Sustainable Apparel Coalition and Higg launch new program for publicly sharing data on a product’s environmental impact.
Transparency is understood to be a critical prerequisite for sustainability in the fashion industry. It is increasingly demanded by a variety of stakeholders, making the need for innovative means of assessing and communicating transparency imperative.
In the first step towards truly revolutionising the industry, on 27 May 2021 our Strategic Partner, Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), together with Higg, launched the new Higg Index transparency programme for publicly sharing data on a product’s environmental impact, commencing with a products material content.
Based upon a decade of research, tool development, consumer testing and contributed environmental impact data, this pioneering tool is a ground-breaking step towards a consistent and unified method for brands, retailers, and manufacturers to communicate sustainability information on apparel and footwear products.
The Index will leverage information such as water use, greenhouse gas emissions, and use of fossil fuels and subsequently provide consumers with what previously may have been difficult information to obtain. At the core of the programme is the Higg Index Sustainability Profile, a scorecard for communicating a product’s environmental impact.
Already committed to implement the first phase of the programme on a variety of products are: Amazon, Boozt, C&A, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger (owned by PVH Corp.), Columbia Sportswear, H&M, Helly Hansen, JustWears, Lenzing AG, Norrona, PUMA, Salomon, and Zalando.
Upon launch, the initial focus is the environmental impacts of a product’s material, utilising data from the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI), part of the Higg Index tools developed by the SAC. The Higg MSI tool is made use of by designers, product developers, and analysts to make sense of the costs, benefits, and trade-offs of different materials that serve the same functional purpose. Upon assessment using the Higg MSI, companies can effectively communicate this information in a highly accessible way.
In the next two years, however, the Higg Index will encompass additional information to cover manufacturing, through the Higg Facility Environmental Module (FEM), and brand and retail operations data, through the Higg Brand & Retail Module (BRM). By 2023, the programme will also cover social data from facilities, and in turn becoming the first holistic system for communicating sustainability performance across a product’s lifecycle.
Despite the constant evolution of the Higg Index tools on the basis of scientific and technological advancements, the tools are currently the most complete and extensively implemented value chain sustainability measurement tools in the industry.
The SAC, Higg, and their various launch partners will endeavour to continue to learn and improve the tools and the programme will evolve together with consumer, stakeholder, and government demands. Better data will continue to strengthen these tools over time.
This marks a significant step towards empowering companies, consumers and all relevant stakeholders to make informed decisions bettering people and the planet.
Read more about the programme HERE.
Sustainable Apparel Coalition is one of Global Fashion Agenda’s Strategic Partners. Find out more about our partners HERE.