Sustainable Apparel Coalition Improves Higg Index Usability

12/11/2013
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition unveiled an updated version of the Higg Index, a sustainability measurement tool for the industry's supply chain.

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition is committed to the continual improvements of the Higg Index, and the updated Higg Index 2.0 reflects 18 months of development effort.  

This latest iteration brings the Index to an online platform developed by Schneider Electric, adding the ability to share users' sustainability data, increase accuracy and add measurability for new materials and processes, allowing for greater transparency and validation. This ability to share information between the entire supply chain marks a first for sustainability measurement.

The Index has also expanded its sustainability coverage by adding modules to assess social and labor impacts for manufacturers and brands. Further, Higg Index 2.0 for the first time addresses footwear by adding a footwear brand module and allowing for footwear facility assessment within the facility module.  Lastly, the Index has improved upon its environmental content by improving brand and facility assessments and considering chemical impacts.

The Higg Index was introduced in 2012 to better measure the comprehensive environmental and social impacts of apparel and footwear products, and since then has allowed more than 100 companies to identify opportunities to reduce impacts and improve long-term sustainability.

"We are very excited to share this new version of the Higg Index with our members. Not only have we expanded the Index to be more comprehensive, but we've also added a new level of engagement where our members can interact and share knowledge and assessments on a level that hasn't been done before, and speed the adoption of sustainable measures within the value chain," said Sustainable Apparel Coalition executive director Jason Kibbey.

Added and improved content in the Higg Index 2.0 includes:
  • The Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) web tool, an apparel and footwear materials list released in June and since expanded to include sustainability metrics on 45 materials.
  • Content from the Chemicals Management Module, which was co-created through a joint working group between the Outdoor Industry Association and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition.  The indicators from this work served as a key input into the improvements made in the Higg Index 2.0 on chemicals management.
  • New social and labor modules.  Social and labor impact content is currently in the beta content phase with plans to expand in future iterations of the Higg Index.
"This latest iteration of the Higg Index is a great next step for our members and for the industry as a whole," explained Kibbey.  "The revisions and additions that we made in this new version significantly improve the way sustainability is assessed.  Also, we understand that successfully addressing sustainability requires a new form of collaboration, and the Higg Index 2.0 facilitates the engagement process. 

"For the first time ever, users can interact through our platform and share sustainability information with each other in a very quick and simple way. With this new tool, we have the leverage to reach the tens of thousands of organizations in the supply chain who may not even know what sustainability is," said Kibbey.
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