Target, Walmart and Kohl's Launch Higg Index
August 2, 2012
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), unveiled the Higg Index, a new tool for sustainability measurement across the industry supply chain chain.
The Higg Index was developed by the SAC, a trade association comprised of brands, retailers, manufacturers, government and non-governmental organizations and academic experts, and representing more than a third of the global apparel and footwear market, today. The Index is based on established evaluation tools - including the Outdoor Industry Association's Eco Index and Nike's Environmental Apparel Design Tool - to better measure the comprehensive environmental and social impacts of apparel and footwear products. Through use of the Higg Index, companies can identify opportunities to reduce impact and improve long-term sustainability throughout their supply chain.
"Target currently uses the Higg Index within parts of our supply chain," said Target Director of Social Responsibility and Sustainability Scott Lercel. "This tool allows our teams to make better decisions, improve our supply chain and, most importantly, reduce our impact on the global environment. Other retail members of SAC include H&M, Kohl’s, JCPenney, Nordstrom, Marks & Spencer and Walmart.
"The Higg Index marks the most thorough and complete attempt at measuring environmental performance data from material sourcing through end of life," said SAC 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."
Designed to be a transparent and open-source tool for comprehensive measurement of apparel and footwear products, the current version of the Higg Index focuses on measuring desired environmental outcomes in the categories of water use and quality, energy and greenhouse gas, waste, chemicals and toxicity. A future iteration of the Higg Index, slated for release in 2013, will also incorporate key social and labor metrics.
The immediate priority of the SAC is to use the Higg Index to drive improvement and innovation in the global apparel and footwear supply chain. While Coalition members see the need and value of a consumer-facing rating for products, it is a long-term aspiration and no timetable has been set for development of a consumer-facing label based on the Higg Index.
The debut of the Higg Index comes after a year of beta testing sustainability impacts of some 150 products from more than 63 companies, and has already provided indicators for improvement of value chain performance.
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