Cascale Is in China to Get ‘Unsung Heroes Heard,’ New CEO Says
Zhang Yushuo
DATE:  Jul 04 2024
/ SOURCE:  Yicai
Cascale Is in China to Get ‘Unsung Heroes Heard,’ New CEO Says Cascale Is in China to Get ‘Unsung Heroes Heard,’ New CEO Says

(Yicai) July 4 -- Cascale, formerly known as the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, is in China to get “unsung heroes heard,” newly appointed Chief Executive Officer Colin Browne told Yicai while attending the US-based non-profit organization’s sustainability forum for manufacturers in Shanghai.

“Understanding sustainability from a manufacturer’s point of view is incredibly important, and bringing their voice to the table to help them build the right process and system to address the challenges around sustainability is why I’m here -- to get unsung heroes heard,” Browne said in an interview.

In the bustling halls of Shanghai New International Expo Centre where the Cascale Manufacturer Forum was held on June 28, representatives from various consumer goods brands, retailers, and verification firms gathered to discuss the growing demand for environmental, social, and governance standards in the manufacturing industry.

“Manufacturers and the factories are the unsung heroes of our industry,” said Browne, who took the alliance’s reins in May. With over 40 years of experience in manufacturing and having had senior roles at Under Armour and Hanesbrands, Browne echoed a sentiment that resonated throughout the forum.

“They're where the heartbeat of the business is, where we create products, where we really kind of bring products to life,” he noted.

Reflecting on his stay in China almost 30 years ago, Browne marveled at the country's transformation since then, saying “it’s amazing what’s happened!”

Despite ongoing changes in the global manufacturing landscape, Browne believes China will remain a pivotal player. “It may be easier to move finished goods manufacturing, but a lot of the raw materials and everything else still come from China,” he said. “China is going to be an incredibly important partner from a manufacturing point of view for this industry for many years to come.”


But global manufacturers, including those in China, are faced with challenges posed by brands and evolving global policies. “Many brands share the same factories, making it challenging for factories to know how to comply due to conflicting information and requests from different brands,” Browne said.

They also face higher sustainability demands from the United States and the European Union, including the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive and impending New York Fashion Act in the US, which require businesses to map out their supply chains to identify and address potential social and environmental impacts.

“China itself has policies regarding sustainability, and there is often an overlap between China's targets and those of our export customers,” Browne said. “We need to help manufacturers understand how they can reach those targets while working within the policies of China and other manufacturing countries.

“A rising tide lifts all boats,” he added.

Working Together

Cascale recently released Higg FEM 4.0, its flagship environmental sustainability assessment tool. The transition to FEM 4.0, which began on Jan. 1, marked a reset in scoring expectations and introduced a re-baselining of industry environmental performance.

Browne acknowledged the difficulty in achieving overall sustainability in the industry but maintained that the challenge is no reason to shy away from the goal. “Just because it is hard to achieve doesn’t mean that we should not be aiming for it,” he pointed out.

“It's a difficult time for manufacturers, but we must continue to move forward and collaborate to achieve our collective goals,” Browne noted. “We’re here to ensure manufacturers have a voice.”

The theme of the Shanghai forum, ‘Catalyst for Change,’ “reflects our commitment to engage with manufacturers, address their challenges, and collaborate on shared goals and solutions,” he said.

Editor: Tom Litting

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Keywords:   manufacturing,ESG,sustainability,Cascale