MIT’s SHINE initiative aligns with SAC’s three pillars: combating climate change, decent work for all, and a nature-positive future, explained SAC’s CEO Amina Razvi.

MIT SHINE enhances the scientific foundations of net positive assessments and covers various levels including products, activities, companies, economic sectors, individuals, and groups.

“Net Positive reflects the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s strategic goal of transforming the industry into one that gives more than it takes to people and the planet,” continued Razvi.

The research centre employs life cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies to quantitatively evaluate footprints, providing a basis for estimating the positive impact of innovative products, materials, activities, and processes that enhance efficiency, increase benefits, and minimise waste and adverse effects.

Gregory Norris, a research scientist and MIT SHINE director acknowledged the conceptual simplicity of Net Positive and highlighted the complex challenge of rigorously evaluating both the potential good and harm done by apparel: “It’s a challenge we are devoted to alongside the SAC. We look forward to working with the SAC and accessing the deep well of data presented by the Higg Index suite of tools.”

The SAC is said to represent around half of the apparel and textile industry in 36 countries. The coalition facilitates a common approach to measuring sustainability through the Higg Index, a suite of tools based on LCA data.

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The tools assess social and environmental impacts, ranging from materials in products to production processes and brand practices. The continuous evolution of the Higg Index aims to provide users with the most up-to-date and accurate data against relevant industry standards, fostering sustainable decision-making across the industry.

Jeremy Lardeau, vice president of Higg Index added: “Initiatives like these help bring the latest academic and scientific developments to the industry in innovative and sometimes disruptive ways, and we look forward to the exciting opportunities for our tools and the value chain impacts they can help drive.”

Last week (15 November) SAC announced Razvi would step down as CEO on 29 December 2023 as part of the organisation’s plan to expand into adjacent product categories.