A Common Language for Communicating A Product’s Impacts

The Higg Index Transparency Program is developed by the SAC, in conjunction with our technology partner Higg Co. The program has been developed to provide companies with a unified, consistent, and science-based way to substantiate claims through credible science and trustworthy data from the Higg Index. Our mission is to provide the consumer goods industry with the leading transparency framework enabling the communication of sustainability performance of products which is verified, comprehensive and scalable.

The SAC has seen the imperative to align our industry behind a uniform approach in order to combat inconsistent, incomparable, unsubstantiated, and vague claims, which make it difficult for stakeholders and consumers to verify whether products were actually made in a way that supports people and the planet.

The SAC believes that standardized, verified, and consistent measurement frameworks are key to transforming business for exponential impact. That is why we have spent the past eight years engaging with members, internal and external stakeholders, and policy makers, to provide valuable insights to help us create and refine our approach to this program.

The heart of this work is ensuring that companies can make accurate and reliable product claims. This is why the Higg Index suite of tools, currently the most comprehensive and widely-adopted value chain sustainability measurement tools in the industry, is leveraged as the foundation of the Higg Index Transparency Program.

Transparency is the essential first step for change at every level of the apparel industry—for promoting accountability among brands, tracking progress across supply chains, and arming consumers with the insights they need to make better choices. That all requires collaboration, consistency, and comparable data. And this is where the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is in an exciting position. Leveraging its deep industry relationships and the rich Higg Index, the SAC has a unique role to play in driving a uniform and robust approach to brand and manufacturer disclosure. We, at Good On You, share this vision, and by elevating this data and making it more accessible to consumers, we intend to play a key role in this transition.

Sandra Capponi, Co-Founder, Good On You

How it Works

  • The Higg Index Transparency Program provides a unified, consistent, and science-based way to substantiate claims through a credible transparency framework and trustworthy data from the Higg Index.
    • We call this approach On Product Transparency. OPT is the delivery of systematic, consumer-facing, product-level sustainability performance disclosures across the marketplace.
  • SAC members participate in the Higg Index Transparency Program by implementing verified claims of sustainability performance on a product level through the Higg Index Sustainability Profiles or the Higg Index Seal.
    • A Sustainability Profile may be included on a brand or retailer’s product display page on their e-commerce website to help shoppers make more informed purchasing decisions. All Sustainability Profiles are hosted on a public-facing section of the Higg platform at profiles.higg.com.
    • The Higg Index Materials seal offers an at-a-glance method for consumers to identify products with lower environmental impact when compared to products with conventionally-produced materials. The seal was designed for e-commerce settings where integration of a complete Sustainability Profile is not possible, such as a third-party retailer website
  • The Higg Index Transparency Program was developed according to our 6 principles of Transparency: comprehensive information, science-based methodology, verified and trusted data, scaleability, standardized methodology and with a layered approach to communication.

Consumers and stakeholders can view product level impact scores in the following categories :

  • Global Warming
  • Fossil Fuels
  • Water Use
  • Water Pollution

Where the program is today

Today, the first phase of The Higg Index Transparency Program focuses on assessing the cradle-to-gate environmental impact of a product’s materials. To date, the program has approved more than 4,000 product claims to be communicated across 67 brands, facilitated by our implementation partners.

Where we are going

In our approach to facilitate the industry’s most comprehensive claims, the future phases of our program will introduce additional dimensions of sustainability performance.

  • Traceability and environmental performance of facilities, as measured by the FEM
  • Brand corporate responsibility performance, as measured by the BRM
  • Product design intent, as measured by life cycle assessment tools (cradle to grave)
  • Social / labor performance of facilities, as measured by the FSLM

Brand Participant: PVH

What value did the transparency program bring to your company?

Internally, joining the pilot provided tools to make better sourcing decisions and to quantify our environmental impact through reliable data. Additionally, it allowed us to understand the tools, systems, and processes we need in place to scale across all product categories. Externally, the pilot helped us to begin to understand how consumers’ purchasing decisions are impacted when this additional information was provided.  

How is the transparency program helping your company achieve long-term goals to reduce environmental impact?

The data from the program allows us to quantify our impact, provides supporting rationale for the timeliness of driving adoption of sustainable materials, and positions our business to better understand our consumers interest and demand of our products crafted with sustainable materials.  As part of PVH’s Forward Fashion strategy, we have set a “Regenerate Materials” target focused on transitioning key products and packaging materials to sustainable alternatives. We aim to sustainably source 100% of our cotton and viscose by 2025, and 100% of polyester by 2030. In seeking to operationalize these goals, we are working across the organization to develop sustainable material adoption roadmaps, demonstrating how we are phasing down the use of conventional materials and scaling procurement and adoption of more sustainable materials with lower environmental impacts.  

 

– Meghan Schulze, Global Sustainability Strategy & Communications, Tommy Hilfiger/PVH

Take Part

We have long envisioned a future where consumers and stakeholders have access to comparable, data-driven, trusted, and actionable sustainability performance information that allows them to make more informed decisions and drive exponential impact. Together with the help of our implementation partners, we are well on our way to making that vision a reality.

Join us in expanding the reach of the Higg Index Transparency Program through participation or fill out the “register your interest” form below.

Contact us at transparency@apparelcoalition.org.


Register your interest

Are you already an SAC Member?

Sustainable Apparel Coalition

“Transparency itself is not the end game, but it’s a critical step for transforming the industry and establishing a new era of accountability. By leveraging the Higg Index — starting first with environmental data and then expanding to include social impacts — we can help both businesses and consumers make better decisions, and drive collective action at scale.”

Amina Razvi
Executive Director