Sustainability research consultancy GlobeScan and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition(SAC) have partnered on a study to develop communication guidelines and materials for engaging consumers on the Higg Index – a holistic suite of tools for measuring sustainability performance across the textile industry value chain.
The Higg Index is the SAC's central tool for realizing the organization's vision of an apparel, footwear and textile industry that produces no unnecessary environmental harm and has a positive impact on the people and communities associated with its activities.
Developed by the coalition of members, it is a suite of tools that enables brands, retailers, and facilities of all sizes – at every stage in their sustainability journey – to accurately measure and score a company or product's sustainability performance.
The Higg Index delivers a holistic overview that empowers businesses to make meaningful improvements that protect the wellbeing of factory workers, local communities and the environment.
GlobeScan will work with the SAC and its members to develop a robust, global approach to identify what consumers want to know about the sustainability credentials of products, brands and manufacturers, and how different channels and content can guide them in their purchase decisions. The study will also look ahead to how consumers envisage shopping and receiving information in the future.
This study comes at a critical time for consumer trust in brands and their communications.
Public trust in global companies to act in the best interests of society remains stubbornly low and the apparel industry is facing greater scrutiny of its social responsibility and environmental impact across the value chain.
Caroline Holme, Director at GlobeScan said: "We want to help the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and its members to engage their customers as effectively as possible.
Our analysis shows that transparency is the top driver for rebuilding trust, but more than half of consumers across the world say that companies do not communicate honestly about social or environmental initiatives.
Many consumers want to make choices that are good for people and the planet, and this study will help to equip them with the information they need."
In the GlobeScan/M&S Transparency Study, one of the emerging but challenging trends identified was the need for more information and education for consumers to help them make sustainable shopping choices.