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.
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
- 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 significantly new approach born out of the Coalition’s Convergence Program. This pioneering project unites Coalition members from brands, manufacturers and NGOs around the critical goal of creating one common, verified approach to social assessment across the entire apparel and footwear industry. This will drastically simplify the task of measuring and meeting social-labor standards worldwide, and will help companies evolve beyond compliance of social-labor standards and achieve performance improvement and capacity building. The content created in the Convergence program will be folded in to the upgraded Social and Labor Module, which will be made even more robust with a verification program set to launch in 2017.
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.
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