JCPenney is partnering with the Apparel Impact Institute (Aii)

JCPenney is partnering with the Apparel Impact Institute (Aii)

JCPenney has partnered with the Apparel Impact Institute (Aii) to improve its supply chain sustainability performance related to energy, water, and chemicals in 2021 and beyond.

Aii is a strategic partner of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), an industry collaboration of leading brands and retailers. Its Clean by Design programme helps SAC members like JCPenney, Target, Gap, and Levi Strauss provide strategic suppliers with subsidised environmental engineering support to improve energy efficiency and transition to more sustainable fuel sources, such as biomass and solar energy. Programme costs are shared between Aii, the company, and the supplier, highlighting the collaboration and collective investment needed to create a positive impact and move the apparel and textile industry forward.

"We are pleased to see JCPenney take this leadership position by recognising the serious environmental impacts of wet processing activities in tier 2 production by joining our Clean by Design programme," said Lewis Perkins, president, Apparel Impact Institute. "As the world seeks to build back with better solutions, JCPenney is 'leaning in' to this opportunity to improve existing facilities in the ways that will have the most positive impact for both sustainability and production cost."

JCPenney began participating in the Clean by Design programme in 2015 with select Chinese suppliers and is now collaborating with suppliers Daysun, Masood, Nishat, and Soorty to enrol four additional facilities in the programme in Pakistan and Vietnam.  

The selected mill and laundry facilities are strategic production partners for JCPenney private brands located in high water stress communities and have demonstrated a commitment to improving their sustainability performance. These types of tier 2 facilities often represent the largest emissions hotspots, making them prime candidates for Aii's Clean by Design programme.

Enrollment in Aii's Clean by Design programming will continue on a yearly basis.

The new ownership group of JCPenney launched a search for a new CEO last week to replace Jill Soltau who stepped down from the role at the end of last month.

Research published at the end of last year pointed to wet processing as the weak link in fashion supply chains, and offered recommendations for fashion brands to move towards more sustainable practices.

A new 'Wet Processing Guidebook' has also been launched to help clothing and textile companies to reduce the use of water, energy and harmful chemicals during the wet processing stage.