SAN FRANCISCO – As the textile industry continues to grapple with its impact on the environment, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and Higg Co. have upgraded the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (Higg MSI), a cradle-to-gate scoring tool for brands and retailers to assess the environmental impact of the materials used in their clothing and footwear.

The new version is said to more accurately calculate the environmental impacts of ‘millions of possible material manufacturing variations’ by comparing life-cycle assessment data and is claimed to offer users an easier to use platform in a bid to drive the harmonisation of impact measurement across the industry.

“It’s no understatement to say that development of the Higg MSI has been a 10-year journey of transformation,” said Jason Kibbey, CEO of Higg Co the technology company which powers the Higg Index. “It began with a simple gift from Nike to the industry; a spreadsheet of data for around 40 of its materials to kickstart collaboration around standardised sustainability measurement.”

Amina Razvi, SAC Executive Director added: “With this rich, science-based insight, companies can take actionable steps to reach their CSR goals and science-based targets.”

Perhaps surprisingly, only around 65 per cent of SAC brand members and 40 per cent of all members have saved materials in the Higg MSI during the course of its development, although Julie Brown, SAC Director for Higg product tools told Ecotextile News prior to today’s launch, “We are currently in the process of updating SAC membership requirements that all members agree to upon joining the Coalition. As the Higg Index tools are increasingly adopted, we will include requirements for members to use and scale tools, like the Higg MSI, that we have spent the last decade building together.”

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