We believe any real impact will only happen at scale, when everyone is included.
Where the Shine Index started
What can’t be measured doesn’t matter. We needed an assessment tool.
We started by leveraging an internal tool that Adore Me had internally developed and was piloting, which was assessing the environmental performance of products based on their design and certain manufacturing techniques.
At product-level, AIM (the Adore Me Impact Matrix) looks at a fabric’s sustainability attributes as well as recycling practices, waste prevention techniques, water consumption and the use of chemicals involved in the manufacturing of that product.
AIM is not perfect. It focuses on the environmental impact of the last stage of a product's manufacturing and fails to fully account for the environmental impact of raw materials used in production -- which represent a significant portion of a garment’s environmental impact. AIM also failed to account for manufacturers' energy management, at factory level.
Facing these shortcomings, we went back to the drawing board and created the Shine Index.
Behind the Shine Index
The Shine Index is an upgrade from AIM, adding two new metrics assessing the environmental impact of the raw materials used in a product in terms of carbon emission, water consumption and fossil fuel use, and incorporating tier-1 manufacturer’s performance in terms of energy management.
The Shine Index relies on three components
In sum, the Shine index is 3-dimensional :
We take into account carbon emissions, water scarcity and fossil fuels involved in the primary and secondary raw materials used to create a garnement. The Higg standardized assessment of raw materials is used for this.
We assess the impact of manufacturing facilities by looking at items such as their energy savings & emissions, water management, chemicals management, and waste management. We leverage the GAME methodology developed by Adore Me for this.
Product level (manufacturing)
This is how we score eco-conscious designs. We look at the fibers used to create your favorite products as well as the waste, the water and the chemicals management involved. This is the AIM matrix referenced above, which still has a big place in the Shine Index.
Here’s how it works
We leverage the sum of all scores to define whether a product can make it to Sustainabl.com, and which star rating they’ll get:
Under the Shine Index framework, products are scored on a scale of 1 to 50. Only products with a Shine Index score higher than 10 will be admitted on Sustainabl.com
1 star : any product with a score between 10 and 15. These products made the cut and are on the sustainability track
2 stars : products with a Shine Index score between 16 and 20.
3 stars : the very best performers with a score above 21
Our motto: humility & collaboration
Making sustainable fashion & lifestyle products is complex and it may appear to be a never-ending journey. We’ll be the first to admit there’s always room for improvement. Part of our own improvement will involve collaborating with brands, customers and industry experts —because we’re all still learning, too
Our drivers are
We believe true sustainable impact will only happen at scale, when everyone is included. This means brands, suppliers but also customers.
We know we’re not perfect so we won’t pretend we are (perfect scores are highly unlikely).
This means clarity for the customer but also credibility for our index. The index needs to be tested, audited, and eventually transitioned to an independent third party.
Sustainability tools can’t be efficient and tech-free. Sustainability assessment and improvement is a data-heavy exercise and there is no better way to collect and process data than through tech.
This is an ongoing process
We have recently started collecting external input on our methodology and we are constantly looking for ways to improve. We are looking closely at a number of promising initiatives including some involving key players from the fashion and tech industries. It’s truly humbling.
The Shine Index is far from perfect. It still doesn’t fully cover the environmental impact of a product through its entire life cycle. It also fails to adequately account for a product’s social impact on communities. It is relying on some rigorous standardized measurement of raw materials’ sustainability but isn’t - yet - aligned with most industry certifications, which isn’t ideal. Whether this is due to methodology shortcomings or the lack of reliable quantitative data, we are working on it.
The first iteration of the Shine Index was completed in July 2021 and V2 was launched in November 2021. We’re planning on launching V3 by Q2 2022 based on inputs received from various stakeholders starting with industry experts and eventually other brands and customers. And it’s just the beginning. One step at a time we create a path towards a better tomorrow.
Eventually, when the Shine Index is more mature, ideally by 2024, we would like the Shine Index to transition out of Sustainabl.com and to be managed by a trusted independent organization.
We’re all ears! Whether you have a comment about the people we partner with or a question about our Shine Index, we’re always looking to improve your experience with us. Write us a note or suggestion below!