Sustainable Apparel Coalition

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Higg Index Verification You Can Trust

The updated Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM) offers apparel, footwear, and textile organizations around the world a comprehensive self-assessment tool for measuring environmental sustainability performance in factories. But how do we know the data submitted can be trusted? How can supply chain partners confirm responses entered in the Higg FEM questionnaire offer an accurate picture of a facility’s environmental sustainability performance?

With the SAC’s new verification program, manufacturers, brands, and retailers can validate the accuracy of information submitted through the Higg FEM and confidently share their results with supply chain partners.

We recently teamed up with Sumerra, a global consulting company that assists organizations in creating sustainable supply chain practices. Together, we built a robust Higg FEM verification program to offer experienced and qualified supply chain verifiers the ability to verify Higg FEM data and scores.

Upon qualification for the training, successful completion of the coursework, and passing a proctored exam, verifiers can verify Higg FEM self-assessment scores submitted by factories. Higg Index customers around the world can hire vetted verifiers to validate data that factories have submitted into the Higg FEM.

Additionally, the SAC launched a Higg FEM Trainer program to support facilities in improving their sustainability knowledge and competency in completing the Higg FEM self-assessment. Higg FEM trainers will go through a similar process as Higg FEM verifiers to qualify for the program and become trained on the Higg FEM. Facilities will have the opportunity to hire these Higg FEM trainers to learn more about sustainability impact areas covered in the Higg FEM and how to complete the assessment as part of their continuous performance improvement.

Alleviating redundant audits is one of the most significant advantages to using the Higg Index. Factories can complete the Higg FEM self-assessment and hire an approved verifier just once to confirm the accuracy of that year’s data and scores. They no longer have to face the burden of prolonged and excessive audits for various brand and retail customers. Instead, factories can focus on implementing successful and sustainable business operations, advancing towards greater performance improvement.

Verification helps strengthen the autonomy of facilities around the world, so they can operate more confidently and transparently with their supply chain partners. Through this ongoing collaboration, we hope to empower the entire supply chain to drive measurable performance improvement and impact.

As 2020 nears, we get closer to the SAC’s vision of full Higg Index transparency. Training and verification will play an instrumental role in achieving this goal. As we prepare our members and global Higg Index users to communicate their Higg Index scores with consumers, we know they can reliably confirm scores from facilities that use the Higg FEM. Consumers need to know they can trust these numbers, too.

Learn More about the programs and apply

Applications for approved verifiers and training providers will be accepted on an ongoing basis.

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The Apparel Industry Can Collaborate Globally with the Higg Index

You may not know it by the end result – gorgeous, seasonal temptations beckoning to consumers from shop windows — but behind the scenes, the apparel industry is often defined by hurdles. Every day, manufacturers, brands, and retailers struggle against language barriers, cultural differences, trans-Pacific time zones, and miscommunications about orders on tight deadlines. This is all part of the demand to produce apparel for the global market. For factories, these challenges are frequently compounded by the fear of losing the business of leading brands and retailers if strict demands cannot be met.

At the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, we value partnership and collaboration, and depend on these values to move the industry forward. This month, we introduced a new Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM), a tool whose improvements were more than two years in the making. Our updated Higg Index tool offers a global standard for measuring sustainability at apparel, footwear, and textile factories, worldwide. It measures water use, gas emissions, waste management, and chemicals management to assess and benchmark sustainable manufacturing.

Perhaps above all, Higg FEM breaks down the silos that have traditionally defined the apparel industry. This new tool, like all the tools in the Higg Index suite, enables open, honest conversation about facility performance so that value chain partners can collaborate with one another rather than through the top-down approach that has characterized the industry for centuries.


The improved tool encourages collaboration among brands, retailers, and manufacturers on a global scale. Eight thousand businesses already use the tool because the improved Higg FEM creates the transparency our industry needs. It helps businesses understand each other and facilitates improvements at factories year over year. Thanks to its trusted analytics, it also significantly reduces audit fatigue. No other tool does all this. And any factory in the world can easily use Higg FEM.

The Higg FEM is part of a broader set of tools that measure retailers, brands, facilities, materials, and products. Our tools measure many different stages of the value chain and allow actors throughout it to improve. While Higg FEM is a critical tool for improvement, we recognize that responsibility for improvement lies throughout the chain when actors utilize the entire Higg toolset.

To promote our highly-anticipated release of Higg FEM, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition recently launched a new campaign, Link by Link, to further unite the value chain on a global scale. Our goal is for 20,000 facilities and 400 brands to register to use the Higg FEM by the end of 2018. If we work together to meet this goal, we can achieve the transformative change we know is possible for our industry. Members of the SAC may compete in the marketplace, but they all value the importance of manufacturing their products responsibly. Using the Higg Index makes this possible.

Learn More about Higg Facility Tools

Use Higg Index Facility tools to collaborate with your value chain.

Developed by the SAC’s 200-plus members, the improved web-based Higg FEM introduces questions tailored to a business’ needs. Water consumption, gas emissions, and chemicals management are just three of the areas assessed. Earlier versions of the tool have already saved businesses millions of dollars, while simultaneously enabling facilities to reduce negative environmental impacts, and make improvements every year.

Upon completing the Higg FEM self-assessment online, factories can, with the click of a button, share their results with their peers and business partners. The tool creates a dialog that will help the industry collectively improve year over year. We have already seen such transparency encourage collaboration between facilities and suppliers on a small scale — now we want to expand it globally.

Our industry is at a tipping point, and we have the opportunity to meaningfully change it through this standardized and trusted system of measurement. Let’s unite the value chain and empower the factories upon whom we all depend to produce apparel, footwear, and textiles. If we champion them, listen to them, and support them, we can achieve transformative change.

Sustainable Apparel Coalition / 82 Second Street / San Francisco, CA 94105