Portland-area companies Adidas, Columbia Sportswear, Icebreaker, KEEN, and Korkers have been selected to participate in the cohort program, which will provide customized training and resources around testing the next version of the OIA Eco Index.
The program is funded by a grant from PDC, which unveiled an effort last fall to nurture the Athletic and Outdoor Industry (A&O) business cluster in Portland, Oregon – a group of businesses that includes more than 300 firms employing 14,000 Oregonians. The grant funding provided by PDC is being matched by OIA.
The cohort program will be managed by Portland-based consultant Eric Brody, principal at ShiftAdvantage. Brody participated in the creation of the original OIA Eco Index content.
“PDC has supported the Eco Index from the very beginning, as a natural fit with Portland’s leadership in both sustainability and the A&O cluster. We’re very pleased to launch this pilot program with OIA and Portland’s own industry-leading companies,” said Jennifer Nolfi, business and industry manager for PDC.
In development since 2007 by the OIA Eco Working Group, the Eco Index is an environmental impact assessment tool providing a common language and framework to benchmark and measure product-level sustainability throughout the supply chain. The Eco Index identifies areas for improvement and provides guidance to help companies make informed sourcing and product life cycle decisions.
The next version of the Eco Index, the “Apparel Tool,” which will be tested by the cohort participants, has been developed jointly by the OIA Eco Working Group and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. The new Apparel Tool uses the OIA Eco Index framework and content as its foundation, while also incorporating Nike’s Materials Assessment Tool – providing the functionality for product designers and developers to begin making data-driven materials sourcing choices to reduce environmental impact. Additional index modules for footwear and equipment are also under development.
PDC and OIA hope that the PDC grant program will serve as a model for providing similar index implementation support to companies in other cities. A program update will be presented at the annual OIA Rendezvous® leadership and education conference for outdoor industry executives in Portland in October 2011.