NEW YORK, Jan. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ANN INC., the parent Company of Ann Taylor and LOFT, today announced its membership in the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), a trade association comprised of brands, retailers, manufacturers, government and non-governmental organizations and academic experts who are committed to supply chain sustainability. The SAC seeks to lead the industry toward a shared vision of sustainability built upon a common approach for measuring and evaluating apparel and footwear product sustainability performance that will spotlight priorities for action and opportunities for technological innovation. ANN INC. is the first women's specialty retailer to join the SAC and shared the announcement at its Global Vendor Conference in Hong Kong, the Company's annual summit for global supply chain vendors. ANN INC.'s decision to join the SAC further underscores the Company's commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability. The Company shared its supply chain environmental program with its global vendors, including the use of the SAC's Sustainability Index, known as the Higg Index, to drive environmental responsibility throughout its supply chain with a priority focus on energy and water management. "At ANN INC. we have a strong commitment to improving the future of the communities where we work and positively impacting future generations. We are pleased that our suppliers share our values and are also focused on driving environmental sustainability throughout their businesses. We are happy to take a leadership position in joining the SAC and believe this demonstrates our commitment to sustainability on a global scale within the women's apparel sector," said Paula Zusi, Executive Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer at ANN INC. "ANN INC.'s addition to the SAC clearly demonstrates the Company's strong leadership position and commitment to sustainability," said Sustainable Apparel Coalition Executive Director Jason Kibbey. "Having ANN INC. join us truly widens the scope of the SAC within the apparel industry." ANN INC. will leverage its existing supplier capacity building platform known as AT Connect, to provide its suppliers with sustainability best practices. ANN INC.'s collaboration with its suppliers has already shown that energy efficiency provides cost savings potential across suppliers' facilities while driving improved carbon emissions. Additionally, focusing on water will reduce compliance risk and drive water management best practices as well as prepare the supply chain for future constraints in water availability.