New Higg MSI assesses sustainability impacts of millions of materials


Today, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and Higg released a new version of the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (Higg MSI), the leading tool to assess the environmental impact of materials in the apparel, footwear, and textile industry. Now available on the Higg platform, the Higg MSI can calculate the environmental impacts of millions of possible material manufacturing variations. It empowers brands, retailers, and manufacturers to compare material life-cycle assessment data and make more sustainable design and materials choices. In this new version release, the Higg MSI now offers an enhanced user experience, a new database, and updated scoring. 

“The release of the updated Higg MSI is a big milestone for the industry because it provides more accurate and detailed information, allowing users to dive more deeply into material assessment,” says Amina Razvi, Executive Director of the SAC. “With increased use and shared data, the Higg MSI will continue to evolve and become even stronger, helping to drive collective action.”

Key updates to the 2020 Higg MSI include:

  • New interface offering an enhanced user experience
  • Migration from a standalone website to the platform, alongside other Higg tools
  • Addition of a packaging library, comparisons, and customization
  • Addition of a trims and components library, comparisons, and customization
  • Ability to customize transportation distances and modes between processing steps
  • Ability to assign chemistry certifications at the process level
  • New background LCA database (GaBi)
  • New water scarcity assessment methodology (AWARE)
  • Updated chemistry scoring methodology and new chemistry data
  • Inclusion of biogenic carbon and water consumption in metadata
  • New process level loss rates, ensuring material assessments include consideration for process
  • efficiencies 

“We use the Higg MSI to understand and measure the environmental impact of Salomon’s materials – we have already scored more than 800 materials so far,” said Céline Mazars, Salomon Material Manager of Footwear. “The final objective is to score our footwear products and be able to give environmental visibility to our end consumer and our B2B clients. In addition, with the Higg MSI, we can communicate about sustainability transparently with our suppliers and collaborate globally to make more sustainable products.”

“The Higg MSI was developed specially for the textile industry through global industry-wide consensus. Before the Higg MSI, no tool in the apparel industry offered common criteria for life-cycle assessments, methodology, and procedures,” said Hidenori Terai, General Manager, Fibers & Textiles GR & LI Business Planning Dept., Toray Industries, Inc. “We use the Higg MSI to showcase our sustainable materials.”

The Higg MSI measures five environmental impacts: chemistry, global warming potential, nutrient pollution in water, water scarcity, and fossil fuel depletion. It also features more than 80 example materials. Example materials represent a material commonly used in the industry such as cotton, leather, polyester, nylon, jute, silk, and metals.

Companies can assess the impact of different materials as they select which ones to use for their products. Take the example of cotton. A brand that wants to lower its environmental footprint can choose to source recycled cotton instead of traditional cotton. A designer or product developer can use the Higg MSI to see the environmental impact of a knit polyester fabric compared to a woven polyester fabric.

The Higg MSI captures how the five environmental impacts would change based on different raw material or production process options, such as switching from batch dyeing to continuous dyeing. In this example, users can see that the switch would typically reduce the amount of water and energy used when dyeing a fabric. Higg MSI users can also customize how their companies uniquely produce materials and use Higg MSI data to help them make more sustainable choices.

“There is a growing conversation about ‘sustainable materials,’ but it’s difficult to know what it actually means for people and the planet and whether it’s really trustworthy information,” said Julie Brown, SAC Director, Higg Index – Higg Product Tools. “Our goal is to pull together the most robust and tested data sources available and translate complex metrics into digestible and actionable guidance to have a positive impact at scale.”

About Higg
Higg is the sustainability insights platform for consumer goods industries, delivering software and services for measuring, managing, and sharing supply chain performance data.

From materials to products, from facilities to stores, across energy, waste, water, and working conditions, Higg unlocks a complete view of a business’s social and environmental impact. Built on the leading framework for sustainability measurement, Higg is trusted by global brands, retailers, and manufacturers to provide the comprehensive intelligence needed to accelerate business and industry transformation.

Spun out of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition in 2019 as a public-benefit technology company, Higg is the exclusive licensee of the Higg Index, a suite of tools for the standardized measurement of supply chain sustainability.

Media Contact
Alexandra Rosas
Higg, Senior Manager of Marketing & Communications

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