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Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s New Index
By Tyler Collins

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), a trade association that represents over a third of the global apparel and footwear market, recently released a new tool for measuring sustainability across industry and supply chains.

The Higg Index was developed through collaboration of SAC’s members and is based on many well established metrics, such as Nike’s Environmental Apparel Design Tool, to better measure the environmental and social impacts of retail products. This new index provides a mechanism for companies to identify and reduce negative consequences of production and increase long-term sustainability across their supply chains.

There are three parts to the index—a brand module, facilities module, and products module. Together, they provide a picture of the entire life cycle of a product and its various impacts.

"The Higg Index marks the most thorough and complete attempt at measuring environmental performance data from material sourcing through end of life," said Sustainable Apparel Coalition Executive Director Jason Kibbey. "We are confident it will have a positive impact on product sustainability over time, and become a model for how industries can collaborate in making a positive impact on value chain performance."

Since its inception, many companies have begun using it to increase the sustainability of their products. Nike, for example, used the Higg Index to design some of the national uniforms for the 2012 European Cup soccer championships.

Although the Sustainable Apparel Coalition has recognized the potential for a Higg Index-based label for consumers, they do not feel the immediate translation of the newly released index to consumers is prudent until further development has been conducted.

Read more here.

Posted: October 8, 2012