Apparel, footwear, and textile production takes place at hundreds of thousands of factories globally. These facilities play a key role in the overall sustainability of the industry.
Manufacturers use the Higg facility modules to measure the social and environmental performance of their facilities. These modules measure impacts at individual factories, not the parent company as a whole. Users conduct the assessments at least once a year, and these assessments are then verified by SAC-approved, on-site assessors.
Benchmarking by facility type allows facility managers to compare their performance against that of their peers.
The modules’ aspirational-level questions give manufacturers clear guidance on hotspots for improvement and outline the current best practices in the field.
The Higg facility tools create opportunities for open conversation among supply chain partners so businesses at every tier in the value chain collectively perform better.
Higg Facility Environmental Module
The environmental cost of producing and wearing clothes is high. Making a typical pair of jeans can require nearly 2,000 gallons of water and 400 megajoules of energy. Once purchased, caring for that same pair of jeans throughout its lifespan can cause more than 30 kilograms of carbon dioxide to be emitted. That’s equivalent to running a garden hose for two hours, driving a car 78 miles, or powering a computer for 556 hours.
The Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM) informs brands, retailers, and manufacturers about the environmental performance of their individual facilities, so they can make improvements that reduce negative impacts such as these. This module can be used by manufacturers at any tier of the apparel, footwear, and textile industry supply chain.
Manufacturers should be able to have an honest discussion with brands. Unless open honest conversations are had, we cannot solve the challenges. The Higg should enable this. With Higg Index, brands and manufacturers know the standards and the expectations. We can have discussions across the value chain. It’s about having a conversation and being able to solve our problems together.
Eranthi Premaratne, Director of Sustainable Business for KREEDA
Download sample Higg FEM questions
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The Higg FEM measures:
- Environmental management systems
- Energy use and greenhouse gas emissions
- Water use
- Emissions to air (if applicable)
- Waste management
- Chemical use and management
In November 2017, the SAC released an updated version of the Higg FEM. It introduces improved sustainability assessment capabilities. By directing questions specific to a facility’s outputs, it provides greater scoring accuracy.
By using the Higg Facility Environmental Module, in the first 3 years alone, our suppliers implemented 250 energy savings programs that have saved them over $3.5 million in energy costs. This is a win-win for our suppliers and our business. We are proud of the work of our suppliers to achieve these efficiencies while improving their Higg performance and reducing the environmental impact of our supply chain.
Jeannette Ferran Astorga, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Ascena Retail Group, parent Company of Ann Taylor & LOFT brands
Higg Facility Social & Labor Module
Consumers are demanding transparency around working conditions and the treatment of the individuals who labor at every step of the supply chain. Meeting this demand is a complex challenge, but one that will be solved through collective commitment. To meaningfully improve social and labor conditions for the workers who produce billions of garments, textiles, and footwear each year, brands and manufacturers need to help create and support safe and fair working conditions for all.
The Higg Facility Social & Labor Module (Higg FSLM) is a tool dedicated to promoting safe and fair social and labor conditions for supply chain workers globally. It enables manufacturing facilities to measure their social impacts across the value chain. It also assesses the efficacy of social management programs. The Higg FSLM is appropriate for any tier of manufacturing.
- Facility workforce standards and those of value chain partners
- External engagement on social & labor issues with other facilities or organizations
- Community engagement
The Higg FSLM will be directly informed by the findings of the Social&Labor Convergence Project (SLCP). The SAC will integrate the results of the SLCP into the Higg FSLM tool by 2019. Learn more about the SLCP.
With the Higg FSLM being built on the SLCP assessment framework, we can help the industry shift towards convergence and a clear focus on impactful improvements of social and labor conditions in the value chain.
Janet Mensink, SAC Project Director Social & Labor Practices