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Scaling environmental impact solutions with Apparel Impact Institute

January 26, 2021

In this episode of Fireside Chat, we talked with Lewis Perkins, the President of the Apparel Impact Institute, about how companies can scale their environmental impact solutions. An edited transcript follows.

I’m Lewis Perkins and I run this organization called the Apparel Impact Institute and we were founded roughly three years ago by a group of brands, retailers, and key manufacturers to the apparel industry who were interested in scaling impact solutions together in a more collective action manner than fielding these programs solo.


How does A.I.I help manufacturers?


We play this role of intellectual clearing house for lack of a better phrase of good programs that are out there. And we bring them through pilot, preceded pilot model and scale phase to ensure that they work. So when you come to A.I.I., you actually are getting the whole industry programmatic approach to this work, behind us. Because what we intend to do is no one’s left behind. Everyone who has a proven program, or model to scale, should be part of the A.I.I. collective. 


How can brands and retailers benefit from joining A.I.I?


The benefits of brands and retailers to work with us is that most of them, particularly the large brands and retailers and the ones that are publicly traded on stock exchange are probably establishing their environmental and sustainable performance goals, they are probably members of the science based targets initiative with commitments to reducing their carbon emissions in their supply chain by 2030. So, they’ve signed their names, they’re signatories to this work. So how are they going to do it? The benefits by having A.I.I. in place is that, as I described for the manufacturers earlier, it’s the same thing. 


What are you anticipating for the future of sustainability?

When it comes to climate, this transition from coal to clean energy, is a big, hairy, audacious goal, and one that is solvable, but it’s going to take a lot of manpower, and a lot of coordination. And we’re all primed in place to do it, but we’re going to need the industry to get behind it with us. Because ultimately, it’s going to impact the way policy is written in countries, related to clean energy, related to coal burning usage, etc. So, that’s the big lift for the next decade. We’ll see where the next 12 months leads us, and what this pandemic may do towards helping accelerate a lot of the solutions that were already underway, but now are being taken more seriously with a sense of greater urgency. 


Learn more about the Apparel Impact Institute by visiting their website: apparelimpact.org