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Benchmark sustainability practices and apply resources toward improvements to create measurable savings

Facility Tools

Manufacturers use the Higg Facility Modules to measure the social and environmental performance of their facilities. These modules measure impacts at individual facilities, not the parent company as a whole. Users conduct the assessments at least once a year and the Environmental Module assessments are now being verified by SAC-approved, on-site assessors. Benchmarking by facility type allows facility managers to compare their performance against their peers. The module’s aspirational-level questions give manufacturers clear guidance on hotspots for improvement and outline the current best practices in the field.

Environmental Module

Environmental Module

The Facility Environment Module is appropriate for any tier of manufacturing in the apparel, textiles, and footwear industry. It measures:

  • Environmental Management systems
  • Energy use and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Water use
  • Wastewater/effluent
  • Emissions to Air (if applicable)
  • Waste management
  • Chemical use and management

Verification Pilot Program

To increase the robustness of the Higg Index’s Environmental Module, the SAC launched a pilot program in 2015 to create and test a methodology for verifying self-assessment scores. Building consistency and credibility of scores builds trust in Higg Index data, and this helps partners across the value chain to make better sourcing decisions. It dramatically reduces the need for multiple, separate audits, which frees up manufacturers’ resources so they can be directed towards actual capacity building. Importantly, it also shifts the mindset from compliance to performance improvement. Verification is performed on a first come, first served basis for SAC members who submit their factories for verification.  It is completed by SAC-approved verifiers who evaluate, either on-site or off-site (facilities choose which approach they prefer) factories’ programs, documents, and results . The goal of this pilot is to verify at least 200 manufacturing facilities. Lessons learned will help inform the design and implementation of an updated program in the spring of 2016.

Social and Labor Module

Social and Labor Module

The Facility Social and Labor Module (still in Beta testing phase) is appropriate for any tier of manufacturing. It measures facility-level social impacts and the efficacy of social management programs. Specifically it assesses:

  • Facility workforce standards and those of value chain partners
  • External engagement on social-labor issues with other facilities or organizations,
  • Community engagement

Transparency with stakeholders

In the next year, the Social and Labor Module will be upgraded with a significant new approach born of the Social and Labor Convergence Project. This inclusive and multi-stakeholder project, for which the SAC acts as an independent facilitator, unites SAC members and non-SAC members towards a common goal.This pioneering project seeks to develop a simple, unified and effective industry-wide assessment framework that accelerates social progress in the apparel and footwear sector.

The framework uses a descriptive, standard-agnostic, and non-proprietary tool and verification methodology to collect relevant and essential data, and it replaces the proprietary tools that are currently used. A common framework for data collection will reduce duplicated efforts and allow resources that were previously designated for compliance audits to be redirected toward the improvement of social and labor conditions.  It will also allow business partners to measure continuous improvement and increase the opportunity for transparency. This will accelerate the social impacts of all stakeholders’ efforts and support sustained improvements of working conditions in the apparel and footwear sector.

Higg Index Access for Non-Member Manufacturers

Apparel, footwear, and home textiles manufacturers have the unique option of using the Higg Index without becoming a member of the SAC. However, only by joining the SAC can they enjoy the full benefits of membership.

Ready to join the SAC?

We are building the future of the apparel, footwear, and home textiles industry, and we welcome you to join us.