Sustainability Assessment of Factories in an Apparel Supply Chain in South Africa

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2016-11-09
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Cao, Huantian
Lou, Xingqiu
Siron, Leslie
Dickson, Marsha
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International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA) Annual Conference Proceedings
Iowa State University Conferences and Symposia

The first national meeting of textile and clothing professors took place in Madison, Wisconsin in June 1959. With a mission to advance excellence in education, scholarship and innovation, and their global applications, the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA) is a professional and educational association of scholars, educators, and students in the textile, apparel, and merchandising disciplines in higher education.

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The purpose of this research was to use the Higg Index Facility Modules for Environment and Social/Labor to assess the sustainability performance of factories in an apparel supply chain in South Africa; and to identify challenges and make recommendations for sustainable development. Data were collected from five factories in an apparel supply chain, including one yarn spinning, one knitting, one dyeing and finishing, and two CMTs (cut, make and trim). It was found Higg Facility scores were relatively low for all five factories. Unanswered questions and unavailable data were among the main challenges for the factories. Improving sustainability performance requires that a facility knows what its impacts are, has goals to improve, and provides evidence of improvement. It is recommended that factories examine the Higg questions, and fill the gaps between the current practices and the Higg questions to improve sustainability performance.

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