Reduce your impact. Vote with your dollars. Do no harm. Leave it better. Be the change.
But how? There are so many ways to be a positive force of change, to be part of the groundswell fighting to save our home planet. We can compost and recycle, repair a ski jacket instead of trashing it and sending it to a landfill. We can drive a used or electric vehicle, support organic farmers and adopt a diet heavy in sustainable foods. The list goes on and on. What about the adage, “vote with your dollars”? Upon closer inspection, things get a little tricky for companies when considering the entire history of a technical product like a ski jacket, compared to how your vegetables were grown or where your meat comes from.
It became clear that there needed to be a self-assessment standard and tool for companies to understand and place a score on their social and environmental footprint from cradle to grave, or inception and manufacturing of a product to its end-of-life outcome. Can the product be recycled or repaired? Are the ingredients toxic to our environment during the manufacturing stage or once a product ends up in a landfill? Afterall, as consumers, the sum of our purchasing choices represents an important track record, for better or worse, to help drive business growth, and therefore busines impact on planet earth. And so the question arose: how do companies measure, score and score their brand and product’s sustainability with the hope that they continue to steer it in the positive direction, and therefore offer the planet and consumers a more eco-friendly and sustainability product?
In 2009, two unlikely allies presented a landscape changing idea. Patagonia and Walmart, both billion-dollar (USD) companies from seemingly opposite worlds came together to form the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, “a nonprofit industry association dedicated to collective solutions for reducing the environmental and social footprint of the apparel and footwear industries. A core focus of the SAC has been the development of the Higg Index, a suite of tools for the standardized measurement of supply chain sustainability.”
One of the pillars of this effort was to establish a simple and straightforward measurement system that could be applied to virtually any company or brand so that not only could they understand where they stood in terms of sustainability but also identify aspects of their business that were good and others that perhaps needed improvement. With a metric in place, it became possible, internally, for a company to understand exactly what aspect of any given business needed attention and to what degree. And furthermore, with an established index and coalition of brands and companies from across the globe, it became possible for resources and technology to be shared so that other companies might benefit from one another, and further reduce their impact. In essence, the effort to reduce our impact and increase sustainability in the business sector became a team effort with common benchmarks, accountability and transparency.
Norrøna is a proud member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and uses the Higg Index to better impact our planet and strive to be more sustainable year after year.
Afterall, without nature, there is no us.