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Industry bigs to host open sustainability meeting during market

Retail Editor 4 -- Home Textiles Today, March 11, 2013

New York - A group of leading retailers and manufacturers recently founded The Sustainable Textiles Coalition to develop a common index to assess environmental and social performance across the home textiles value chain. Target, Yunus Textile Mills -- Pakistan, Williams-Sonoma, and Coyuchi are among those backing the effort.
Now the initiative is coming to New York during market week. Manufacturers and retailers are being invited to visit the Target TSS office at 500 7th Ave., 5th floor, on March 20 to learn more about the program, which is modeled on metrics developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition.
There will be two sessions: 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Advance registration is required at Attendees will need a government-issued photo ID to enter the building.
Scott Lercel, director of social responsibility & sustainability at Target, a founding member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and of the new home textiles coalition, described the thinking behind the retailer's involvement.
"At Target, sustainability is an integral part of our sourcing strategy because the future of our business depends on taking care of today's resources. Through the Sustainable Apparel Coalition's Higg Index, we identified areas where we could improve our impact on the environment and drive operational efficiencies within our supply chain, and we're excited to partner with the industry to evolve the Higg Index for the home textiles business."
Other organizations involved in the apparel coalition include several major players in the home textiles industry: Kohl's, JCPenney, Walmart, LL Bean, Li & Fung, Lenzing, Invista, Clariant, Cotton Inc. and Oeko-Tex.
As was the case with the apparel group, the new coalition will be supported in its development of the textiles index by Blu Skye, the San Francisco-based consulting firm that facilitated the launch and development of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and the creation of the Higg Index.
In addition to fostering sustainability, the process is designed to boost the value proposition within the supply chain. Improving energy productivity and reducing water and waste saves money, according to BluSkye.
During the market week sessions, founding members will discuss how the Sustainable Textiles Coalition's Home Textiles Index will be crafted to:
Reduce audit/survey fatigue;
Identify opportunities to reduce environmental impact while enchancing operational efficiencies;
Benchmark environmental and social performance;
Provide a practical pathway to sustainability leadership;
Differentiate a company's business and products to customers.