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Outdoor Industry Association® Applauds Launch of Sustainable Apparel Coalition Indexing Tool

For Immediate Release

Avery Stonich
Outdoor Industry Association
303-327-3511
astonich@outdoorindustry.org

Boulder, Colorado — Jul 26, 2012

Outdoor Industry Association® Applauds Launch of Sustainable Apparel Coalition Indexing Tool
Outdoor Industry Celebrates the History and Future of Its Substantial Contributions to the Higg Index

Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) applauds the launch of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) Higg Index, a tool for measuring product sustainability across the industry value chain. The OIA Sustainability Working Group (SWG) was instrumental in pioneering the foundational indexing tool upon which the Higg Index is based.

The Higg Index was developed by the SAC  in partnership with the OIA SWG and is based on established evaluation tools — including the OIA Eco Index and Nike’s Materials Assessment Tool — to better measure the comprehensive environmental and social impacts of apparel, footwear and gear. Through use of the Higg Index, companies can identify opportunities to reduce impacts and improve long-term sustainability throughout their supply chain.

“For more than five years, numerous outdoor industry companies have been collaborating to identify and improve the environmental and social impacts of their product,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president and CEO of OIA. “The Higg Index is the next evolution of our industry’s work, and we are thrilled that the SAC adopted our Eco Index and took it to the next level.”

Designed to be a transparent and open-source tool for comprehensive measurement of products, the current version of the Higg Index focuses on measuring desired environmental outcomes in the following categories: water use and quality, energy and greenhouse gas, waste, chemicals and toxicity. The SAC is working continuously to refine the tool further, and a future iteration of the Higg Index, slated for release in 2013, will also incorporate key social and labor metrics. 

 “The Higg Index marks the most thorough and complete attempt at measuring environmental performance data from material sourcing through end of life,” said Sustainable Apparel Coalition Executive Director Jason Kibbey. “We are confident it will have a positive impact on product sustainability over time, and become a model for how industries can collaborate in making a positive impact on value chain performance.”

OIA encourages all its member companies to begin using the Higg Index immediately as an internal learning tool to highlight ways to reduce environmental impacts, increase efficiencies, and identify opportunities for innovation within their supply chains. While OIA and the SAC recognize the need and value of a consumer-facing rating for products, both agree this is a long-term aspiration and have not set a timetable for developing a consumer-facing label based on the Higg Index.

The Higg Index may be downloaded from the Sustainable Apparel Coalition website, at apparelcoalition.org

The OIA Sustainability Working Group will continue to contribute to the evolution of the Higg Index for apparel. In addition, the OIA SWG is focusing work on four other key areas:

  1. Index work – building indexes (using the Higg Index model) for footwear and equipment
  2. Responsible chemicals management
  3. Materials traceability in the supply chain, starting with a focus on goose down
  4. Social responsibility and fair labor

About the Outdoor Industry Association Sustainability Working Group
The Outdoor Industry Association Sustainability Working Group (OIA SWG) is a volunteer collaboration among more than 250 outdoor industry brands, retailers and suppliers working to identify and improve the environmental and social impacts of their shared global supply chains. The OIA SWG is currently focusing on four key areas: 1) index development for apparel, footwear and equipment, 2) responsible chemicals management, 3) materials traceability throughout the supply chain, and 4) social responsibility and fair labor issues. Through the OIA SWG, the outdoor industry is demonstrating that it is possible to effect meaningful, scalable change through pre-competitive, business-driven collaboration. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org/sustainability.

About Outdoor Industry Association
Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA supports the growth and success of more than 4,000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives, and retailers of outdoor recreation apparel, footwear, equipment and services. For more information, go to outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353.

About the Higg Index
The Higg Index was developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition in a unique collaborative process among a diversity of stakeholders, including apparel and footwear brands, retailers, suppliers, chemical manufacturers, academics, government and non-governmental organizations, to better measure the comprehensive environmental and social impacts of apparel and footwear products. Through use of the Index, companies can identify opportunities to reduce impacts and improve long-term sustainability throughout their supply chain. A transparent and open-source tool designed for comprehensive measurement of apparel and footwear products, the Higg Index focuses on measuring desired environmental and social outcomes in the following categories: water use and quality; energy and greenhouse gas; waste; chemicals and toxicity.
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