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SAN FRANCISCO – The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) has released an updated version of its Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM), its self-assessment tool that standardises sustainability measurement for apparel, footwear, and textile manufacturing facilities. The new version of Higg FEM is more user friendly and intuitive, with the aim being to drive more widespread adoption among SAC members.

Higg FEM helps businesses in textile supply chains improve their environmental performance by measuring and benchmarking issues such as water use, waste, emissions and chemical management. It is currently used by more than 8,000 businesses globally, and by increasing this the SAC believes it can reduce audit fatigue and improve collaboration across supply chains.

“At the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, we value partnership and collaboration, and depend on these values to move the industry forward. The improved Higg Facility Environmental Module breaks down silos created by the lack of transparency in our industry,” SAC CEO Jason Kibbey said. “With the Higg FEM, supply chain partners can better see one another’s performance and make valuable sustainability improvements in factories around the world.” 

The SAC collaborated with the Outdoor Industry Association and the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals programme to develop the tool’s new chemicals management section. The updated tool additionally tailors questions based on a business’ individual needs. Cut and sew factories, for example, will not need to answer questions about wet processes that do not apply to them. To ensure score accuracy and enable transparency, third-party verifiers approved by the SAC will confirm the data submitted by each facility.

“The theory of change of the SAC is straightforward and profound: putting standardised sustainability measurements that are both deep and profound in the hands of key decision-makers in the apparel and footwear value chain will incentivise them to make better decisions that collectively reduce the environmental impact and increase the social justice of the entire industry,” Rick Ridgeway, VP of public engagement at Patagonia, said. “With Higg FEM, the Coalition has taken the biggest step yet towards proving that theory, and showing the world how the industry that started the industrial revolution is leading the world into the sustainability revolution.”

Manufacturers who previously used the Higg Index can register early to use Higg FEM at www.Higg.org

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