The Higg Index was developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, an alliance for sustainable production in the apparel, footwear and home textile industry. It is a standardized supply chain measurement tool to help brands, retailers and manufacturing facilities understand the environmental, social and labor impacts of making and selling their products and resolve any damaging practices present in their supply chain. The index also creates an easy way to benchmark and evaluate a facility’s performance, year over year.
The Higg Facility Tools measure an individual factory’s social and environmental performance. The tools are made up of two modules:
Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM)
The Higg FEM assesses the environmental impact of facilities, so that improvements can be made to reduce any negative impacts. The Facility Environmental Module measures:
Higg Facility Social & Labor Module (Higg FSLM)
The Higg FSLM assesses the social and labor conditions present in a facility and the effectiveness of social management programs. The Facility Social & Labor Module measures:
The Higg FSLM uses the Social & Labor Convergence Program (SLCP) Converged Assessment Framework to ensure consistency in assessment and measurement throughout the industry.
A facility should conduct a Higg Index assessment at least once per year. The assessment should take roughly 3-6 weeks to complete and requires the facility answering questions and providing data as evidence of the sustainability of their operations.
Once completed, these assessments can then be verified by a SAC-approved, on site assessor called a Verifying Body. Verifying a facility’s Higg Index FEM or FSLM improves the credibility and comparability of the scores. The verification process involves reviewing the answers to the self-assessment and determining their accuracy through an on-site assessment.
QIMA is an approved Verifying Body for both the Higg Facility Environmental Module (FEM) and the Higg Facility Social & Labor Module (FSLM).
Once assessments are performed, the results are benchmarked by facility type so that factory management, brands and retailers can compare their performance against that of similar facilities. Through the assessment process, facilities also receive clear guidance on areas for improvement.
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