April 2019

issue no. 17 - April 2019

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s monthly publication for members

Welcome New Members!

Scaling the Higg Index: ASOS & SGS Collaborate in India

Last November, SAC members ASOS and SGS brought together more than ninety value chain partners together in New Delhi, India. The members collaborated to support their mutual goal of scaling Higg Index implementation. Event attendees were introduced to the Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM) and had the opportunity to meet with their value chain partners in person.


Last November, SAC members ASOS and SGS brought together more than ninety value chain partners together in New Delhi, India. The members collaborated to support their mutual goal of scaling Higg Index implementation. Event attendees were introduced to the Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM) and had the opportunity to meet with their value chain partners in person.

“It is all about communication and sharing,” ASOS Senior Sustainability Assistant Freddie Cooper said. “We are all working towards the same goal.” Cooper, who worked with SGS to organize the event, recognizes the value of meeting face to face with partners. He sought to host an event that fostered open dialogue. “There was lots of discussion and back and forth,” he said. “Suppliers shared that they left the event with a much clearer understanding of the benefits of the Higg FEM, and sustainability more broadly.”

“One of SGS’ goals in delivering the Higg introduction seminars is to make sure facilities understand the switch of mindset from compliance to continuous improvement and to have the participants understand that they should complete their assessment as accurately as possible,” SGS Global environmental Services Manager Xavier Vital said. “As less than 5% of the facilities achieved level 1 across the board with the Higg FEM V2, their focus should not be on the Higg score but should be on drafting a plan to progressively improve."

Sustainability Manager for SGS India Dr. KA Vijayakumar, who helped organize the event in New Delhi, works frequently with brands and facilities to develop and offer training opportunities that bring value chain partners closer together.

"Collaboration is essential to successfully improve the apparel and footwear environmental and social practices,” Sustainability Manager for SGS India Dr. KA Vijayakumar said. “Collaborating with ASOS and the other brands involved in this training in India was a very positive experience that we look forward to duplicate.” Vijayakumar is an approved Higg FEM specialist verifier, approved Higg FEM trainer, and he is also a ZDHC approved trainer.

The in-person meeting promoted conversation and feelings of positivity among attendees, Cooper said. He believes that, thanks to the meeting, participants gained a deeper understanding of the Higg Index, which will contribute to improved data collection.

“I have found that everyone has been really positive and willing to work together,” Cooper said. “We are all working towards the same goal. It is about communication, sharing, and making sure everyone’s needs are considered.” Later this year, ASOS plans to host a similar event in Turkey. ASOS invites other members interested in collaborating in similar ways to contact them.

SAC's Amina Razvi, Levi Strauss & Co's Kyle Rudzinski, Stefanka Tech's Elizabeth Stefanka, and H&M Group's Lara Coppen


Hype or Reality: Sustainability in Fashion

SAC Interim Executive Director Amina Razvi spoke on two panels at SXSW in Austin, Texas in March. Razvi joined SAC member representatives Levi’s Director of Sustainability Strategy Kyle Rudzinski and H&M Group’s Creative Business Development & Circular Lead at the Laboratory Laura Coppen on a panel hosted by Stefanka Tech. The panelists discussed the industry’s collaborative efforts to scale social and environmental sustainability measurement with the intent of driving improved performance across the global value chain.

Do Epic Good's Ramzi Moutran, Shannon Elizabeth Foundation's Simon Borchert and Shannon Elizabeth, Patagonia's Corley Kenna, SAC's Amina Razvi.

Good for the Bottom Line

In a special event hosted by the United Nations Media Zone, Razvi joined panelists from Patagonia, Shannon Elizabeth Foundation in a session moderated by Do Epic Good. The panelists discussed how their organizations’ efforts align with the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals. SAC’s mission most strongly supports SDG 12, Responsible Consumption, and 17, Partnerships for the Goals. See a recording of the panel discussion.

SAC Events Around the World

SAC-ZDHC Manufacturer
Forum Mexico • February
Cathy O'Dowd, the first women to climb Mt Everest from both sides, offers the keynote address
SAC EU Regional Meeting
The Netherlands • March
Future of Sustainable Fashion
Australia • March
Apparel, Footwear, Textile Sustainability Forum
China • April


Register Now

SAC members may use code SAC100 to earn a 30% discount.

Register Now

SAC members may use code SAC100 to earn a 30% discount.

Register Now

SAC members may use code SAC100 to earn a 30% discount.
June 22, Barcelona

Planet Textiles at ITMA by MCL News & Media

Planet Textiles 2019 will focus on how synthetic textile microfibers contribute to oceans and how the industry should respond. We will explore how financial instruments and other initiatives are helping to scale innovation across the textile sector. The sessions will feature new textile technology and expert insights from leading industry CEOs, retail and apparel brands, and NGOs involved in the environmental space. This event is open to the public. It is ideal for apparel, footwear, and textile industry professionals. All forum delegates must carry a valid ITMA badge to enter the venue (details on registration site).

Register Now

SAC members may use code SAC100 to earn a 30% discount.

June 24-27, Barcelona

SAC Annual Global Member Meeting

The Coalition’s seminal event is the SAC Global Member Meeting. More than 300 of the industry’s sustainability leaders will gather to engage on how to accomplish the next steps in our shared mission. The meeting will feature plenary sessions with top leaders and breakout sessions and panels that explore bringing impact improvement to scale quickly. Attendees will also be fully informed on the latest developments at SAC, how the 2020 Higg Index Product Roadmap is being realized, and our shared transparency goals for 2020 and beyond. This event is for Sustainable Apparel Coalition members only.

Register Now

Working Group Updates

Higg Facility Tools Higg Facility Environmental Module

Facility Module Task Teams Launched in Q1:

The Facility Advisory Council has aligned on the launch of four Higg Facility Tools Task Teams to carry forward important aspects of Higg Facility Module development and implementation

  • Higg FEM Content Task Team
    This team will review and prioritize Higg FEM content feedback that we could not address last year as well as any new feedback we receive on critical issues within the Higg FEM content that must be fixed this year.
  • Higg FEM Quantitative Benchmarking Task Team 
    This team will align on a methodology for benchmarking the environmental impact data collected in Higg FEM (energy, GHG, water, waste) that strives to accurately reflect environmental performance at facilities. This team will also identify the approach for integrating this benchmark data into the Higg Product Module.
  • Higg FEM Scoring Discrepancy Fixes
    We continue to hear from members about the scoring discrepancies between the data on the platform last year and the current platform. The SAC implemented sweeping fixes to certain scoring issues we identified in the assessment last year. This means members will see changes in module scores they download from the platform today. The scores you see on the current platform have been corrected. You can review all the scoring details here. 
higg index verification

Higg FEM Verification Task Team

The primary focus of this team will be to review and deploy a quality assurance program for Higg FEM verification while reviewing and prioritizing member feedback to improve the verification program, overall.

  • Verification for 2018 Higg FEM is available on
higg facility social & labor module


  • Higg FSLM Scoring Task Team
    This team will analyze and prioritize Higg FSLM scoring pilot feedback and use this to develop a finalized methodology for scoring and reports to be implemented in Q3 2019.

Please Note: While these Higg Facility Tools task teams are all currently full, any member is welcome to follow along by accessing the ongoing outputs posted in the Higg Facility Tools community library. Progress updates on task team work will also be included in the Facility Consultative Group email updates and webinars. To receive these updates, join the Higg Facility Tools community on SAC Connect.

higg brand & retail module

As a result of the full member vote, the Higg Brand & Retail Module was not released March 29. The SAC Secretariat heard member feedback and devised a new plan to continue the development of the Higg BRM package, which includes a verification program and guidance. Hear the recent special member webinar outlining the next steps for the Higg BRM.

[link – will be available April 19]

higg product tools

The Product Advisory Council (PAC) discussed the following topics in February:

  • Biogenic Carbon: Biogenic carbon will be calculated in the Higg PM to show carbon improvements if a product is recycled or reused at its end of life.
  • Proxies: With a prototype, we can test the actual impact changes resulting from such indicators, which will inform whether or not proxies are appropriate and how conservative they ought to be. 
  • Manufacturing Waste: Users will be able to explain if the waste from manufacturing is collected, re-used or recycled.
  • Previously Used Product: You will now be able to assess post-consumer and re-sold (second-hand) product in the Higg PM, along with new products.

Next Steps

  • Determine how Higg FEM data and benchmarks can be incorporated in the Higg PM to reflect facility performance.
  • SAC staff will present a proposal to the PAC regarding Higg PM v1 data sources.
  • Prototype development begins.

For additional information please click here.

transpareny task team

The 2019 Higg Index Communications Manual is available. Download it now. Learn how your organization can promote its commitment to the Higg Index and social and environmental sustainability performance. Share this manual with communications, marketing, and public relations professionals in your organizations as well as with Higg Index customers and value chain partners.

The Higg Index Transparency platform is available in draft version.

Listen to the most recent call about the Higg Index Transparency Platform meeting.

Contact to join the Higg Transparency working group and learn more. 

For story suggestions or to feature a job opening at your organization, contact SAC Manager, Member Services & Communications Alexandra Rosas,

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