Higg Index Tools

The Higg Index is a suite of five tools that assess and measure the social and environmental performance of the value chain and the environmental impacts of products. We developed these tools to help organizations make systematic change by identifying, understanding, and measuring areas of improvement.

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Product Tools

Purpose: To understand the environmental impacts of different production choices when designing a product

These tools provide insights into environmental impacts of producing materials and products.

Facility Tools

Purpose: To identify opportunities for continuous sustainability improvement in manufacturing facilities

These tools provide insights into social and environmental performance of facilities.

Brand & Retail Tools

Purpose: To identify opportunities for continuous sustainability improvement in company operations

  • BRM

This tool provides insights into social and environmental performance of brands and retailers.

Background

Developed by our coalition of brands, retailers, and manufacturers and launched in 2011, the Higg Index is the most widely used the most widely used standardized measurement framework within the apparel and footwear industry. Today, more than 24,000 organizations around the world use the Higg Index tools.

Covering water use, carbon emissions, labor conditions, and more, the Higg Index tools provide a deep well of data that can be used by brands, retailers, manufacturers, NGOs, and others to identify pain points and develop sustainability strategies that are transforming the industry.

Our impact in numbers

Today, the SAC brings together 300 global brands, retailers, manufacturers, NGOs, academics and industry associations along the supply chain, representing about half of the apparel and footwear industry.

550

organizations engaged in best practice and knowledge sharing in 2023

How to Get Started

Our members receive access to exclusive community support, educational experiences and collaborative opportunities.

The Higg suite of tools offers critical insights that will help inform our overall global sustainability strategy. When implemented across the apparel and footwear industry, the tools provide a vehicle for collective action toward a future of lower impact and total supply chain transparency.

Matt Hamilton, VF Corporation
Director, Sustainable Operations
  • Higg FEM
  • Higg FSLM
  • Manufacturers

CIEL Textile

Learn how one of the world’s leading and most innovative garment and fabrics manufacturers has achieved remarkable results on their journey towards a nature-positive and people-centric future.

Communicating Your Higg Index Performance

Sharing your use of the Higg Index tools to assess and manage environmental and/or social impact helps you:

  • Foster trust with customers and other stakeholders through verified, standardized, and credible data 
  • Continue building trusting relationships with current and prospective value chain partners 
  • Streamline communication with value chain partners 
  • Identify shared opportunities for improvement across the value chain related to protecting human rights and reducing environmental impacts 
  • Attract sustainable investments by demonstrating your commitment to sustainability 
  • Contribute to value chain transparency that consumers are demanding 

Download the full Higg Index Communication Guidelines to learn about best practice when sharing your Higg Index performance.

Access All Tools

Click here to access the Higg Index tools through Worldly’s platform.

What is Worldly?

Worldly is a comprehensive impact intelligence platform which hosts, connects with, and supports leading industry solutions and methodologies including the Higg Index. Worldly is our strategic partner and is an exclusive licensee of the Higg Index suite of tools, which were developed by us at the SAC.

Frequently asked questions

  • What Is the Higg Index?
    The Higg Index is the most comprehensive and holistic framework in the world for measuring sustainability performance in the apparel industry. It features two product-focused tools, two facilities-based tools, and one global tool for brands and retailers. All tools seek to provide a standard process for assessment and communication about social and environmental impacts that can then be used for industry benchmarking. The Higg Index tools have matured into comprehensive, robust offerings ready to scale, forming the basis for understanding performance and improving it over time - both for individual companies and as an industry. The tools reduce audit fatigue and enable all users to focus their time and resources on improving management practices to inform their individual sustainability strategies and drive collective industry transformation.
  • How Does the Higg Index Work and What Does It Measure?
    The Higg Index is a set of five tools that together assess the social and environmental performance of the value chain and the environmental impacts of products. These include the Higg Facility Environmental Module (FEM), Higg Facility Social & Labor Module (FSLM), Higg Brand & Retail Module (BRM), Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI), and Higg Product Module (PM).  Across topics such as water use, carbon emissions, and labor conditions, consumer goods brands, retailers, manufacturers, governments, NGOs, and consumers can use the Higg Index to inform their individual sustainability strategies and drive collective industry transformation. 
  • Who Developed the Higg Index Tools?
    The Higg Index suite of tools were developed by the SAC in collaboration with its multi-stakeholder membership, consisting of leading apparel, footwear, and textile brands, retailers, manufacturers, service providers, trade associations, nonprofits, NGOs, and academic institutions. Technology partner Worldly, industry stakeholders and experts have collaborated with the SAC over the past ten years to offer a standardized approach for both  members and non-members to measure key impact areas.
  • What is the Difference Between Worldly, the Higg Index and the SAC?
    Worldly, formerly Higg Company, was launched in 2019 as a public-benefit technology company to build software for sustainability assessment methodologies. It is a separate company from the SAC. Worldly is the SAC’s strategic partner and an exclusive licensee of the Higg Index.  The SAC created and owns the methodology for the Higg Index to be a standardized sustainability assessment tool for the apparel industry to track and measure their social and environmental impacts. The SAC continues to manage and evolve the methodology for the Higg Index to better meet the needs of the industry.
  • How Many Organizations Are Using the Higg Index Suite of Tools?
    The SAC, in collaboration with our technology partner Worldly, has grown the Higg Index user base to 21,483 organizations across 33 countries. Overall, the Higg Index has more than 45,000 users, including hundreds of brands and tens of thousands of manufacturers.  The purpose of the Higg Index is to help companies measure, track, and make progress toward their sustainability efforts. These tools are standardized, credible business intelligence tools that ensure brands, retailers and manufacturers are all using a common language for sustainability measurement and performance.
  • How Do I Communicate My Higg Index Performance?
    You must follow the Higg Index Communication Guidelines, which have been developed to provide the industry with a unified, consistent, and science-based way to publicly share sustainability performance using the suite of Higg Index tools. Consistent presentation of performance, backed by accurate, credible, and verified data, can prevent companies from making false and misleading greenwashing claims. Sharing Higg Index performance helps you:
    • Foster trust with customers and other stakeholders through verified, standardized, and credible data 
    • Continue building trusting relationships with current and prospective value chain partners 
    • Streamline communication with value chain partners 
    • Identify shared opportunities for improvement across the value chain related to protecting human rights and reducing environmental impacts 
    • Attract sustainable investments by demonstrating your commitment to sustainability 
    • Contribute to value chain transparency that consumers are demanding
    • Prepare for upcoming regulation
    The SAC encourages all Higg Index users to communicate their use of the tools to assess and manage environmental and/or social impacts with customers, stakeholders, and partners.  Examples of successful communication:
    • Include the Higg Index logo on your website in a list of corporate sustainability efforts 
    • Feature the Higg Index in your annual report and explain how your business uses the tools 
    • Share about how you use the tools in press articles, interviews, events, on social media, internally with staff, in collateral to attract new talent, etc.
    However, when communicating general usage of the Higg Index, you may not:
    • Share specific Higg Index scores 
    • Associate the Higg Index with a specific product for which there is no verified performance claim as established in these guidelines (including inclusion or mention on a specific product hangtag) 
    • Imply the SAC’s endorsement of your performance
    Download the full Higg Index Communication Guidelines for more examples of how to follow best practice.