is urging the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to push back certain elements of its proposal requiring climate-related company disclosures. The AAFA supports the premise of the new reporting emissions rules, however it fears that some companies may be left behind and disadvantaged. “Some companies are further along than others,” the organisation says, “and it is important to view climate change pre-competitively.” 

There has also been a spree of partnerships between suppliers and banks of late, with access to funding based on science-based environmental and social targets. Perhaps access to funding will in the end prove to be more persuasive to the industry in terms of driving sustainability than a few coalitions and initiatives pricking their collective conscience. 

With the debate over tariffs on Chinese imports still raging in the US, West African countries such as Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Togo are emerging as potential new apparel sourcing hubs.

Real progress could come from spreading the wealth and embracing true circularity in textile production. Ghana is reported to be the world’s second biggest importer of second-hand clothing, much of it deemed waste. However, new plans to use this post-consumer textile waste as feedstock for recycling projects, such as a yarn to garment pilot, could finally see real progress with not a tick-box in sight. 

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By GlobalData

SAC halts consumer programme on ‘misleading’ green claims concern 
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) has paused its consumer-facing transparency programme after backlash from Norway’s advertising watchdog which it claims is resulting in misleading environmental claims from brands. 

Sustainable Apparel Coalition exclusive: ‘Change only possible through collaboration’ 
Joyce Tsoi, director of Collective Action at the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) tells Just Style exclusively why collaboration is key to building a greener and more prosperous future. 

US apparel sector voices concern on proposed climate-related disclosures 
The AAFA is urging the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to push back certain elements of its proposal requiring climate-related company disclosures. 

PVH, HSBC team on sustainable supply chain finance programme 
HSBC Bank USA and apparel giant PVH Corp have launched what they say is the first sustainable supply chain finance programme tied to both environmental and social objectives, and based on suppliers’ sustainability ratings. 

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