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Higg Index: A Transparency Tool for Fashion Brands to Confirm Accuracy of their ESG Claims

The sustainability conscious consumers of today have been mounting pressure on fashion brands across the world to adapt sustainability in their day-to-day operations. In response to this, more and more fashion brands are flaunting their sustainability and ESG credentials, in order to appease their customers. Despite this, there is a huge trust deficit between the brands and their target audience.

Accuracy of ESG Declarations

According to a report by a verification tool Compare Ethics, only one in five customers trust the sustainability claims made by brands. Propounding this, in Jan 2021, the European Commission’s website screening report, which searches for breeches of EU consumer law online including a check on environmental claims, found that 42 per cent claims could be considered false, exaggerated or misleading.
In order to tackle this, and provide a unified approach to industry-wide transparency on products’ environmental impact, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), a global, multi-stakeholder non-profit alliance for the fashion industry, has launched the Higg Index, a suite of tools that standardizes value chain sustainability measurements for all industry participants.

What is Higg Index?

The Higg Index is a suite of tools for the standardized measurement of value chain sustainability. It is comprised of a core set of five tools that together assess the social and environmental performance of the value chain and the environmental impacts of products, including 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.
The Higg Index currently has more than 45,000 users in over 120 countries, including over 500 brands and 25,000 factories, to help them make more considered choices in their production. Since May, it has been used by Swedish fast fashion retailer H&M and Norwegian outdoor and sportswear brand Norrøna on select products on their ecommerce platforms in Europe and the US. Amazon, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Puma, Zalando and many more leading names have also agreed to adopt it in the near future.