Fibre2Fashion: The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) has released the 2018 Higg Facility Modules on Higg.org. The SAC is an industry-wide group of leading apparel, footwear, and textile, brands, retailers, suppliers, service providers, trade associations, nonprofits/NGOs, and academic institutions working to reduce the environmental impacts of products around the world.
The Higg Facility Modules are part of the Higg Index, a suite of sustainability assessment tools to address value chain inefficiencies, resolve damaging practices, and achieve the environmental and social transparency consumers are demanding, according to a media statement from SAC.
Factories can use the updated Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM) and the Higg Facility Social & Labour Module (Higg FSLM), which is accessible online for the first time, to evaluate value chain sustainability performance.
The Higg FEM assessment measures factories’ environmental management systems, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, water use, wastewater, emissions to air, waste management, and chemical use and management. The new web-based Higg FSLM introduces the industry’s first standardised self-assessment for measuring factories’ social and labour performance.
Informed by the Social and Labour Convergence Project, the SAC developed the Higg FSLM to evaluate recruitment and hiring practices, working hours, wages and benefits, employee health and safety, and community engagement, among other areas. The SAC is working toward accreditation as a host of the converged assessment and will release a scored version of Higg FSLM at the end of 2019.
Upcoming features of Higg.org include improved analytics and benchmarking of sustainability data. Factories can review scores within the platform and compare their own results to those of industry peers. Higg Index customers can also use the data from the assessments to identify near and long-term performance improvement opportunities. In early 2019, the platform will support Higg Index verification, which is helpful for facilities that want to share verified scores with business partners. The verification functionality enables factories, brands, and retailers to better communicate and collaborate to identify actionable improvement opportunities and develop performance improvement plans.
Historical data indicates that factories that use the Higg Index annually improve sustainability performance. The self-assessments empower manufacturers to advance the industry from one of compliance-based audits to one of self-reliant sustainability management, which alleviates the top-down tensions of traditional industry audits.
SAC brand member H&M Group is encouraged by the collaborative commitments the Higg Index has inspired throughout the industry.
“We were the first brand to roll out Higg FEM at 100 per cent of our tier 1 and strategic tier 2 suppliers. Now we look forward to more brands committing to roll out the Higg tools full-scale. Only then can we together achieve comparability across the industry, which in turn is key to empower informed choices through transparency,” Anna Gedda, head of sustainability H&M Group said.