Behind the Apparel Industry's New Eco Index
Aug. 09, 2010

Behind the Apparel Industry's New Eco IndexOutdoor Industry Association's Eco Index is prime time for piloting, meaning the Beta Version is now available on the new Eco Index site here for industries to internally assess environmental aspects along their supply chain. Even though recent reports from media outlets like Fast Company and The Wall Street Journal have intimated that this is a consumer-facing label, Eco Working Group members like Jill Dumain, Director of Environmental Strategy at Patagonia and Chair of the Eco Working Group Advisory Council, affirm that this is an "internal supply chain facing tool to assess the environmental impacts of individual products."

"This session was the kick-off to the pilot program," says Beth Jensen, Corporate Responsibility Manager of OIA. "It gave the 100 or so attendees who have been a part of the Eco Working Group a detailed overview of the tool and real-life examples of how to use the index for a number of different products."

The Eco Index is divided up into three different "levels" including Guidelines, Indicators and Metrics to assess the impacts within six product lifecycle stages, which include, Materials, Packaging, Product Manufacturing and Assembly, Transport and Distribution, Use of Service, and End of Life. Testing products through the Eco Index during this Beta period and providing feedback will be essential to the evolution of the Index. The Group wants to ensure that this tool is useful for any company of any size and for any product -- whether it be a hard good, like a camping stove; a soft good, like a jacket; and other "hybrid" products, like footwear.