Cascale: Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s New Strategy for Industry Circulatory, Transparency

Person shopping, looking through a clothing rack

(Credit: Cascale)

by | Feb 27, 2024

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The Sustainable Apparel Coalition, now renamed “Cascale,” has announced its new impact strategy, aiming to create a circular consumer goods industry rooted in combating climate change, decent working conditions for all workers, and a nature-positive outlook.

The coalition was first established in 2009 with the goal to develop a standardized approach to sustainability measurement within the apparel industry. Patagonia and Walmart led efforts to create the Higg Index as a measurement tool within the apparel, footwear, and consumer goods sectors. More than 24,000 users now benefit from insights from the Higg Index, and the coalition maintains members from over 300 retailers, brands, manufacturers, governments, and more, including representation from 36 countries.

Cascale has now released its Evolution for Impact strategy, outlining its plan to encourage the consumer goods industry to give more back to the planet than it uses. Included in the strategy is its 2030 Decarbonization Program, which requires corporate members to set Science-Based Targets and commit to a minimum of 45% emissions reduction by 2030.

The strategy also emphasizes the organization’s extended engagement with a changing business landscape — one defined by partnership-based innovations and circular operations. Cascale is also welcoming new members within the home furnishings, sporting and outdoor goods, as well as luggage and bags industries. The coalition plans to improve its own disclosures, reflecting its promotion of transparency in the industry at large.

“In the spirit of transparency, we are measuring success through tool and program adoption, member engagement, and member commitments, among other factors,” said Cascale in a recent statement. “We support programs through peer-to-peer learning, community sharing, SBT-certification training sessions, Higg Index training sessions, the Manufacturer Climate Action Program, and incoming strategic partnerships.”

Fashion Industry Addresses Waste, Emissions Impact Through Collaboration

Cascale’s strengthened commitments and emphasis on circularity reflect broader trends within the apparel and consumer goods industry.

The textile industry accounts for 10% of global emissions and continues to generate growing amounts of waste due to the prevalence of fast fashion and a general lack of textile recycling efforts. Instead, unsold products are often destroyed to avoid recycling costs, causing additional environmental damage.

However, the industry has also been found to maintain considerable potential for improvement. In a recent analysis, the non-profit organization Fashion for Good identified that 74% of low-value, post-consumer textiles were readily available for recycling within six studied European countries. TextileGenesis has also launched two consortia to improve footwear and leather supply chain tracking, transparency being another key piece of improving sustainability impact of the industry.

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