Note: This article predates our launch as Worldly.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA. – October 21, 2020
Technology company Higg and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) today announced, in partnership with the Social Labor Convergence Program (SLCP), that they have launched a scoring tools in a new version of the Higg Facility Social & Labor Module (Higg FSLM) on Higg.org. This is an opportunity for brands to retire independent proprietary tools and be part of an industry-wide effort to standardize facility auditing for social and labor issues at global scale. In turn, the standardized assessment frees up time and financial resources for facilities. They can eliminate audit fatigue and instead focus on making lasting sustainability improvements.
The Higg FSLM leverages the existing SLCP Converged Assessment Framework as the foundation of the tool. With the new addition of scoring, the Higg FSLM now provides judgement information, eliminating the need for brands to conduct individual audits to assess facilities’ performance, and Higg Index scoring enables comparability of the data. The score is out of 100 and covers issues like handling grievances, respectful treatment of workers, and child labor practices (full list found here). As a performance assessment, rather than a compliance exercise, the Higg FSLM provides an opportunity for facilities to improve year over year. Standardizing the measurement of social and labor practices has long eluded the fashion industry. The Higg FSLM reflects the leading example of the industry coming together to commit to one system of assessment to measure social impacts.
The Higg FSLM is part of the Higg Index, a holistic suite of sustainability tools and services to assess the social and environmental impacts of global value chains and enable performance improvement. From materials selection to manufacturing, logistics, retail, and product use, the Higg Index offers the most comprehensive and credible sustainability assessment framework for the industry. The SAC works with industry stakeholders, including SLCP, to develop the methodology for assessments within the tools, and Higg Co delivers the technology and services to support implementation. Amina Razvi, Executive Director of the SAC, says, “The launch of Higg FSLM scoring presents an opportunity for brands to retire independent proprietary tools and move towards performance improvement and increased collaboration to address social and labor issues across the value chain. This has been a key goal of the SAC since its inception, and with this launch we get one step closer to reducing audit fatigue and shifting resources towards improvement and collective action. This is a game changer for the industry and a critical tool right now to achieve true industry transformation.”
Higg Co, the technology company and service provider behind the digitalization of the Higg Index, calls the addition of scored data an important step forward for the industry. “Organizations need meaningful end-to-end data to inform management decisions around sustainability investment,” says Higg Co CEO Jason Kibbey. “Availability of accurate data and comparability and consistency of data are critical to enabling the scale up of sustainable business practices,” he adds.
Facilities can prioritize making improvements rather than spend time and money on duplicative assessments. “The scored Higg Facility Social & Labor Module frees up time and financial resources that our facilities would typically spend on individual audits,” says Vijay N. Suvarna, Head of Compliance at Asiatan. “By using the Higg Index, we can redirect resources to better support employees instead. Through the digital Higg platform, we can more easily connect with our business partners around the world and more effectively collaborate on improving the industry.” The scoring tools also empowers brands and manufacturers to jointly achieve global value chain improvements.
“At Target we recognize that the actions that we take can make a big impact,” says Bill Foudy, Target SVP & President Owned Brand Sourcing and Development. “We believe that to drive sustainable, systemic improvements in any sector, collaboration is necessary to enable the tipping point to drive lasting change. This includes supporting the development and adoption of industry tools such as the Higg FSLM as part of an ecosystem that is rooted in equal partnership and driving continuous improvement.”
“Industry tools, like SLCP and Higg FSLM, not only provide a standardization of social and labor metrics, but promote improved ways of working across the apparel sector,” Marissa Pagnani McGowan, Senior Vice President, Corporate Responsibility, PVH Corp. says. “The adoption of a collaborative and consistent industry-wide approach frees up valuable time and resources for our suppliers, enabling us to work more productively together to scale positive impacts across the supply chain.”
“The collaboration the Higg FSLM promotes is transformative for the apparel industry,” Simone Colombo, Head of Corporate Sustainability, OVS Spa says. “The Higg FSLM supports the facilities and communities that manufacture apparel globally and enables brands and retailers to better support them, so we can all work on sustainability together. This scored tool assesses social and labor performance and encourages businesses to better communicate with one another to drive lasting sustainability change.”