New Higg MSI Assesses Sustainability Impacts
of Millions of Materials
August 3, 2020 SAN FRANCISCO — Today, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and Higg Co released a new version of the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (Higg MSI), the leading tool to assess the environmental impact of materials in the apparel, footwear, and textile industry. Now available on the Higg Index platform Higg.org, the Higg MSI can calculate the environmental impacts of millions of possible material manufacturing variations. It empowers brands, retailers, and manufacturers to compare material life-cycle assessment data and make more sustainable design and materials choices. In this new version release, the Higg MSI now offers an enhanced user experience, a new database, and updated scoring.
“The release of the updated Higg MSI is a big milestone for the industry because it provides more accurate and detailed information, allowing users to dive more deeply into material assessment,” says Amina Razvi, Executive Director of the SAC. “With increased use and shared data, the Higg MSI will continue to evolve and become even stronger, helping to drive collective action.”
Key updates to the 2020 Higg MSI include:
Click here to view the full list of updates.
“We use the Higg MSI to understand and measure the environmental impact of Salomon’s materials – we have already scored more than 800 materials so far,” said Céline Mazars, Salomon Material Manager of Footwear. “The final objective is to score our footwear products and be able to give environmental visibility to our end consumer and our B2B clients. In addition, with the Higg MSI, we can communicate about sustainability transparently with our suppliers and collaborate globally to make more sustainable products.”
“The Higg MSI was developed specially for the textile industry through global industry-wide consensus. Before the Higg MSI, no tool in the apparel industry offered common criteria for life-cycle assessments, methodology, and procedures,” said Hidenori Terai, General Manager, Fibers & Textiles GR & LI Business Planning Dept., Toray Industries, Inc. “We use the Higg MSI to showcase our sustainable materials.”
The Higg MSI measures five environmental impacts: chemistry, global warming potential, nutrient pollution in water, water scarcity, and fossil fuel depletion. It also features more than 80 example materials. Example materials represent a material commonly used in the industry such as cotton, leather, polyester, nylon, jute, silk, and metals.
Companies can assess the impact of different materials as they select which ones to use for their products. Take the example of cotton. A brand that wants to lower its environmental footprint can choose to source recycled cotton instead of traditional cotton. A designer or product developer can use the Higg MSI to see the environmental impact of a knit polyester fabric compared to a woven polyester fabric.
The Higg MSI captures how the five environmental impacts would change based on different raw material or production process options, such as switching from batch dyeing to continuous dyeing. In this example, users can see that the switch would typically reduce the amount of water and energy used when dyeing a fabric. Higg MSI users can also customize how their companies uniquely produce materials and use Higg MSI data to help them make more sustainable choices.
“There is a growing conversation about ‘sustainable materials,’ but it’s difficult to know what it actually means for people and the planet and whether it’s really trustworthy information,” said Julie Brown, SAC Director, Higg Index – Higg Product Tools. “Our goal is to pull together the most robust and tested data sources available and translate complex metrics into digestible and actionable guidance to have a positive impact at scale.”
Call to Action for the Industry
The SAC, a global industry coalition that is standardizing social and environmental sustainability performance measurement, is constantly improving and expanding the Higg MSI. Higg MSI users and materials experts are encouraged to contribute material data to the tool’s growing library of materials. Once data is submitted, it is reviewed, verified, and scored by third-party experts. By continuing to increase the data contributed and shared, companies can leverage it to drive transformational change across their company and within the industry.
Still have questions about the Higg MSI? Click here to see the list of FAQs.
About Sustainable Apparel Coalition
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is an industry-wide group of more than 250 leading apparel, footwear and textile, brands, retailers, suppliers, service providers, trade associations, nonprofits, NGOs and academic institutions working to promote social justice throughout the global value chain and reduce the environmental impacts of products. Through multi-stakeholder engagement, the SAC seeks to lead the industry toward a shared vision of sustainability built upon a common approach for measuring and evaluating apparel, footwear and textile sustainability performance that spotlights priorities for action and opportunities for technological innovation. The SAC was incorporated as a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization and launched the groundbreaking Higg Index suite of tools in 2011. In May 2019, the SAC spun-off the Higg Index technology platform to the newly formed Higg Co. For more information, visit www.apparelcoalition.org.
About Higg Co
Higg Co is a technology company formed in 2019 to deliver, implement and support unified sustainability measurement tools for consumer goods industries, beginning with the Higg Index. The Higg Index is a suite of tools, originally developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), that enables brands, retailers and facilities of all sizes — at every stage in their sustainability journey — to accurately measure and score a company or product’s sustainability performance. The Higg Index delivers a holistic overview, enabling businesses to make meaningful improvements that protect the environment, well-being of factory workers and communities. For more information visit www.higg.com.