Tailored tools for sustainable product development in the apparel industry
For the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), a global alliance of apparel, footwear and home textile companies, PRé developed three tools for sustainable product development. The tools focus on material sustainability, ecodesign and data gathering.
Like many industries, the apparel, footwear, and home textile sector is now mostly global, which means they deal with international supply chains and complex assessments of product sustainability. Global alliances can do much good by creating and sharing sector-specific tools and databases. The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is a global alliance of leading apparel, footwear, and home textile companies that focuses on providing their members with the tools and data necessary to manage supply chain and product sustainability. SAC has developed a suite of tools known as the Higg Index, aimed at helping their member companies and consumers to understand the environmental and social impacts of making and selling apparel products and services.
SAC asked PRé to create a number of additional tools for sustainable product development, to allow members and other interested parties to focus on product and material sustainability in their ecodesign approach. For SAC, PRé built three tools: the Material Sustainability Index, the Design and Development Module and the Data Contributor. With these tools, SAC members and other interested parties have more accessible ways to focus on product and material sustainability in their ecodesign approach, including working efficiently with quality data sources.
Material Sustainability Index
The first of the tools is the Material Sustainability Index (MSI), a database of textile materials and processing information that is based on life cycle data. The MSI focuses on characterizing the impacts of raw materials production and manufacturing using a standardized index scoring algorithm. The tool allows users to easily access life cycle information about industry-average materials, and to create and score their own custom materials. The MSI is based on the best life cycle assessment (LCA) data currently available and scores each material using a broad range of impact categories. The tool is transparent and traceable, adding a high degree of credibility.
Design and Development Module
The second tool is the Design and Development Module (DDM). This tool focuses on product developers and designers, and allows them to score individual products and product families using the Higg Index methodologies. The tool is designed to be intuitive and easy to use, as well as robust and scalable.
The DDM also includes a number of benchmarking features that allow users to compare their product lines to other lines or seasons in their product portfolio, or against industry averages.
The Data Contributor is a tool that allows individual companies or industries to submit data to the MSI. The Data Contributor contains a portal for data submission and functionality for data review. The tool is configured to support a robust review process, ensuring that data quality is maintained throughout the submission and approval processes.
- Collaboration and transparency. During the development of each of these tools, PRé worked closely with SAC staff, member organizations and other external organizations for specifications and design. This multi-stakeholder approach ensures that the tools are accessible, transparent, and credible.
- Working smoothly with quality data. Thanks to the implementation of user-friendly interface features for data submission, it’s easy to add new industry data to the database. This makes the data gathering process, very efficient. Because the data management processes are centrally managed and reviewed, the data quality is kept high and robust.
- Science-based sustainable product development. The tools are based on life cycle assessment data and methodologies, and are designed to assist organizations in gathering, analyzing, and using supply chain data to support sustainable product development.