Germany’s functional textile company Sympatex Technologies has joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC). SAC has more than 150 global brands, retailers and manufacturers as its members, among them adidas, C&A, Gap, H&M, Nike, Puma, Target and VF Corporation.
Sympatex will use the SAC's sustainability measurement tool, the Higg Index, to drive environmental responsibility across its supply chain. The Higg index is an open source, indicator-based tool that allows suppliers, manufacturers, brands and retailers to evaluate materials, products, facilities and processes based on environmental and product design choices.
The Sympatex membrane production method uses a material made from polyether and polyester, involving no use of polytetrafluoroethylene or fluorocarbons that are often found in textile membrane materials, while the un-dyed membrane is bluesign certified as 100 per cent recyclable post-consumer.
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition is a trade organization comprising brands, retailers, manufacturers, government, and non-governmental organizations and academic experts, representing more than a third of the global apparel and footwear market. The coalition is working to reduce the environmental and social impact of apparel and footwear products around the world.
The Higg index is a suite of assessment tools that standardizes the measurement of the environmental and social impact of apparel and footwear products across the product lifecycle and throughout the value chain.
Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz from now on source fabrics only from mills it has inspected in Bangladesh. This is part of a program to improve working conditions in plants in the country.
H &M, which ranks second globally by sales to Spain’s Inditex, has extended its inspections from factories making its clothes to those supplying fabric and yarn. Its purchasing policies would benefit those sub-suppliers who measure up to its code of conduct. It will place more orders and book more material with those that take responsibility.
The program is about having a safe work environment and ensuring human rights with regards to remuneration and overtime and ensuring that there is no child labor. It is seen as a business tool to drive positive development and one that will make a difference for workers. The proportion of retailer’s clothes being made from fabric made by audited mills would rise to 50 per cent this year from 35 per cent last year. Unlike direct suppliers in the garment industry, most mills have never been exposed to demands or compliance standards from brands.
Poor working conditions in the textile industry were thrust into the limelight by the collapse in 2013 of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh in which more than 1,100 workers were killed.