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28 August 2018

SAC material tool helps assess environmental impact

By Global Fashion Agenda

Our Strategic Partner, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) recently announced an update to the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (Higg MSI), a tool enabling businesses to more effectively assess the environmental impact of materials as they design more sustainable products.

The Higg MSI now features 80 base materials, including cotton, polyester and silk. When blended, these account for the majority of all materials the industry currently uses. The update includes a new feature that enables suppliers to share sustainability performance information about their materials with brands and retailers. Such upstream communication promotes greater transparency and improved sustainability performance within the industry.

"With the opportunity to play a key role in determining a product's sustainability performance, being a designer today is really exciting," SAC CEO Jason Kibbey said. "With the Higg MSI, product designers can access an incredible amount of information, and then use it to significantly reduce environmental impacts of materials production."

Increasing transparency through measuring

Applying trusted metrics, the Higg MSI assesses a material's environmental performance and scores the results. Calculations account for energy, water, chemistry and additional impacts used in material production, giving designers greater insight in creating more sustainable apparel. 

For the apparel, footwear and textile industry, this can help companies design products that will attract and retain key consumers, who increasingly demand knowledge of greater transparency in how their clothes and shoes are made. Using more sustainable materials will reduce the environmental impact of global manufacturing and help businesses stay relevant in today's marketplace of increasingly aware consumers.

How it all began

Originally called the Nike Considered Index, the Higg MSI originated at Nike about a decade ago. In seeing the benefit global collaboration would bring ongoing development and industry-wide use of the Higg MSI, Nike contributed the tool to the SAC in 2012. Now one of the six tools comprising the Higg Index, the Higg MSI is considered the leading materials assessment tool for the industry.

"Across VF Corporation and our brands, we integrate material sustainability metrics into design decisions," Sean Cady, Vice President, Global Responsible Sourcing at VF Corporation, said. "The Higg MSI provides an objective, comparable metric, which informs our material choices and allows us to meet consumer expectation and brand promises."

Visit www.msi.higg.org to learn more about the Higg MSI.