The apparel industry employs more than 75 million workers globally. The sector is the backbone of many developing countries’ economies and increasingly contributes to women employment opportunities. However, often, the apparel and footwear value chain dynamics, the cost-price and wage pressure in fast fashion, combined with weak regulatory schemes in several countries result in precarious working conditions, while also creating high environmental impacts.

The sector is now seeing a marked shift towards more sustainable supply chains. Global brands are increasingly enshrining sustainability at the core of their business practices while striving to meet their own compliance requirements, requiring their suppliers to adhere to increasingly stringent social and environmental standards. At the same time, end consumers, wanting fashion players to uphold their social and environmental responsibilities, are also driving the shift.

Establishing a sustainable manufacturing framework

IDH apparel program has two main objectives:

  • Enabling adequate wage increases through social dialogue and individual supply chain action
  • Developing and scaling inclusive and sustainable business models.

On the social side

Worker engagement and productivity training will improve managers’ understanding of employee perspectives and improve working conditions, which has proven to have positive effects on worker satisfaction, and decrease worker turnover, rework and return rates.

On the environmental side

IDH drives improvement in:

  • Energy efficiency and greenhouse gases
  • Air emissions
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Use of chemicals

Driving marketing transformation in apparel

IDH has been working with partners for over a decade to develop sustainable business models, create positive on-ground impact and improve sector governance in some of the key apparel-producing countries


  • Strategic partner of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and seed funder of their EU base (2013-2014)
  • Pakistan Buyers’ Forum: Cooperation for the sustainable growth of the garment and textile sector (2014-2021)
  • Race to the Top: Multi-Stakeholder Initiative for sustainable manufacturing practices in Vietnam (2016-2021)
  • Since 2017, Co-founder and current Board Member of the Apparel Impact Institute
  • Partners of Fashion for Good to develop an acceleration fund for investments in sustainable technologies
  • In Sustainable Textile and Apparel Parks: Building socially and environmentally effective, efficient and sustainable Industrial Parks (2021 – present)
  • Wages in Apparel and Responsible Purchasing (WARP): Adequate wage for workers in apparel and footwear workers that allows them to meet decent living standards (2022 – present)
Driving towards socially just and environmentally sustainable apparel manufacturing

Relevant SDGs

  • Decent work and economic growth
  • Responsible consumption and production
  • Partnerships for the goals

Initiatives in Apparel

  • Wages in Apparel and Responsible Purchasing (WARP)

    Wages in Apparel and Responsible Purchasing (WARP)

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    Wages in Apparel and Responsible Purchasing (WARP)
  • IN Sustainable Textile and Apparel Parks (INSTEP)

    IN Sustainable Textile and Apparel Parks (INSTEP) is a collaborative approach to step up the sustainable production of textiles and apparel via Industrial Parks, reaching multiple factories and shared facilities, with assessments and interventions to reduce environmental impact and improve working conditions.

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    IN Sustainable Textile and Apparel Parks (INSTEP)
  • Life And Building Safety Initiative (LABS)

    Life And Building Safety Initiative (LABS) is a collaborative program by a group of brands focused on shared assessments and a shared standard for Life and Building Safety.

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    Life And Building Safety Initiative (LABS)

Contact us for more information