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Sustainable Apparel Coalition Increases Analytics for Supply Chain Assessment

sustainable apparel coalition Higg FEM assessment tool
Credit: Hannah Morgan

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition is releasing an updated version of its Higg Facility Environmental Module, a global self-assessment tool for apparel, footwear, and textile manufacturing facilities. The new Higg FEM attempts to reduce audit fatigue through tailored questions and increased analytics.

First introduced in 2011, the Higg Index suite of tools is now used by more than 8,000 businesses around the world, according to the SAC. Members of the industry-wide nonprofit group that developed the tool include brands like Nike, Target, Walmart, and Patagonia.

The SAC says it collaborated with the Outdoor Industry Association and the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Program to create 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,” the SAC explained in the announcement. “To ensure score accuracy and enable transparency, third-party verifiers approved by the SAC will confirm the data submitted by each facility.”

Increased analytics in the updated Higg FEM will help businesses improve performance benchmarking by measuring water use, waste, emissions, and assessing chemicals management, the SAC says. The tool works at every tier in the value chain.

“Six years ago, we adopted the Higg Facility Environmental Module protocol, enabling Target to take a more unified approach to measuring our environmental performance,” Ivanka Mamic, senior director of responsible sourcing for Target said in a press release about the updated tool. “The Higg FEM provides tremendous value by creating an industry standard and identifying opportunities where suppliers can operate more efficiently.” Brands will have access to the updated tool in December.

We are accepting submissions for the 2018 Environmental Leader Awards. The final deadline is December 15, 2017. Learn more here.

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