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Selected Case

published: 19 Dec 2018

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Region: Global

Abstract:
This case focuses on the contribution of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), an American trade organization based on an industry-wide collaboration and a multi-stakeholder approach, to the fashion industry. The Higg Index is a self-assessment tool that aims to measure and reduce the environmental and social impacts of apparel supply chains. While the SAC’s initiative is succeeding as far as the global scenario is concerned (measured by the number of member companies and adoption of the Higg Index), the challenge is changing. New strategically relevant issues force SAC to re-evaluate its approach to future expansion.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case was designed for MBA and EMBA sessions on sustainability and social innovation to help students: • analyse the value of self-regulation through an example of self-regulation in the apparel and textile industry (see background on social self-regulation mechanisms in this note); • analyse the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and its self-assessment tool, the Higg Index, and evaluate conditions under which the SAC can be successful; • examine how competitors in the market come together when a common strategic issue such as sustainability emerges; • discuss how collaboration can enable companies to focus on product and process innovation; • critically analyse the pros and cons of the SAC’s operations strategy; • identify the risks of self-regulation (for companies and for SAC); • discuss the nature of “wicked problems” and their relevance for managers.

Keywords:
Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Textile Industry, Self-Regulation, Higg Index, Patagonia, Wal-Mart, Fast Fashion, Sustainable Fashion, Jason Kibbey, Rick Ridgeway, Apparel Industry, Wicked Problems, Pilot Washing, Self-Assessment


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