Global non-profit alliance Cascale, previously known as the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) has announced its 2024 Policy Priorities which revolve around three foundational impact goals: combating climate change, ensuring decent work for all, and shaping a nature-positive future. The Cascale 2024 Policy Priorities directly stem from these goals and include eight identified areas for global policymakers:

  1. Harmonising global regulatory frameworks – To achieve global change, comparability is crucial. Harmonising global legislation is ideal, but national and regional specificities must be considered. Recognising industry initiatives, global standards, and certifications, while strengthening national enforcement are essential steps towards climate change, decent work, and a nature-positive future.
  2. Fostering collaborative partnerships – Collaboration between all actors within the supply chain is needed to tackle the most pressing societal and environmental challenges. From policymakers to manufacturers, brands and retailers to consumers, partnerships are key to promoting better understanding between stakeholders and co-create solutions that drive rapid progress at scale.
  3. Driving change through data collection – Common reporting standards across regions are crucial for businesses to understand their climate, social, and environmental impacts, enabling effective mitigation strategies and meeting their responsibilities.
  4. Promoting low-carbon tech and a sustainable, just, and fair energy transition – Combating climate change requires science-based emissions reduction and transition to renewable energy, eliminating coal-powered power and promoting energy efficiency. Innovative approaches like green bonds and trade cooperation can accelerate the adoption of low-carbon solutions.
  5. Promoting responsible business and purchasing practices – Companies must navigate complex global supply chains, support building capacities for sharing reliable information, and adopt responsible purchasing practices to mitigate environmental and social impacts with the support of due diligence requirements.
  6. Streamlining circular design – Designing out the environmental impact of a product is critical to moving towards a more circular system. As such, through incentivised circular design practices brands, retailers, and manufacturers can make sustainable products become the norm.
  7. Establishing a common framework for green claims – Consumers and businesses need a level playing field when it comes to understanding and making environmental claims, respectively. To incentivise the industry to work towards minimising its impact on nature, harmonised legislation with a common, comparable, science-based methodology for assessing environmental claims is needed.
  8. Harmonising waste mitigation efforts – Across the globe, a common approach is needed to establish clear waste categorisation rules to enable designers and manufacturers to make circular and sustainable choices. In doing so, waste generation can be mitigated, and valuable secondary resources can be fed back into the system.

A central theme across Cascale’s 2024 Policy Priorities is the importance of data-driven solutions and collaborative partnerships between policymakers, businesses, and civil society. The non-profit advocates for a balanced approach that recognises the need for global standards while acknowledging regional nuances.

Elisabeth von Reitzenstein, senior director of public affairs at Cascale, emphasised the crucial role of collective action in addressing mounting environmental and social challenges. She stated: “Through these policy priorities, we call on policymakers to work hand-in-hand with industry stakeholders to create a level playing field and foster innovation that benefits both people and the planet.”

With key elections looming in countries like India, Pakistan, the US, the UK, and within the European Parliament, Cascale believes 2024 presents a unique opportunity to shape policy and influence decision-making.

The non-profit recognises this significance and aims to articulate its global policy priorities to policymakers worldwide, with the goal of advancing a more sustainable consumer goods industry.

The 2024 Policy Priorities were developed collaboratively with Cascale’s Public Affairs Strategic Council, comprising public affairs specialists from brands, manufacturers, NGOs, and trade associations across the globe.

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On the European Union level, Cascale collaborates with the Policy Hub, an initiative uniting the apparel and footwear industry to propose policies accelerating circular practices. This collaboration ensures alignment of policy recommendations and synergy in advocacy efforts.

The Policy Hub’s “Policy Recommendations for the 2024-2029 EU Mandate” serves as the EU-specific policy papers for Cascale. Additionally, Cascale plans to collaborate further with its global Public Affairs Strategic Council members to draft region-specific policy recommendations for the Asia-Pacific and US regions.

Partnering closely with key allies like Worldly, the exclusive platform provider of the Higg Index suite of tools, alongside other external stakeholders and policymakers, Cascale aims to empower its members to “navigate emerging requirements effectively.”

“Together, we’re determined to drive positive, lasting change within the consumer goods industry, forging a path toward a more sustainable and equitable future for all,” said Cascale.

Earlier this month (2 April),  Cascale and the non-profit multi-stakeholder initiative Fair Wear Foundation partnered to expand and scale the systemic change needed to address human and labour rights challenges in the apparel sector.