Sustainable Apparel Coalition and Social & Labor Convergence Program Elevate Collaborative Work to Transform Global Supply Chains

Feb 5, 2024 8:00 AM ET
people working at a garment factory

SAN FRANCISCO, AMSTERDAM and HONG KONG, February 5, 2024 /3BL/ - In a milestone development, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and the Social & Labor Convergence Program (SLCP) announce a deepened strategic collaboration as SLCP has completed its separation from SAC and transitioned into an independent non-profit foundation.

Launched by SAC in 2015, SLCP’s continued aim is to reduce audit fatigue and improve working conditions in the apparel industry. Over eight years, SLCP has grown significantly, gathering more than 250 signatories and implementing the Converged Assessment Framework (CAF) in over 60 countries. Key achievements include:

  • Over 11,000 facilities have completed an SLCP-verified assessment, across diverse sectors in over 60 countries.
  • Adoption of the CAF has unlocked an estimated $23m annually through reduced duplicative audits.
  • Public acceptance of SLCP data by over 70 prominent brands and organizations underscores the impact of these collaborative efforts.

In September 2023, SLCP signatories voted in favor of SLCP’s five-year Strategy, which included the plan to transition to an independent organization. That same month, the SAC Board also approved the plans for separation.

SLCP officially separated from SAC on February 1, 2024. Its new legal entity is a Dutch non-profit foundation known as a “stichting.” Both SAC and SLCP reaffirm their commitment to a closely-knit strategic collaboration, aligning their tools and strategies for a shared vision of improved global working conditions. The SAC is steadfast in supporting and incorporating the CAF as the preferred social compliance assessment framework for its Higg Facility Social & Labor Module (FSLM) tool.

“As both organizations navigate this exciting new phase, our commitment to shared goals and values is greater than ever and propels us toward catalyzing collective action at scale,” said Andrew Martin, executive vice president at SAC. “Leaders stand out by their ethics, integrity, accountability, and responsibility. It is no longer enough to deliver value to shareholders without lasting positive human impact and societal change. We believe our collaborative efforts will continue to uphold safe, respectful working conditions and establish new benchmarks for sustainability and social responsibility.”

“We are excited to be moving forward with the next stage of SLCP’s evolution, building on the strong foundation and the impact we have already achieved with SAC, our signatories, and partners,” said Janet Mensink, chief executive officer at SLCP. “Our collaboration with SAC is a testament to the power of industry-wide cooperation. Through the adoption of the CAF and the Higg FSLM, we are able to create a more streamlined approach to social compliance assessments and reallocate resources to fulfill our shared ambition of improving working conditions. We are grateful to everyone who has helped and supported us to get to this point, and I look forward to continuing and deepening our relationship with SAC to drive even greater impact.”

Recognizing the importance of industry convergence, the organizations will work together to expand the reach of the CAF into adjacent product categories and industries. This joint effort aims to streamline assessments, reduce duplication, and foster harmonization in social and labor tools across sectors. Moreover, SAC and SLCP will synergize their efforts to accelerate insights based on CAF/Higg FSLM data. This collaboration extends to the production of aggregated industry reports, providing stakeholders with comprehensive and actionable information.

“SLCP has just completed its first five years as a live program,” said Jonathan Obermeister, SLCP’s independent chair. “During that time, we have demonstrated the value we can bring, built critical mass and achieved financial self-sufficiency. We’re now ready to take the next step as a fully independent organization, with ambitious plans for growth while maintaining the multi-stakeholder ethos which has been such an important factor in our success so far. The new foundation board has total confidence in SLCP’s future and high-performing team, and we are excited about what we can accomplish together in the years ahead.”

“Together, SAC and SLCP will continue to call for harmonized assessment frameworks and increased adoption, fostering a culture of responsibility and accountability within the industry,” said Tamar Hoek, SAC board chair. “This collaboration is a testament to what can be achieved when organizations work together with a shared vision for a better, more sustainable future."

This holistic approach to convergence, industry adoption and data insights, and marketing collaboration underscores the depth and breadth of the strategic collaboration between SAC and SLCP.

About the Sustainable Apparel Coalition

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is a global, non-profit alliance of over 300 organizations in the apparel, footwear, and textile industry. Initially formed to create standardized sustainability metrics, the SAC has sharpened its focus to driving pre-competitive, collective action across three foundational pillars. As an independent entity, the SAC brings together brands, retailers, manufacturers, NGOs, academics, and industry associations to combat climate change, ensure decent work, and contribute to a nature-positive future. Central to the SAC’s mission is the Higg Index, a suite of comprehensive tools that empower members to measure, evaluate, and improve sustainability performance across the supply chain. To support evolving industry needs, the SAC also brings together a focus in policy, transparency, and programs for collective action.

About the Social & Labor Convergence Program

SLCP is a multi-stakeholder initiative driving decent work in global supply chains. Central to SLCP’s operations is the Converged Assessment Framework (CAF) - a universal tool that eliminates the need for proprietary audits - allowing saved resources to be redirected into improvement programs for workers. In addition, SLCP aims to support stakeholders accessing credible and actionable social and labor data for Human Rights Due Diligence implementation and enable collaborative solutions to improve working conditions. Since its launch of operations in 2019 it has gathered more than 250 signatories and over 70 prominent brands and organizations publicly accept SLCP data. The CAF has been implemented by over 11,000 facilities in over 60 countries unlocking an estimated $23m annually through reduced duplicative audits. SLCP is registered as an independent non-profit foundation (stichting) based in the Netherlands.