Our methodology

The Material Change Index (MCI) is a voluntary benchmark that tracks the apparel and textiles 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. As one of a few voluntary benchmarks, the MCI is based on companies’ willingness to be transparent and disclose their materials uptake and management practices.

Our methodology is continually refined through consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, including our participating companies.Our program and processes are externally assured by BSD Consulting in accordance with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines, bringing increased credibility and confidence in the results as the program grows in size and importance.

Program updates

In 2019, we overhauled the way the Material Change Index is communicated to the public. The MCI family now consists of an overarching Material Change Leaderboard that tracks companies’ holistic approach to more sustainable materials sourcing, as well as a number of related indices:
  • Material Change Leaderboard
  • Material Circularity
  • Material SDG Index
  • Material Portfolios Indices (Cotton, Wool, Down, Manmade Cellulosics, Polyester and Nylon)

We welcome the new approach that Textile Exchange is taking in moving from ranking brands solely on volume toward recognizing brands for their holistic leadership in preferred fibers and materials. The new Material Change Index aims to recognize brands that are going beyond volumes, toward holistic and impactful material strategies and a new era of preferred fiber and material sourcing approaches.

- Jeffrey Hogue, C&A
We also introduced performance bands to recognize companies that are on their materials improvement journey. The performance bandings are:


This level is for companies that are laying the foundation of their programs and scored 25 or less out of 100 possible points.


This level is for companies that are strengthening their programs and scored 26-50 out of 100 possible points.


This level is for companies with emerging leadership that scored 51-75 out of 100 possible points.


This level is for companies that are pioneering industry transformation and scored 76-100 out of 100 possible points.

Benchmark survey

Participating companies complete a survey consisting of three sections:
mci framework
Participants select their portfolio composition based on which materials are most used in their supply chain.

Companies have the option to participate in the benchmark at different levels, with full participation earning eligibility for the overarching Material Change Leaderboard.

  • Full assessment. Companies completing the full survey receive a placement in the Materials Change Leaderboard, Material Circularity Index and Material SDG Index , as well as placements for each Materials module completed
  • Partial assessment. Companies completing one or more Materials modules receive index placements for each module completed.
  • Uptake tracking. Companies reporting on their uptake targets and volumes are listed as participants in the Material Change Index for all reported materials.

To reaffirm our commitment to good data and strong processes, we engaged BSD Consulting to externally assure our process in 2019. Textile Exchange reviews all survey submissions, checks calculations and carries out consistency checks year-on-year, but we do not verify the accuracy of the data. That responsibility remains with the participating company. Click here to view our disclaimer.

"At Inditex, we are committed now and in the future to doing business sustainably and responsibly. As part of this, we have a clear commitment to using resources efficiently in our supply chain. The Corporate Fiber & Materials Benchmark has become a key component of this strategy, enabling us to measure our progress in the use of sustainable raw materials."

– Felix Poza, Inditex

A portfolio approach to preferred materials

Some of the biggest sustainability impacts and “hotspots” of textile production occur in the growing and extracting of raw materials.

The Material Change Index celebrates companies that have taken a “portfolio approach” that involves building a suite of preferred fibers and materials, from a choice of preferred options, through the consideration of impacts and organizational priorities.

Textile Exchange defines a preferred fiber or material as one which results in improved environmental and/or social sustainability outcomes and impacts in comparison to conventional production. Taking a portfolio approach means recognizing that there might not be one single fiber, material or program that meets all requirements or business needs, and that a company’s selection might change over time. It can be achieved by:

  • Building a suite or mix of preferred fibers and materials, based on the consideration of impacts and organizational priorities.
  • Embedding a strategy that leads to preferred options replacing unsustainable or less sustainable options over time — including target setting to align commercial and sustainability teams and drive progress.
  • Having a commitment to integrity and the principles of continuous improvement, thus ensuring the options selected result in a positive impact.

Textile Exchange recognizes that “one size does not fit all” and allows participants to build their own portfolio based on the fiber and materials options and programs their company is implementing. The master list of preferred fibers and materials evolves over time as sustainability innovations prove themselves. Textile Exchange consults widely with its members and NGO partners to ensure the categories are always reflective of the latest thinking.

See our Survey Guide for more information on terminology and definitions.

Being part of the CFMB helps Veja’s team to understand and recognize all the work Veja has been doing by adopting 100% organic cotton in its products and by having built its own supply chain for this crucial material used in the industry. The program also assists the team to comprehend what has been done in relation to other materials and encourages Veja’s team to reach a more sustainable supply chain in the coming years.

– François Ghislain Morillion, Veja