Higg helps British retailer understand supply chain impact at every depth
Whether using Higg’s platform for analytics or deep data downloads, New Look is now well on its way to having everything it needs to hit ESG targets.
Over the last few years, British retailer New Look has taken notable steps to weave sustainability into the core of the business. As one of the largest womenswear retailers in the UK, the company recognizes its ability to be a leader towards net positive impact. To articulate its commitments to peers, customers, and investors alike, New Look published a refreshed Sustainability Strategy earlier in 2022. The plan outlines data-driven sustainability goals the company is committed to meeting over the next several years.
Prior to setting the company’s updated sustainability commitments, however, New Look’s in-house team needed a clearer understanding of the company’s baseline impact. New Look has a sizable supply chain, and needed a streamlined way to collect data from their hundreds of suppliers. The company used Higg to collect impact data from the majority of their Tier 1 suppliers, and built a view of their supply chain greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and chemical use.
“Before we could set our sustainability goals, we needed to assemble a critical mass of data on the Higg platform. Now we get to use the information to set clear goals and drive strategic improvement,” explains Katie Pryce, Sustainability Manager at New Look.
New Look asked its Tier 1 suppliers to complete the Higg Facility Environmental Module (FEM), an assessment that measures the environmental impact of product manufacturing at facilities – in order to identify strengths and areas for improvement across the company’s supply chain. “The idea is to use Higg data as the key informant for our facilities’ performance,” explains Pryce. New Look specifically monitors water, emissions, and chemical data from the FEM.
There are several features on the Higg platform designed to help brands and retailers analyze the results of their manufacturers’ data. When it comes to understanding their supplier impact at a high level, New Look uses Higg Analytics. And for a more granular look into their impact, they work with Higg’s bulk data download feature (the Bulk CSV). Both tools were integral in helping the company first measure its baseline performance and then set environmental and social impact goals. The tools will also help the company share its results on an annual basis.
The birds-eye view: Analytics helps New Look identify supply chain risks
Higg Analytics offers a dashboard view of aggregated supplier FEM data. Through a series of graphs, the tool summarizes key information such as sources of greenhouse gas emissions (right), energy, or waste. Users can also view their total annual emissions, energy, waste, or water use broken down by facilities, which helps provide a high level view of areas to improve across the supply chain.
Analytics also rounds up key information in easy-to-read tables such as critical issues noted in supplier assessments. Hannah Parsons is the Sustainability Assistant at New Look and uses the Critical Risks chart (below) to identify any suppliers that are not complying with legal requirements or that have a potential to be at risk of noncompliance.
The table shows the number of suppliers that scored in compliance-related categories over the years, helping New Look understand potential risks and areas to explore further. Parsons can see if a supplier is operating without proper licenses, didn’t obtain the correct permits, or if they have any government violations, for example. “The Critical Risks graph in Higg Analytics helps me understand how my suppliers are performing at a glance, without having to sort through years of data. This way, I can easily identify any risks, and even understand their performance over multiple years,” Parsons explains.
The close-up: New Look uses Higg primary data for plug-and-play reporting
When the sustainability team at New Look wants to understand their supply chain performance at a more granular level, they leverage the Bulk CSV feature – a downloadable file that includes all their FEM data. As part of its sustainability strategy refresh, the team wanted to report the company’s progress under a global reporting standard.
“As ESG becomes more defined, we knew our sustainability strategy had to be built on a standardized framework so that we could compare our progress looking at similar metrics to the rest of the industry. And we needed our data to be able to fit that framework,” remarks Pryce.
The company evaluated multiple reporting frameworks, and ultimately selected SASB, partially due to how easily it integrated with their existing Higg data. They used the Bulk CSV to download key information about their suppliers, and saw how the abundance of primary data available would help them easily report to SASB. “Higg helped us collect all the information we needed about our suppliers, and then we could easily plug it into the SASB questions. We had everything we needed,” explains Pryce, “Higg streamlined reporting for us and made our lives so much easier.”
Now, as New Look starts to report progress annually, the Higg platform will continue to support the team as a key resource for insights. For example, by 2040, New Look has committed to becoming climate-positive – meaning they’re working to not only achieve net-zero emissions, but also engage in activities that remove additional C02 from the atmosphere. Such ambitious goals will have to be closely monitored, and according to Pryce, “as we work towards climate-positive, Higg will be the main tool to help us track our reduction targets.”
Whether the team needs a high level or in-the-weeds view of their impact, the Higg platform has helped them understand primary data that’s contextualized based on their needs.