Flexibility sustainability and change are the key

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Flexibility, sustainability and change are the key words for growth and progress. Industries that simply maintain production in terms of the routine scheduling and orders will soon vanish from the competitive global market. In the near future, the big winners will be manufacturers who are willing to move swiftly and de fi nitively when faced with innovative opportunities. This trend will be centered on the mindset of the consumer and the consumer s awareness, thus leading to solid demand and increasing pro fi ts in the coming decades. 2.1 Background The fashion industry is a popular industry among consumers, but it has a huge effect on many environmental, social and governance concerns. The textile industry pre- pares the base materials and the fashion and apparel industry converts these materials to suit the desires and needs of consumers; both industries are responsible for high utilization of energy, water, chemicals and resources from cotton to petroleum. The poor onsite conditions of the textile factories and working environment have caused many problems for the workers and operators, forming the basis for social reforms. In addition, the precarious supply chain upon which many manufacturers rely to develop apparels can cause many problems for merchandisers and retailers. The challenges faced by apparel manufacturers and retailers, along with incidents such as the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh and the crisis in Cambodia, led the clothing industry giants and nonpro fi t organizations to launch an association called the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), which aims to reduce the environmental and social impacts of the apparel industry around the world (Kayne 2011 ). The SAC is a trade organization with brands, retailers, manufacturers, govern- ment and nongovernment organizations and academics as members, who together represent more than one third of the global apparel and footwear market. The SAC The Sustainable Apparel Coalition and the Higg Index 29
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was founded by a team of sustainability leaders from the global apparel and footwear industries, with the aim of addressing the current social and environmental challenges in the industry (Fig. 1 ). This organization seeks to highlight sustain- ability through a multistakeholder arrangement by evaluating and measuring the sustainability of apparel and footwear products, thereby giving rise to technological innovations and actions. This organization has more than doubled its membership and revenue in the 2 years since its inception. (SAC 2012a ). 2.2 Mainframe of Sustainable Apparel Coalition The organizational structure of SAC consists of a board of directors, consisting of eminent industrialists and professionals from various organizations around the globe, headed by a board chair. The members of the board of directors have a rich background in industry and sustainability issues and they form the mainframe of the coalition (SAC 2012b ). The board is supported by a team who works toward the goal of SAC. The team members include an executive director, vice president,
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