We continue to advocate for a system-wide approach to tackling sustainability challenges within the apparel and footwear industry because we believe that no single company or organization can solve today’s toughest sustainability challenges alone.
One challenge is the variety of sustainable performance measurement methodologies, data collection tools and audit methods in use in our industry. We believe standardized assessment tools will pave the way for more accurate measurement and benchmarking to drive collaboration and progress.
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), with its broad membership of more than 250 leading apparel, footwear and home textile brands, retailers, suppliers, affiliates and academic institutions, is an ideal collaboration platform to set universal performance measurement standards.
The Coalition, through its Higg Index suite of online assessment tools, seeks to standardize the measurement of environmental and social impacts of apparel, footwear and home textiles products. The various modules of the Higg Index are built upon a common approach for holistically and consistently measuring and evaluating brand, product and supply chain sustainability performance.
These industry standards and tools will enable our suppliers to more quickly raise the social and environmental performance of their facilities while also aligning with regulatory bodies. Building on our collaboration with the SAC, we are sharing the Materials Sustainability Index industry-wide.
In 2012, we updated the SAC’s Higg Facility Environment Module 3.0 (FEM). The FEM is a self-assessment tool that helps determine the environmental performance of a facility, benchmark it against peers, and communicate the results. The annual assessments can be verified by SAC-approved, on-site assessors.
We will continue to use tools such as FEM analytics to inform our decisions and ensure we’re only working with the most sustainable suppliers.
Nike is a signatory of the Social Labor Convergence Program (SLCP), a pioneering initiative that seeks to develop a simple, unified and effective industry-wide way to assess labor, health and safety conditions in factories, with the goal of replacing current proprietary audit tools used by individual companies. This would reduce the number of audits, increase industry efficiency, reduce audit-related costs and allow participating organizations to invest resources previously designated for compliance audits into the improvement of social and labor conditions. It would also be a step in the direction of enabling a more collaborative approach to address risks and opportunities in the industry.
It is also based on a model of supplier ownership which aligns with Nike’s approach to sustainable and consistent performance. Nike has been actively involved in supporting the development of this tool and verification methodology as well as piloting this approach in our supply chain.