In 2011, the SAC adopted the Outdoor Industry Association’s (OIA) Eco Index, a tool that provided a standardized framework and language to assess product‐level sustainability.
With the vision of creating a tool to standardize sustainability for the entire industry value chain, the SAC built upon the Eco Index to collaboratively develop the Higg Index.
Today, the Higg Index enables the entire apparel, footwear, and textile industry to assess the environmental and social impacts of its products, benchmark manufacturing sustainability, identify areas for improvement, and make informed sourcing and product life cycle decisions throughout the value chain.
Most recently, OIA partnered with the SAC and the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Programme (ZDHC) to develop the new chemicals section in the Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM). Higg FEM replaces the standalone OIA Chemicals Management Module Facilities Indicators, with the intention to merge the additional OIA Chemicals Management Module Indicators for brands and retailers into future Higg Index updates as well.
In 2017 OIA launched an industry-wide adoption campaign of the Higg Index. The objective was to increase Higg Index awareness, promote industry adoption, and gather the aggregate data of posted modules from outdoor industry companies. The targeted industry campaign resulted in an 83% increase of outdoor industry Higg.org accounts, totaling 128. In 2018, OIA is moving forward with the second year of its outdoor industry Higg Index adoption campaign and is working with its task teams to begin setting industry-wide impact reduction goals.
The Higg Index is the result of hundreds of organizations across multiple industries coming together to align around best practices. It represents the value of pre-competitive collaboration we have seen in the outdoor industry throughout its history. Our partnership with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition has allowed our industry to realize the vision we had over ten years ago when a handful of companies first met to discuss how we could work together on sustainability best practices, ensuring the gear we make and use isn’t coming at the expense of the environment or the public lands we work so hard to defend. We remain committed to the Higg Index, both for its roots in the outdoor industry and for its ability to help us move forward, together.
Amy Roberts, Executive Director, OIA