The Apparel Impact Institute (AII), a collaboration of brands, manufacturers and industry stakeholders that have come together to select, fund and scale high-impact projects that dramatically and measurably improve the sustainability outcomes of the apparel and footwear industry, announced Lewis Perkins as the institute’s inaugural president. Perkins, 47, was most recently president of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.
The AII, which launched last October, was co-founded by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), with significant financial support from Target and additional funding from PVH Corp., Gap Inc. and HSBC Holdings plc.
“AII recognizes the unique opportunity to create meaningful change in the industry. Lewis’ ability to address complex, system-wide challenges through coalition building, strategic alignment of needs and change management skills are the essential leadership qualities to help achieve our goals,” said Ivanka Mamic, member of the AII board of directors and senior director of responsible sourcing, Target.
After an early start in marketing, Mr. Perkins has dedicated his career to environmental progress, first as a development director with the Clean Air Campaign and then with The Mohawk Group, where he was recruited to jump-start the company’s sustainability strategy and brand presence. In the role at Mohawk he aggregated the core stakeholders: product design, internal sales, the architect and design community and key industry associations, resulting in an overarching sustainability product and manufacturing plan.
He moved to Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute (C2CPII) in 2012 as senior vice president, and was promoted to president in 2015. During his time at C2CPII, Perkins was in charge of day-to-day operations, strategic planning, fundraising and activating against a vision to transform the market to safe, healthy products made with the highest positive impact to both humans and global environmental ecosystems.
“The Apparel Impact Institute has the potential to dramatically improve the global apparel and footwear industries through collaboration, scale, strategic funding and collective commitments,” said Lewis Perkins. “I am honored to take the helm of this exciting, mission-based organization.”
The AII identifies promising projects within the apparel and footwear industry that, with appropriate investment and resources, have the potential to scale to meet the critical environmental and social outcomes brands and consumers are seeking. Currently the AII is focusing on mill improvement, one of the most environmentally impactful segments of clothing production. The Scaling Mills Initiative is committed to reducing energy, chemical and water use to scale mill improvements in the textile industry.