The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) has re-branded as Cascale, to mark a new era in driving “equitable and restorative” business practices among over 300 stakeholders worldwide to build on collective action for a sustainable future.

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) says the rebranding signifies a strategic shift towards broader industry transformation. The name ‘Cascale’ itself embodies this transition, with ‘CAS’ representing the reversed acronym of SAC, ‘CA’ signifying collective action, and ‘SCALE’ referring to scaled ambitions.

The logo represents the organisation’s three-member categories, partners, and external stakeholders, all crucial in advancing its unified strategy announced in September 2023.

At the heart of Cascale’s evolution is a commitment to transparency and responsibility, resonated by co-founder Rick Ridgeway, who was the former vice president of sustainability and public engagement at Patagonia.

He emphasised the organisation’s enduring spirit of collaboration and its dedication to addressing the broader sustainability challenges across consumer goods beyond apparel and footwear.

Tamar Hoek, Cascale’s board chair commented: “Over the years, this organisation has consistently demonstrated commitment to living out its values and embracing change for collective good. This is the next evolution towards impact.”

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Cascale will continue to act on the belief that “partnership is the new leadership.” Through collaborations with organisations like the Apparel Alliance (Apparel Impact Institute, Textile Exchange, ZDHC Foundation, and Cascale), Social & Labor Convergence Program, Policy Hub, Fair Wear Foundation, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH programmes, and many others, Cascale aims to catalyse impact at scale.

Krishna Manda, Cascale’s vice chair, echoed this sentiment and added: “Just as we’ve emphasised before, no single player can drive this alone. Cascale’s impactful work has set the stage for a transformative journey. We are thrilled to continue supporting the organisation in its next phase of development, building on the revised strategic plan. This is not just a transition; it’s a shared evolution towards a healthier and greener future for everyone.”

SAC’s journey of collaboration and impact

Since its inception in 2009 by Walmart and Patagonia, the SAC has been instrumental in convening stakeholders and developing tools to measure sustainability in the apparel industry. The launch of the Higg Index suite of tools in 2010 enabled textile, apparel and footwear businesses to assess and improve their social and environmental impact.

Over 24,000 users are said to rely on the Higg Index annually, its adoption has expanded beyond apparel and footwear into adjacent product categories, necessitating a more inclusive name. Thus, Cascale emerges as a reflection of its expanded mission to scale collective action across the consumer goods sector.

As of January 2024, 10% of Cascale’s members serve or operate in product categories adjacent to apparel and footwear. “At Dunelm, we remain as ambitious as ever about being a company that focuses on growing sustainably,” said Christina Downend, head of climate change at Dunelm, a home furnishings retailer and Cascale candidate member. “This has meant combining long-term thinking with shorter-term, achievable, and measurable goals.

“The Cascale global community and Higg Index tools have helped us on that journey, not least as we develop initiatives such as our Better Manufacturing programme, where we are supporting and engaging our suppliers on their transitions to net zero. Our goals cannot be met without collaboration.”

Cascale’s commitment to driving impact is evident through its three foundational pillars: Combat Climate Change, Decent Work for All, and Nature Positive Future. These pillars form the basis of a unified strategy aimed at guiding industry transformation through collaborative programmes.

One such programme, the Decarbonisation Programme launched in 2022, aims to achieve a 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

By 2023, Cascale mandated its corporate members to establish science-based targets (SBTs) aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. At the end of that year, with the introduction of the Manufacturer Climate Action Program (MCAP), over 50% of corporate members already committed to setting science-based targets.

Following its spin-off from the SAC in 2019, Worldly, the exclusive licensee of the Higg Index tools, has grown to become a leading business impact intelligence platform. “Stakeholders across the value chain prioritise sustainability performance aimed at industry-wide harmonisation, reduction of duplicative efforts, and radical collaboration for tool, programme, and policy adoption,” said Carolina van Loenen, director of stakeholder engagement at Cascale.

“Our new name and branding reflect our expanded ability to increase our community’s collective impact.”

Keep an eye on this week where you can catch our exclusive interview with Andrew Martin, vice president of the SAC, who discusses the spate of changes the organisation has undergone recently and what its future ambitions are.