Retail & CPG

Sustainable Apparel

Sustainable Apparel, Footwear + Textiles through Strategy, Transparency & Integration

Sustainability in the Apparel Industry

Far-reaching change in the apparel industry is being driven externally from the media, NGOs and consumers and internally through commercial performance and risk profiling. To thrive in the industry requires innovation, careful market consideration and the integration of a solid, sustainable apparel business model to match future ambitions.

Our team are trusted advisors to some of the most well-known clothing companies – including 4 of the top 10 most valuable apparel brands in the world. Expertise, experience and passion along the whole value chain allows us to put our clients on a strategic pathway to sustainability and success.

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Framework for Sustainable Apparel

Our Framework for Sustainable Apparel

Apparel Sustainability Consulting

Building productive, long-lasting relationships with clients is at the heart of the Anthesis approach. With extensive experience in the sector, we support several apparel clients and are proud members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC). Anthesis has a strong track record in realistic, easy-to-use solutions that help companies reduce carbon & energy use. Our experts are members of the SBT Apparel & Footwear Expert Advisory Group.

We have proven experience in delivering sustainabile solutions for fashion and apparel clients in a range of areas, including:

  • Carbon & energy
  • Sustainable chemistry
  • Data analytics & visualization
  • Reporting & communications
  • Strategy development & goal-setting
  • Resources, waste & circular economy
  • Supply chains & risk
  • Policies, standards & certification

Higg Framework

The HIGG Brand & Retail Module (BRM)

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition, representing more than one-third of the global apparel and footwear industries, was formed by sustainability leaders and leading organizations to address current social and environmental challenges. Recognizing that improved supply chain practices are both a business imperative and an opportunity, the Coalition seeks to lead a shared vision of industry supply chain sustainability through the creation and use of the Higg Index.


Tackling the Growing Apparel Waste Problem

Honor Cowen, Anthesis Retail Sector Lead for North America was featured in the CNBC’s special, “what Retailers like Amazon do with Unsold Inventory.” The growing quantity of unsold and returned inventory funneled directly into waste streams puts massive pressure on our already ineffective waste infrastructure. Returns in the U.S. alone create more than 5 billion pounds of waste and 15 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.

The immense waste problem creates an opportunity for retail companies to step up and create strategies around waste reduction, garment circularity, and sustainable sourcing and supply chains. Honor cited Apple and H&M as examples of retailers taking steps to minimize their environmental impact with take back systems, energy and carbon management, and by making their supply chains more sustainable.


We valued their expertise and knowledge in chemical management which enabled us to establish appropriate criteria for clean beauty and propel us forward on our H Project Approved responsible buy icon program.


We started working with Anthesis in 2017, when they helped to write and produce our CSR report. Since then, we have collaborated on a pilot chemical management project with our key denim mills. I’ve worked with several teams and individuals within Anthesis and have been continually impressed by the quality and concerted effort they put into delivering value to our business through our sustainability programs.

Jaclyn Allen
Director of Corporate Sustainability


Aritzia initially worked with Anthesis to set our environment baseline – which highlighted the areas to focus on in our sustainability strategy. Part of this process included using RiskHorizon™ to assess where and what the likely risks are in our raw material supply chains. We look forward to continuing collaborating with the apparel team to support our objectives.

Corporate Responsibility Director, Aritzia


Anthesis has been an important thought-partner for us. They’ve been so helpful in getting the vendors on board and engaged. We’ve really relied on their expertise and experience to guide us through this process.

Former Sr. Manager of Sustainable Innovation, Gap


We partnered with industry expert Anthesis to ensure we could meet the rigorous requirements of an SBTi-approved goal for Scope 3 emissions. With Anthesis’ guidance, we were able to footprint our current Scope 3 impact as well as model out all the underlying initiatives and activities that will help us achieve our 2030 target.

Former VP of Corporate Responsibility, Target


We were able to create a leading policy on a tight timeline, thanks to the great collaboration and leading expertise provided by Anthesis.

Beth Greenaway
Team Lead Circular & Sustainable Products, Zalando


The supply chain report produced by Anthesis was a key element of the success of the initial public offering (IPO) of In The Style. The report ensured investor confidence in ITS and set out a clear roadmap to guide progress.


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Holt Renfrew
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Tools to Support the Apparel Sector

We build custom tools and leverage leading technology solutions to support our apparel, fashion, textiles and footwear clients. While we are software agnostic, we are experts in deploying, using and training clients on the following software tools:

Footprinter – Footprinter supports clients in a number of ways; from sustainable product design assessments to operational level footprints. Our clients using the software include Reckitt Benckiser, Target and Pepsico.

Clean CO2 – Clean CO2 is a carbon management tool that allows companies to offset and reduce their carbon footprint. It accompanies users throughout the process of neutralising their company’s activities and greenhouse gas emissions, helping them to achieve carbon neutrality by investing in projects to reduce emissions, such as energy efficiency, renewable energies and carbon sinks.

ACDC – Anthesis Compliance Data Collection is a free spreadsheet-based tool designed to alleviate the common barriers to efficient data exchange and promote reuse of declarations across the supply chain.

Supply Shift – This is a leading software tool for collecting data from supply chains, helping drive action on sustainability and ESG performance specifically.

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Other Contributions, Mentions and Publications

Biofabricate LLC Report and the Circular Fashion Report (December 2020) – Anthesis Experts provided input to the reports that will help shape how the apparel and textile industry can define and align on driving innovation at scale and with purpose. 
Year Zero Circular Fashion Report (December 2020) – Anthesis’  Technical Director Susan Harris contributed to the report by sharing her circularity and sustainable apparel expertise and insights.
Apparel Insider Article (November 2020) “Tackling the Deforestation Risk in Leather and Viscose Supply Chains” was written by Anthesis consultant James MacPherson and Emma Thomson from Global Canopy.
Accelerating Circularity (October 2020)Anthesis contributed to the formation of the project and the post-industrial waste aspects of this research alongside REvolve Waste.
APPG (September 2020) –  Anthesis supported this work with Hubbub for the APPG on Ethics and Sustainability, to present research on why the UK government should do more to reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry.
UNFCC (September 2020) – Article discussing GHG tracking and target setting for mid-small apparel and footwear companies. Anthesis is listed as a consultancy available to support this work.
UC Berkeley (August 2020) – Paper discussing the impact that the Higg Facility Environmental Module (FEM) has on apparel factory practices and performance
Vogue (August 2020) – Our work with House of Dagmar, supporting the implementation of a sustainable fibre strategy
Pacific Institute (July 2020) –  Case study includes our data analysis to support water targets for apparel facilities in the Noyyal-Bhavani River Basin, India
Apparel Insider (July 2020)Claudia Amos and Georgie Edwards coauthored an article on biomaterials
Apparel Insider (July 2020)Technical Directors Claudia Amos and Susan Harris contributed to an article on recycled polyester
Science-based Target Initiative (June 2019) – Anthesis served as an expert advisor for the Apparel and Footwear Sector Guidance Report 
Vogue (April 2019) – Anthesis’ Honor Cowen weighs in on the sustainability of vegan leather 
WRAP (June 2017) – Anthesis contributed to the Sustainable Clothing Guide

Apparel Sustainability Services

Energy and Carbon Management– we have a strong track record in solutions that help companies cut costs across stores, manufacturing facilities, warehouses and logistics through energy efficiency programs.

Chemicals and Material Substitution– we help organizations develop and implement leading chemical management programs, hotspot substances of concern and develop substitution strategies. We have also been trained by ZDHC to implement their processes in textile factories and mills.

Waste and Resource Sustainability– we have world-leading expertise in waste and resources, particularly around the risk and opportunity in plastic use, including microplastics and microfibres.

Strategy Development– with a wealth of experience in developing strategy and targets for apparel businesses; we’ll support you to identify and prioritize the environmental and social challenges specific to you and your value chain.

Human Rights and Ethical Trade – We help organisations develop comprehensive Human Rights and Ethical Trade programmes, supporting with design, benchmarking, impact assessments, capacity building and training, research and more.

Modern Slavery – We help organisations create Modern slavery statements, policies and map supply chains.

Supply Chain Risk– we understand how complex and nuanced supply chains can be. We can assess the Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) risks of any supply chain.

Supply Chain Engagement – communicating, educating and supporting suppliers is the foundation for successful implementation of any sustainability initiative or goal. Anthesis has a team in Asia who specialize in exactly this; day in, day out.

Policies, Standards and Certification– our specialists have deep and detailed knowledge on how best to develop, leverage and implement anything from setting sustainable cotton policies to assessing the feasibility of recycled polyester supply.

Reporting and Assessment – as a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), we have partnered with the SAC on supporting services for their Higg Index tools. The Higg Brand Retail Module recently launched and Anthesis is uniquely placed to support this assessment in a number of ways.  In addition we have decades of experience in reporting to all relevant frameworks and leading CSR reports.

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Meet our Apparel Experts