International Associates Limited is accredited by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition as a Verifier body
The Higg Index provides a tool for the apparel and footwear industry to assess sustainability throughout a product’s entire life cycle, from materials to end-of-life.The metrics created by the Higg Index are limited to a company’s internal use for the evaluation and improvement of environmental performance. Plans for a future version include the creation of a scoring scale designed to communicate a product’s sustainability impact to consumers and other stakeholders.
The scheme covers two aspects the Environmental FEM assessments and also social impacts. Businesses of all sizes can use the Higg Brand & Retail Module (Higg BRM) to measure the environmental and social impacts of their operations and make meaningful improvements.
What is HIGG Index?
The Higg Index enables and encourages brands, retailers, and manufacturers to become transparent by communicating clear, comparable, and meaningful sustainability scores publicly. Using one common language to share sustainability efforts will allow consumers to make better-informed purchasing decisions.
Higg Index transparency will ensure accountability and enable the apparel industry to thrive responsibly. To support members as they become more transparent, the SAC will provide communication toolkits that offer guidelines and support for transparency.
The Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM)
The FEM audit program focuses on these elements:
- Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
- Energy use
- Water pollution
- Hazardous chemicals
- Animal welfare
- Environmental management systems
- Energy use and greenhouse gas emissions
- Water use
- Emissions to air (if applicable)
- Waste management
- Chemical use and management
Higg Facility Social &Labour Module
The labour module looks at labour standards including:-
- Child labour
- Forced labour
- Sexual harassment and gender-based violence
- in the workplace
- Non-compliance with minimum wage laws
- Bribery and corruption
- Working time
- Occupational health and safety
- Responsible sourcing
Higg Index Verification process
Verifying your Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM) starts with a self-assessment, whichimproves the credibility and comparability of your sustainability scores, giving you better information for benchmarking and goal setting.
Then a General Specialist evaluates a factory’s Higg FEM self-assessment.And if necessary a Chemical Specialist verifier reviews any chemical process applicable.
You then are able to schedule an onsite verification assessment, during which the self-assessmentwill be evaluated.
Once you received the finalized report, you are able to upload it to the Higg Platform
What is the difference between Higg Index verification and a factory audit?
Higg FEM Verification is not a pass/fail audit; it’s simply a means to verify you understood and answered your Higg FEM self-assessment questions correctly. There are no corrective action plans or follow-up visits.
SAC members are committed to using Higg FEM to evaluate facility environmental performance. Verified scores provide them the trusted information they seek, reducing the need for multiple, proprietary audits.
What are the benefits of verification?
In addition to increasing trust in the Higg Index score provided by a factory, using the self-assessment questionnaire will raise awareness of sustainability and act as a driver forcontinuous improvement. The scheme streamlines the process of finding new business. Importantly, SAC members must accept each other’s reports. Higg Index verification from International Associated Limited reduces duplication of effort.
An independently verified score can be presented to multiple suppliers/customers with confidence. It also reduces the need for additional site inspections, saving management time and money. On completion, the factory can post and share its Higg index verification results on an online platform (Higg.org) and share it with brands and retailers. Note: it cannot be shared publically.
How does the Grading Criteria work
Each factory must complete the FEM module on an annual basis. Higg FEM evaluates the environmental performance of the factory in each natural year from January to December The Higg FEM verified score is based on the percentage of completed applicable questions.