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"Climate change is the defining crisis of our time and the apparel industry has an important role to play in addressing it," said Amina Razvi, executive director of SAC. "The industry needs data that is credible, consistent and comparable, so that we can drive collective action to resolve global issues. As more and more brands and facilities leverage the Higg Index to baseline performance, the more the entire industry will evolve and partner together to achieve long term improvements."
The Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM) measures seven environmental impact areas in factories, including greenhouse gas emissions, water use and chemicals management. The Higg Facility Social & Labor Module (Higg FSLM) assesses impacts that include wages, working hours and workplace harassment. Using the modules on Higg.org, facilities can complete a self-assessment and have their results verified by a trained third-party verifier.
Through the Higg Index's ground breaking model, global factories are empowered to take ownership of their sustainability performance, helping to reduce the exhausting audit fatigue that burdens the industry.
"The amount of data requested of facilities is extensive and critically important," said Nikhil Hirdaramani, director sustainability of the Hirdaramani Group. "By leveraging the Higg Facility Modules we can increase efficiency, saving time and money. By implementing a single measurement tool that fulfills the most pressing sustainability needs in our industry, we can more successfully drive sustainability improvements."
In 2014, only six thousand facilities were using the Higg Index. Today, more than fourteen thousand facilities use the tools to measure inputs and make critical business decisions. By leveraging these tools to quantify the industry's impacts, Higg Index data will propel insights and action that drive lasting change across the industry.
"The apparel industry is well-known for innovation and now it is taking important steps to better measure and manage its environmental impact," said Elizabeth Cook, vice president for institutional strategy & development at the World Resources Institute. "Access to data, particularly in the supply chain, can be a major barrier to apparel and footwear companies setting science-based climate change targets. With the Higg Facility Environmental Module, companies will be better equipped with consistent and robust data to set credible targets, identify performance improvement opportunities and track progress."
"C&A has made a strategic decision to eliminate our internal environmental and chemical audits in favour of the Higg Facility Environmental Module," said Jeffrey Hogue, C&A chief sustainability officer and C&A foundation board director. "In just the last 8 months, our supply chain has conducted over 400 self-assessments at key facilities having been identified as having a high environmental impact. This year 50 per cent of these facilities will have been verified.
"The Higg FEM was very well received by our suppliers, as we work toward minimising audit fatigue and drive environmental performance in our supply chain. The tool has provided valuable insights to enhance our climate and water strategies, as well as to track key progress on our commitments towards chemicals management and safe chemistry."
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition is the leading sustainability association for apparel, footwear and textile industry. It 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 reduce the environmental and social impacts of the value chain and products around the world.
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