About the Index

Textile Exchange’s Material Change Index (MCI) is the largest peer-to-peer comparison initiative in the textile industry. It tracks the apparel, footwear and home textile sector’s progress toward more sustainable materials sourcing, as well as alignment with global efforts like the Sustainable Development Goals and the transition to a circular economy. Our family of indices tracks MCI participants as well as progress on specific materials and program characteristics.

The MCI is a key component of Textile Exchange’s Corporate Fiber & Materials Benchmark (CFMB) program, which enables participating companies to measure, manage and integrate a preferred fiber and materials strategy into their business. The CFMB is one of few transparency benchmarks built on voluntary company disclosure. By participating, companies demonstrate a commitment to transparency and continuous improvement around their materials sourcing strategy.

The MCI is published in partnership with the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles and WRAP UK, with GreenBiz Group as its lead media partner. Funding support was generously provided by C&A and Tchibo. The MCI is proudly affiliated with the World Benchmarking Alliance and Textile Exchange is a supporting organization to the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action.

With our new Climate+ strategy, Textile Exchange is the driving force for urgent climate action on textile fiber and materials. By benchmarking the industry and providing actionable tools for improvement, Textile Exchange is pushing a race to the top. Join us.

About the Corporate Fiber & Materials Benchmark

After an initial pilot in 2015, the Corporate Fiber & Materials Benchmark (CFMB) program is now in its fourth year. The program includes the Material Change Index as well as other products and services including sector analytics and insights, outcome and impact tracking (through our Materials Impact Dashboard) and in-person and virtual learning opportunities.

Our framework follows a systematic approach to integrating preferred fibers and materials into business strategy. It is divided into three key areas:

  • Strategy and Integration — establishing corporate commitment and intent
  • Materials Portfolio — target setting, progress tracking and measuring impact
  • Materials Circularity — reducing and shifting consumption from virgin resources to reclaimed
mci framework

Companies follow a self-assessment process intended to help identify the strengths and gaps where future progress can be made. All company submissions are reviewed by Textile Exchange’s expert team for completeness, accuracy and consistency of data, and our process is externally assured by BSD Consulting in line with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines.

Companies then receive a confidential scorecard of their results and a position in the Material Change Index, enabling them to compare progress with peers and to transparently communicate performance and progress to stakeholders. By comparing their own year-on-year scores, as well as their scores against those achieved by the whole sector, companies can plan improvement efforts and prioritize action areas.

Participants tell us that the process of completing the benchmark paired with the company scorecard is a highly effective mechanism for engaging leadership and raising awareness internally.

Publicly reported indices also encourage healthy company competition that accelerates required change and drives a race-to-the top.

The Textile Exchange Corporate Fiber & Materials Benchmark is a great example of driving industry wide and credible increase in the use of preferred fibers with traceability from raw material to final product. We use the benchmark and insights for industry insights and as support in driving traceability initiatives.

- Mattias Bodin, H&M

The bigger picture

Textile companies, with their business roots in the fields, forests, and deep underground, have an important role to play in the transition to a more resilient, regenerative and circular economy. Millions of people – fiber farmers, foresters, waste collectors, polymer engineers, other textile feedstock providers and their communities – form the base of the textile supply network and are impacted by the decisions brands and retailers make every day. Influencing improvement in fiber and material production is one of the greatest contributions textile companies can make to securing a sustainable future.

In October 2019, Textile Exchange launched its Climate+ strategy, accelerating the uptake of preferred fibers and materials to drive an absolute reduction of 35-45% in CO2 emissions from the sector by 2030. This objective is built on the urgency to respond to key risks for the textile industry and the huge potential to make improvements in areas such as water, land, air and the lives of people everywhere. Some of the most serious risks and opportunities occur during the production of raw materials, the stage of the supply chain that is often furthest from company influence.

By creating a benchmark program for companies, Textile Exchange not only measures and reports company and industry progress but provides strategic direction for the companies that participate. By participating in the program, companies embark on a “bench learning” journey, with the support of Textile Exchange staff and fellow participants. The exchange of knowledge creates a virtuous circle of learning and improving.

Facing the reality that resources are scarce and that the population is continuing to grow, ARMEDANGELS as a sustainable fashion brand solely uses preferred materials. The tool does not only provide us with a material benchmark of the industry in general; but also supports us in our own research on materials that are ecologically optimized and socially and ethically advanced and serves as a further spur to continuously make progressive change.

— Levinia Muth, ARMEDANGELS

Aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are universal (for both developed and developing countries), holistic (people-centered and planet-sensitive) and measurable. Many companies are adopting the framework of the SDGs to plan a long-term approach to sustainability and value the CFMB’s ability to identify and track contributions to the SDGs.

The CFMB provides an important entry point to the SDGs, as it allows company and industry-wide progress toward 2030 to be tracked. For the textile industry, SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production is the gateway to many of the other SDGs, such as no poverty, sustainable agriculture/zero hunger, land use, life under water and industry innovation. Through improved practices on land and in processing mills, there is huge potential to reduce water and energy use, improve water quality and decrease carbon emissions. Incorporating reclaimed feedstocks not only reduces waste and strain on natural resources, but it also brings valuable secondary raw materials back into utilization.

With the introduction of Textile Exchange’s Climate+ strategy, SDG 13: Climate Action has become a greater focus for the organization. While moving to renewables can address 55% of global GHG emissions, to achieve UN climate goals it is imperative to tackle the remaining 45% which, according to the Ellen McArthur Foundation, is associated with materials. Designing out waste, keeping materials in use and regenerating farms and forests will play an important role in reducing carbon emissions.

It’s time to take bold action now. We owe this to our children, to the planet, and to the people who work in our supply chains. So let’s work together and be accountable to our progress. Let’s commit to sourcing raw materials with integrity and fairness. Let’s honor the value of people, energy, water and the soil. Let’s work together to really create positive impact in the world, because this is the task for our generation. We only have this one world and if we don’t take care of it, who will?

-Nanda Bergstein, Tchibo

How our benchmark supports the Global Goals

Further reading:

  • SDG Insights Report. This briefing analyses the first two years of responses to SDG question set now included in the CFMB. Early findings suggest growth in SDG alignment, at least among the frontrunners.
  • SDG Companion Guide. This guide is intended as an initial step towards further supporting the textile industry on alignment with the SDGs.
  • TextileforSDGs. Visit the Textile Exchange SDGs webpage.

This briefing analyzes the first two years of responses to the SDG question set now included in the CFMB.