Sustainable Apparel Coalition Puts Materials in Spotlight

6/14/2013
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) has launched the Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) web tool as a new component to the Higg Index suite of sustainability tools for the apparel and footwear industries.

This interactive new platform visualizes and compares the quantitative section of the MSI scores used in the Higg Index. The goal of the MSI web tool is to dramatically increase transparency into how the quantitative scores of the MSI are derived, as well as allow a means for anyone in the public domain to submit new data to the SAC to improve the quality of the scores.

It is open-source, allowing users to contribute new data, help improve the quality of current data and access the data underlying the MSI scores.

The MSI is a cradle-to-gate index informed by life cycle assessment (LCA)- derived inventory data, intended to engage designers and the global supply chain of apparel and footwear products in environmental sustainability. The MSI web tool integrates and visualizes MSI data and methodology, and enables the SAC and other stakeholders to submit, review, publish and compare MSI data and scores.

Users are encouraged to explore and compare all MSI scores in the tool, with the understanding that these scores account for 50% of the MSI total scores, and should not be used in isolation for selecting environmentally preferable materials. A complete assessment of materials should be done using the Higg Index Product Module, which includes the MSI qualitative scores. 

As more organizations in the footwear and apparel value chain have an opportunity to use and share materials data, the MSI will become a mechanism to promote data transparency and collaboration across the industry, and drive systemic change towards materials sustainability.

The MSI was originally created by Nike and is a result of more than eight years of materials research and analysis. In 2012, it was incorporated into the Higg Index 1.0 and combined with qualitative attributes to assess materials and supplier sustainable practices in the apparel and footwear supply chain.

"We are very excited to launch this new MSI platform, as it will allow people to use, understand and contribute to the data collected on the index in a completely different way, " said Jason Kibbey, executive director for the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. "Nike has been instrumental in this process and we are fortunate for their confidence in the SAC as an impartial editor and aggregator of MSI data."

The SAC invites organizations to submit data on the environmental performance of materials for evaluation for inclusion in the MSI. The deadline for submissions is June 30, 2013.  Any submissions received after this date will be held until the next review cycle, expected to begin in Q1 2014. The SAC's Higg Index 2.0 will compute sustainability scores in part from the data compiled through the updated MSI.
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