INTERVIEW: Higg director says climate change won’t wait for perfect eco measuring tool

Higg is the technological know-how system that presents access to the Higg Index and other frameworks that help firms to evaluate the social and environmental impacts of their price chains.

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), which is a international, multi-stakeholder non-profit alliance for the fashion business, formulated the Higg Index in 2019 to offer a standardised measurement of benefit chain sustainability. It aims to give trend corporations and makes a way of measuring sustainability from uncooked materials to products and solutions, factories to shops and from carbon emissions to doing work situations. 

The Higg Index 

The Index is produced up of five core equipment that alongside one another assess the social and environmental effectiveness of the benefit chain as perfectly as the environmental affect of products. It functions five distinctive modules, including the Higg Brand and Retail Module (BRM). Most not long ago, Higg has released a shorter, streamlined version of the Higg BRM, which is identified as Model and Retail Foundations. It was released to provide a broader audience in just the apparel field and support tiny and medium-sized businesses who may well be at the start out of their sustainability journey.

“Higg is the ideal option on the marketplace now to recognize where by your impact lies so you know the place to start out building change,” East tells Just Style solely. 

Higg, SAC, and how it all suits together 

Higg was introduced in 2019 as a public-reward corporation, East describes, and it is the special licensee of the Higg Index, which he describes as the sector-leading price chain measurement methodology created by the Sustainable Clothing Coalition. 

East states: “The Higg platform presents accessibility to assessment frameworks, analytics, and other tools that show a company’s progress from measuring and managing to sharing source chain effect details.”

He details out the Higg Index is just 1 of the social and environmental measurement frameworks readily available on Higg. Businesses can also obtain the just lately launched carbon management programme made by Carbon RESET for production amenities that perform with the Apparel Impression Institute (Aii).” 

East thinks Higg’s finest problem was commencing the enterprise with far more than 10,000 consumers already committed to making use of the Higg Index methodology.

He explains: “Our instant aim was meeting the pent-up desire for company degree program. We required to scale and proliferate the Higg Index facility and elements resources across our customers’ provider bases and then quickly make the manufacturer, retail and solution applications to enable them go deeper into their worth chains.”

Attire and the Higg Index 

The Higg Index’s Brand name and Retail Module offers a in depth photograph of value chain sustainability by evaluating both of those environmental and social impact regions, which permits brands and retailers to embed their sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) tactics into functions.  

“Brands and shops can discover hotspots and possibilities for advancement within their value chain logistics and operations,” he describes. “The Higg BRM also assesses the numerous existence-cycle phases of a product or service from product sourcing to stop of use. This is at any time far more important specified approaching legislation this kind of as the European Union’s directive for corporate sustainability, the French Labelling Act, or the proposed New York Vogue Act in the US.” 

The BRM also allows for integration of Carbon Disclosure Job (CDP) information, states East, which can help to streamline reporting and allows makes to hook up with benefit chain associates and share results with critical stakeholders.  


Greenwashing statements and Higg 

A modern report from the Modifying Markets Basis is really significant of initiatives, this sort of as the Higg Index, that use metrics and accreditations regarding sustainability claims. 

“The allegation that the organisations and corporations named in the report have a nefarious agenda to boost ‘greenwashing’ among brand names is disturbing,” remarks East. “In point, the Higg system has been produced to enable clear sharing of facts as we feel this is an accelerator for alter. While we thoroughly acknowledge that Higg does not offer the excellent resolution to clear up the local climate crisis, the world doesn’t have time to wait for perfection and we stand driving the comprehensiveness and intent of the Higg Index and other equipment we make out there to our buyers. 

“In mild of the 2022 IPCC report, worldwide emissions of CO2 would require to peak inside three decades to stave off the worst impacts. We just cannot wait and must use the ideal equipment that exist nowadays to evaluate and deal with our sustainability objectives. The Higg Index was made 10 several years in the past to help address this substantial issue, and it continues to be the only framework that can scale at the velocity and complexity necessary.” 

He believes any recommendation that existing approaches develop far more damage than good, could motivate businesses to hold out for perfection. However, he states we need to have motion ideal now blended with the potential to evolve as new science emerges.  

“While Higg supports regulation, we can’t wait until finally governments and policymakers concur on the best route forward, so we need to use the equipment that exist today. Delaying or hindering these efforts will only make the consequences of weather transform worse. Higg is the very best answer on the marketplace currently to comprehend where by your effects lies so you know where to start out generating change. We will continue on to design and style and make to accommodate any new credible facts sources and regulatory necessities as shortly as they are available.”


Using blockchain with Higg 

The traceability associate programme functions Higg and other emerging technological know-how solutions these as, FibreTrace, and TrusTrace, points out East. He explains it is impartial of the Higg Index or SAC’s field transparency programme, even though it is deliberately complementary to each organisations’ shared objective of giving clear field effect info. 

“The traceability programme was developed to enable thorough traceability throughout the world-wide supply chain. It aids Higg clients wishing to delve further in their chain of custody efforts, to gain access to integrated sources of information on the platform. The function is to speedy-observe worldwide brands’ endeavours and uncover the concealed impacts within manufacturing procedures, guarantee fibre integrity, and to recognize, converse, and speed up products sustainability. It will also make it possible for purchaser brand names to establish and share the supply chain provenance of billions of things with their upstream price chain partners, highlight and disclose sustainability information – on their individual and other e-commerce platforms – to the general public and other stakeholders.” 

Social and labour benchmarks 

Earlier this yr (February 2022), Higg updated the Higg Index to incorporate social and labour general performance benchmarks. The Social and Labour Convergence Programme develops the Converged Assessment Framework, which the SAC then uses to notify the Facility Social and Labour Module (FSLM) points out East.

“Higg launched a benchmarking characteristic so FSLM users could glean bigger social and labour insights from the resource by means of the platform. Social and Labour efficiency benchmarking is really significant for two motives.  

“First, most solutions focus on a one environmental influence space such as carbon or chemical substances. Higg’s strategy of furnishing insights for social, labour, and environmental general performance, enables companies to start off getting a in depth photo of their effects. Higg is exceptional and the to start with to give a comprehensive general performance measurement throughout the entire worth chain, including carbon, water, electrical power, social, and labour impacts. 

“Second, Higg end users can examine the environmental and social affect inside their own benefit chain and in opposition to business peers. This, far too, provides corporations a new perspective on their own performance and informs strategic selections to fulfill sustainability goals.” 


Plan and the availability of clear facts is envisioned to enjoy a significant role in incentivising accelerated change in the clothing industry. East suggests: “The Higg Index methodologies had been formulated to accommodate the European Owing Diligence and Item Environmental Footprinting (PEF) needs to support companies as they appraise their supply chains and the environmental impacts of the merchandise they develop.  

“Ultimately, science-primarily based targets will carry on to notify how the measurement tools evolve and how they continue on to give corporations with an more and more extensive look at of their functionality and knowledge.

East Concludes: “From a technological perspective, our purpose is to repeatedly boost how we can use engineering methods and complementary info to superior provide the resources and solutions we give our customers, including the Higg Index.” 

US$50m Collection B funding spherical

Higg is eager for other sectors to be ready to use its benefit chain sustainability index and on 27 April, the organisation declared a effective US$50m Collection B funding spherical as aspect of its program to make this a fact.

Higg clarifies the new funding will speed up its shipping of engineering alternatives and expand the use of the Higg Index in buyer items categories, this kind of as outdoor, automotive, toys, and house items. 

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