The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) has launched the Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) web tool as a new component to the Higg Index suite of sustainability tools for the apparel and footwear industries.
The interactive platform visualizes and compares the quantitative section of the MSI scores used in the Higg Index. The goal of the MSI web tool is to increase transparency into how the quantitative scores of the MSI are derived, as well as allow a means for anyone in the public domain to submit new data to the SAC to improve the quality of the scores. It is open-source, allowing users to contribute new data, help improve the quality of current data and access the data underlying the MSI scores.
The MSI is a cradle-to-gate index informed by life cycle assessment-derived inventory data, intended to engage designers and the global supply chain of apparel and footwear products in environmental sustainability. The SAC says users are encouraged to explore and compare all MSI scores in the tool, with the understanding that these scores account for 50 percent of the MSI total scores, and should not be used in isolation for selecting environmentally preferable materials. A complete assessment of materials should be done using the Higg Index Product Module, which includes the MSI qualitative scores.
The MSI was originally created by Nike and is a result of more than eight years of materials research and analysis. In 2012, it was incorporated into the Higg Index 1.0 and combined with qualitative attributes to assess materials and supplier sustainable practices in the apparel and footwear supply chain.
The SAC invites organizations to submit data on the environmental performance of materials for evaluation for inclusion in the MSI. The deadline for submissions is June 30. Any submissions received after this date will be held until the next review cycle, expected to begin in Q1 2014.
The SAC’s Higg Index 2.0 will compute sustainability scores in part from the data compiled through the updated MSI.
The coalition, which was created in March 2011 by nearly 30 manufacturers and retailers including Nike, Target and Levi’s, currently has more than 90 members, the majority of which are global brands and retailers. These include Adidas, Gap, H&M, Kohl’s, Marks & Spencer, Nordstrom and REI.