In episode 175 of the Disruptors for GOOD podcast, I speak with Lewis Perkins, President of the Apparel Impact Institute, on raising a $250M Climate Fund and scaling proven systems and ideas to transform the textile industry towards a sustainable future.
The Apparel Impact Institute (aii) is a nonprofit organization that is working to address these environmental issues by identifying, funding, scaling, and measuring proven environmental impact solutions in the apparel and footwear industry.
About Lewis Perkins
Lewis Perkins is the President of the Apparel Impact Institute(Aii).
Before joining the Aii, Perkins served as President of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute (C2CPII).
While leading the Institute’s Fashion Positive initiative, he engaged with designers, manufacturers, brands, and influencers to develop Cradle to Cradle Certified TM materials and products that aligned with circular economy principles.
Prior to his time at C2CPII, Perkins worked as a consultant, supporting corporations and organizations in developing social and environmental programs.
He also served as Director of Sustainable Strategies for The Mohawk Group, a renowned carpet manufacturer and commercial division of Mohawk Industries.
“We are living in an exciting time for the apparel industry. I am inspired by the increased commitment to sustainability and sense of urgency around the need to reduce negative impacts and accelerate positive ones. However, we are at that critical point for our planet where we need to translate this momentum into real action immediately. Every player across the apparel & footwear industry’s value chain, large and small, has the collective power to do just that.” – Lewis Perkins
About The Apparel Impact Institute
Aii’s mission is to create a more sustainable and environmentally friendly apparel and footwear industry by identifying, funding, scaling, and measuring proven environmental impact solutions.
Their vision is to transform the fashion industry into a force for good, ensuring that all apparel and footwear are made in a way that is safe for the environment, workers, and communities.
Aii focuses on a few key areas: energy, water, and chemistry.
These areas are critical for the fashion industry because they have a significant impact on the environment.
The organization works with its partner brands, manufacturers, and philanthropic donors to identify and implement solutions that reduce the industry’s impact on the environment.
Aii is working to reduce the fashion industry’s reliance on fossil fuels by identifying and implementing energy-efficient solutions. This includes using renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydro power.
The apparel industry is a significant consumer of water, and it is responsible for a significant amount of water pollution. Aii is working to reduce the industry’s water consumption and improve the quality of the water it uses.
The fashion industry uses a variety of chemicals in the production of apparel and footwear, and many of these chemicals are harmful to the environment and human health. Aii is working to identify safer alternatives and to reduce the use of harmful chemicals in the industry.
The $250M Fashion Climate Fund
The Fashion Climate Fund is a $250 million initiative that will bring together both industry and philanthropic sources to unlock a total of $2 billion in blended capital.
This capital will be directed towards verified impact solutions that aim to remove up to 150 million tonnes of CO2 from the apparel supply chain.
The fund is aligned with the Climate Solutions Portfolio, which will serve as a transparent registry of all the programs and pilots being run.
The Aii has worked closely with strategic partners to develop this innovative funding model, including research from the World Resources Institute and the Aii’s Roadmap to Net Zero report.
The Unlocking the Trillion-dollar Fashion Decarbonization Opportunity Report, authored by Aii and Fashion for Good, was also instrumental in shaping the fund’s objectives.
The Fashion Climate Fund will support impact programs from pre-seed to pilot to scale, using both philanthropic and industry corporate treasury funds.
In addition, the fund will increase access to blended capital, including debt and equity, to enable effective scaling of the initiatives.
Grant is the founder of Causeartist, one of the most influential impact business platforms in the world. Since 2013, Causeartist has been read in over 150 countries. Grant has personally interviewed 700+ impact entrepreneurs from around the world, highlighting innovations in ethical fashion, climate change, ethical technology, impact investing, and sustainable travel.