The Apparel Impact Institute (AII), an environmental accelerator for the apparel and footwear industries, is preparing to launch a raft of new products later this year that will support the industry’s work around supply chain mapping.
The AII is a collaboration of brands, manufacturers and industry stakeholders that have come together to select, fund, and scale high-impact projects that dramatically and measurably improve the sustainability outcomes of the apparel and footwear industry. The focus is on water, energy, chemistry and materials.
It was co-founded by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), with significant financial support from Target and additional funding from PVH Corp, Gap Inc and HSBC Holdings.
The AII currently has more than 100 facilities involved in programmes in countries including China, Taiwan, India and Vietnam, with plans to go deeper with a Stage Two of its Clean by Design programme offering more expertise and help facilities look at goal setting. This will be available for mainland China, Taiwan and India.
As part of some of the partnerships it has around the world, the AII says it has additional locations under consideration. They include South Korea, Bangladesh, Italy and locations in both North and South America.
In November 2020, the AII is also planning some new launches.
“As we’ve heard from brands and facilities, there is existing and growing demand for some new support in the work they’re doing around supply chain mapping so there are three new offerings we’re bringing to the market,” Briant LaPres, programmes director said on a recent AII webinar to discuss the organisation’s carbon and water reduction programmes. “Carbon hotspot mapping, carbon reduction opportunity mapping, and carbon self-assessment.”
Carbon hotspot mapping and carbon reduction opportunity mapping will essentially be an analysis leveraging Higg FEM data, where the AII can look through the information that exists, do a scrub of the data to ensure consistency, and then map a brand’s entire supply chain based on energy consumption and water consumption, coupled with those hotspot opportunities.
“For example, a facility that might be a high energy user with a high carbon footprint could rise to the top,” explains LaPres. “A new report will help the brand understand opportunities for reduction, whether it’s energy efficiency or renewables.”
The third offering, a carbon self assessment, is an opportunity for a supplier that is not leveraging the Higg FEM, to gain access to its own energy information.
“These resources, from a simple questionnaire to a very robust assessment tool, will help brands and suppliers achieve carbon targets in highlighting opportunities to then get involved and engaged in Apparel Impact Institute programming. This is an early stage engagement tool,” LaPres says.
In addition to the three launches, the AII is preparing to introduce ‘co-nomination’ and ‘mill connection.’
“During the recruitment phase, a lot of times we’ll get brands list facilities they would like to recruit and there is a lot of over-duplication. We now have the opportunity to allow brands to co-nominate these facilities during that recruitment phase and this will allow the brands to collectively work together and split the brand programme fee. We can do this [with] up to five brands,” LaPres explains.
“The second offering is mill connection. We have experienced a lot of times where a brand will nominate a facility that is either currently in programme or has finished our Clean by Design programme and would like access to the facilities information. We are now able to provide the final information and action plan, with facility approval. One caveat is that if the facility is still in programme, we will make that final data available once that facility completes the programme.”
The official launch of all AII’s new programming will be 18 November.