About the Award

The Global Leadership Award in Sustainable Apparel (GLASA) was launched in 2013 to inspire bold and courageous leadership in the apparel sector and to mobilize key stakeholders around promising ideas or practices that can significantly increase the sustainability performance of the apparel industry.

The Glasa process aims to

  • Recognize and inspire bolder, courageous leadership.
  • Highlight key issues or themes that are critical for accelerating sustainability performance in the apparel industry.
  • Promote a holistic approach to assessing the sustainability performance of the apparel industry, by not only focusing business initiatives, but on the leadership needed from actors such as non-governmental organizations, academia and research institutes, media and governments.
  • Help bridge the gap between research and experts in various fields and the apparel industry by creating a method to engage them as expert contributors on an on-going basis.
  • Stimulate independent, balanced and constructive debate.
  • Provide inspiration to other industry sectors to do the same.

The GLASA process is coordinated by The Sustainable Fashion Academy (SFA), a not-for-financial-profit organization.

To learn more about SFA, visit sustainablefashionacademy.org.


As analysis increasingly shows that natural resource depletion, environmental degradation in conjunction with social inequalities pose potential threats to future economic growth and social welfare, citizens and decision-makers are turning to key industries and sectors to demand accountability for their social and environmental impacts as well as their leadership in delivering solutions that significantly address these problems.

The apparel sector is one of the most influential. Apparel companies create both jobs and opportunities for self-expression. But in doing so, the industry also struggles to uphold human rights and fair labor standards, and it continues to overuse water, harmful chemicals and greenhouse gases. These pose significant threats to people and the environment throughout apparel supply chains, and even for consumers during and after use.

The encouraging news is that leading apparel, textile and footwear companies are listening and some are even responding, along with government agencies and advocacy organisations. Multi-stakeholder initiatives aimed at improving unsatisfactory labor conditions have put workers’ rights in focus for many years, and more recently environmental performance has taken center stage both as an ethical issue and a strategic business issue. Internationally, other ambitious global initiatives, such as The Sustainable Apparel Coalition and The Better Cotton Initiative have attracted great attention and hold great promise.

These recent developments are extremely positive and we applaud these leaders. However, because the sustainability challenges we are facing are complex and critical, it is difficult to know if this new found enthusiasm for sustainability and these specific initiatives will actually lead to significant improvements along essential sustainability parameters. Are we doing enough? Are we doing the right things? Are we basing our actions on research and scientific analysis, or vested interests? Are we involving all the actors needed to accelerate change, including public, NGO and media actors, and even investors? Are we creating the right mix of incentives to encourage ambitious sustainability efforts? Are we encouraging new sustainable business models to emerge? Will we look back in fifteen years and see significant progress, or only marginal improvements?

GLASA was launched to answer these questions and to highlight, reward and encourage bold initiatives and leaders that will reshape the sector in ways that are truly compatible with people and the planet.  Given the current state of people and the planet, we cannot afford to look back in fifteen years and see we have only made marginal improvements. We need leaders who understand this and act accordingly.