Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) applauds the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and its launch of the Higg Index 2.0.
This innovative web tool is designed to help companies evaluate the impact of their products and improve social and environmental responsibility throughout the supply chain. It is the latest evolution of the groundbreaking product sustainability index that Outdoor Industry Association’s Sustainability Working Group (OIA SWG) began developing in 2007.
Fast becoming the global standard for assessing the sustainability of apparel and footwear in the supply chain, the Higg Index, whose first iteration was launched in July 2012, is an indicator-based tool that enables companies to evaluate material types, facilities, and brand-level practices.
A web tool for product assessment is also being launched, and full product assessment capability will be integrated into the next version of the Higg Index. The Higg 2.0 has its foundation in both the Eco Index, the first tool developed by OIA SWG, as well as Nike’s Environmental Design Tool. With indicators that span the entire product life cycle, 2.0 asks qualitative questions to gauge both environmental and social sustainability practices and drive behavior for improvement.
“This next iteration of the Higg Index raises the bar even further on our collective industry efforts to benchmark and measure the sustainability of our products,” said Beth Jensen, Director of Corporate Responsibility for OIA.
“With the addition of modules for footwear, chemicals management, and social responsibility and fair labor, as well as a more sophisticated user interface, this new tool provides greater possibilities for industry-wide adoption. We are especially excited about the integration of the Chemicals Management Module - the key work product of the OIA-SAC Chemicals Management Working Group from 2011-2013 – as part of Higg 2.0.”
The Chemicals Management Module, developed by OIA SWG’s Chemicals Management Working Group, a joint effort between OIA and SAC, was piloted earlier this year, finalized in the fall and integrated into version 2.0 of the Higg Index. With robust evaluation by both OIA SWG and SAC members, its inclusion in the Higg index is a perfect example of the continued collaboration of the two groups.
Since the SAC’s adoption of the OIA SWG’s Eco Index (the precursor to the Higg Index) in 2011, the OIA SWG has continued to work closely with the SAC and remains actively involved in the development of the Higg Index through its other issue-specific working groups, which include Chemicals Management, Materials Traceability, Index Development for Equipment/Gear, and Social Responsibility.
Since forming in 2007, the OIA SWG, a volunteer collaboration among more than 250 companies, has developed a number of tools and resources to help companies benchmark and measure their environmental and social impacts, identify areas for improvement, and make informed sourcing and product lifecycle decisions.