Managing for sustainable fashion - A comparative review of the Higg Index 2.0 Brand and Retail Module and the UN Sustainable Development Goals
Abstract: This master’s thesis investigates sustainability management within a fashion company and how a company could use the sustainability management tool the Higg Index 2.0 Brand and Retail Module to work towards its prioritised UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is a comparative review of the two frameworks, the Index and the SDGs, from a life cycle analysis perspective. It also includes a case study at the global lifestyle brand GANT. The thesis found that it is possible to work towards a company’s prioritised SDGs to some extent with the help of the Index but that there is a need for complementary management systems or tools to target all prioritised SDGs. There are large focus differences between the SDGs and the Index. The SDGs put more focus on the life cycle analysis impact categories Land use, Biodiversity and Climate change and the social stakeholders Society and Local community. The Index however focuses to a larger extent on the life cycle analysis impact categories regarding chemical pollution and the social stakeholder Worker. The difference in focus between the two frameworks could be explained by the difference in scope and aim. Limitations to the Index are discussed further in the thesis. The resulting focus distribution model created in the thesis aims to provide an understanding of how the two frameworks focus on sustainability issues and how a company could use their resources to target a specific issue. The model also creates an understanding of how these issues interact and untangles the complexity of how to make the fashion sector more sustainable. Since the sector is expected to grow tremendously it is important to address these issues now and decouple social and environmental degradation from economic growth within the fashion sector.
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