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More Efforts for Sustainable Apparel

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It might seem unlikely that competitive retailers and manufacturers would come together to share best practices. But when it comes to the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, more than 40 organizations have done just that, realizing that strength—and opportunity for change—comes in numbers.

Nordstrom has joined apparel and footwear brands, retailers, manufactures, suppliers, universities and many others as part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, a group of sustainability leaders in the apparel and footwear industry whose aim is to create an industry-wide index (or scorecard) to measure and evaluate products' sustainability. The group's vision is to "create an apparel and footwear industry that produces no unnecessary environmental harm and has a positive impact on the people and communities associated with its activities."The Coalition is the type of collaborative approach that we find so valuable because it builds on the relationships we already have with our retailer and manufacturer peers. —Laura Hodgson, Nordstrom Product Group director of Social Responsibility

An Apparel Index

The group, which was formed in 2010, has been working for more than a year to kick off its' work by creating an Apparel Index, which is an industry-wide measurement tool that retailers and manufacturers can use to track sustainability performance of their clothing and footwear. The group will develop a scorecard that participants can use to evaluate their sustainability performance at a company, product or factory level.

"Creating this sustainability scorecard will help us better understand the impact our products have and can help us look for ways to reduce that impact, which is really exciting," said Linda Peffer, Nordstrom's director of Corporate Social Responsibility.

The scorecard will initially evaluate environmental factors of production such as water use and quality, energy and greenhouse gases, waste, and chemicals. The first version of the scorecard is expected to be ready for participating companies to test in mid-Fall 2011. It will eventually expand to include social and labor as well.

Helping customers learn more through collaboration

While Nordstrom shares our progress on our social responsibility goals with our employees and customers at www.nordstrom.com/nordstromcares and through other communications, being part of the Coalition will help us share even more information about the products our customers are purchasing. For example, one future outcome of the scorecard could be a label or tag to help customers know more about the items they're purchasing.

Nordstrom has long worked to improve global labor standards for producing the merchandise we contract

to manufacture through Nordstrom Product Group (NPG), including apparel, footwear, jewelry, accessories and home products. As members of the Coalition, we can further help develop and also adopt Social and Labor indictors.

"The Coalition is the type of collaborative approach that we find so valuable because it builds on the relationships we already have with our retailer and manufacturer peers," said Laura Hodgson, NPG director of Social Responsibility. She also added that this will "give us more leverage as we work with our suppliers to give clear and consistent direction on these important issues."

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