Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and Higg Co launch the Higg Product Module (Higg PM), a sustainability tool that assesses the environmental impact of manufactured products.
The launch of the Higg PM rounds out the core suite of tools on the Higg Index platform, Higg.org. With methodology developed by the SAC and technology provided by Higg Co, the Higg PM reflects the work and expertise of more than 70 SAC member companies over nearly four years.
The Higg PM is a life cycle assessment tool that guides brands, retailers, and manufacturers to calculate product and supply chain performance in five environmental impact categories: global warming potential, water scarcity, eutrophication, fossil fuel resource depletion, chemistry.
The module will be released in two phases. The first offers product assessment from “cradle to factory gate,” including materials production. It measures impacts from the point of resource extraction to finished product assembly. The second edition, in development and expected to launch in early 2021, further expands assessments to include retail and packaging, distribution, product care, duration of service, and end of use.
“This groundbreaking tool offers the apparel, footwear, and textile industry the most robust and relevant data available to assess the environmental performance of products,” says SAC executive director Amina Razvi. “The Higg Product Module will open new opportunities for the industry to increase product transparency and sustainability performance on a global scale.”
The core Higg Index suite features five tools that measure social and environmental sustainability management across the value chain. The tools take a holistic approach to measuring and tracking sustainability performance rather than looking at siloed metrics. Use of Higg Index tools helps companies understand and benchmark their impacts to improve their sustainability management and performance practices year on year.
“Brands and retailers are looking for tools to help with sustainable sourcing decisions, circular design, and transparency,” says Cotton Incorporated’s director of product integrity Michele Wallace. “While no tool is completely comprehensive, the Higg Product Module is designed to take a closer look at the impacts of specific categories.”
Companies anticipate they will eventually need to back up sustainability claims in Europe and beyond, with a standard methodology. Once the PEF methodology is finalized, it will also be implemented as part of the Higg PM to ensure alignment and compatibility with the anticipated EU standard.
This tool gets the apparel and textile industry another step closer to communicating about the total environmental and social impact of products, allowing end-users to play a role in sustainability.