The group working to reduce the environmental and social impacts of apparel and footwear production around the world has added labelling and RFID supplier Avery Dennison as its first "solution provider" member.

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition was formed by apparel and footwear brands, retailers and manufacturers including Adidas, Arvind Mills, Li & Fung, H&M Hennes & Mauritz and Wal-Mart, along with non-governmental organisations, academic experts and governmental agencies.

Its first project has been to create a universal Sustainability Index, setting a standard for apparel manufacturing that takes energy usage, fair labour practices, waste removal methods and water quality into account.

Designed as a business-to-business tool for internal decision-making, the Index will include supply chain-specific data to deliver a product footprint score. All of the members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition have agreed to support the collection of this data and make a commitment to developing more sustainable practices.

The results of the Index will be a resource for product designers, technical development teams, material suppliers, manufacturers and retail buyers. Currently in beta testing stage, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition expects to launch the Index for public use later this year.

Avery Dennison has developed sustainable solutions such as its GreenPrint product lifecycle analysis tool, which quantifies the impact of supply chain processes and packaging. Its products also include recycled hangtag fasteners, paperboard hangers and water-based inks and adhesives.