• Brands & Retailers
  • Higg FEM
  • Higg MSI

Discover how a leading international clothing retailer utilizes Higg FEM and Higg MSI to shape their decarbonization strategy and pave the way for meaningful change.

Primark logo
colorful cloth hanging on clothing line with pins
February 06, 2024

“We’re a large business, responsible for producing over six million tonnes of CO2e emissions across our value chain each year. Reducing our carbon footprint is imperative to meet our environmental commitments and to ensure we do our part to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Our Primark Cares strategy cements our commitment to halving carbon emissions across our value chain by 2030.

— Dan Roe, Climate Change Programme Senior Manager, at Primark.


Primark, a leading international clothing retailer employing over 75,000 people in 16 countries, launched Primark Cares, their sustainability strategy, in 2021. Over the past three years, the company has focused on developing a decarbonization program for its value chain, with their headline target looking at a 50 percent reduction in absolute Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions by 2030 from an FY19 baseline. A significant milestone, Primark’s science-based targets received validation from the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) in 2023, showcasing their commitment to align with global efforts to combat climate change.

In addressing emissions from their own operations, the company committed to reducing energy use in their retail locations and incorporating renewable energy. However, a substantial 97.5 percent of their base year carbon emissions occurred in their supply chain. As a result, Primark is focused on collaborating with suppliers to address emissions and reduce their carbon footprint. Utilizing the Higg FEM and Higg MSI tools enables Primark to understand and measure the environmental impacts of their supply chain.

The Higg FEM serves as a key source of supply chain primary data, empowering Primark to calculate a more precise carbon footprint. This tool captures the outcomes of emissions reduction initiatives targeting facilities in their supply chain and demonstrates progress toward their overarching decarbonization target. Notably, in 20221, 1,083 of Primark’s supplier facilities completed the Higg FEM self-assessment, with 590 sites undergoing verification of their self-assessments and achieving an average score of 56 percent. These scores offer valuable insights, enabling factories to pinpoint opportunities for enhancing environmental performance. In addition to the Higg FEM, Primark also leverages data and insights from the Higg MSI to calculate supply chain emissions. This tool provides valuable LCA data specific to the materials and goods procured by Primark.

Since joining Cascale in 2015, Primark has worked with their supply chain partners to adopt the Higg Index to assess environmental impact. With the roll-out of the Higg Index across their supply chain, the company embraces a standardized measurement of environmental sustainability performance, enabling continuous improvement efforts.

1 Figures refer to Higg FEM modules covering 2022 calendar year data.

Sustainable Apparel Coalition Hosts Manufacturer Forum in Bangalore

Forum called for collaboration across the value chain to drive industry progress

  • MCAP
  • Higg FEM
  • Higg Index Tools
  • Manufacturing
Jeremy Lardeau speaking on stage at the Manufacturer Forum: Bangalore
December 14, 2023

Over 200 in-person attendees joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), for the second edition of its Manufacturer Forum, on December 4, 2023 in Bangalore, India. Building on the theme, Catalysts for Change, the event brought together business leaders and stakeholders to discuss the future of sustainability, supply chain compliance, verification, policy alignment, and more.

“The use of the Higg Index tools is just one step of many that we must take to solve the most complex sustainability challenges for the sector,” said Jeremy Lardeau, vice president Higg index at the SAC. “This is why we do not stop at delivering data and tools, but also develop programs and  events like Manufacturer Forums, where stakeholders can come together and take collective action for industry progress.”

Dr. Vidhura Ralapanawe, executive vice president at Epic Group and an SAC board director delivered a thoughtful keynote, calling for urgent action to combat climate change. “How much we do, and how fast we work to decarbonize, and how much we aspire to achieve is on us. Because climate change is not happening in 2030 or 2050, it’s happening now. This is our chance, our choice,” Ralapanawe said.

Dr. Laxmikant Jawale, regional lead for South Asia & Southeast Asia at the Apparel Impact Institute (Aii), and Erlinda Lee, director of global membership development from the SAC, delved into a discussion that explored the dynamic collaboration between the SAC and Aii. The session allowed attendees to gain a deeper understanding of the mission, purpose, and collaborative efforts of both organizations to propel the industry forward. It also provided valuable knowledge on how to leverage programs offered through the partnership to effectively tackle the challenges associated with decarbonization and how manufacturers can get involved

Later that day, sessions explored critical issues including climate change, how policy and legislation impacts manufacturers, and the evolving landscape of sustainability verification.

Ringo Yu, manager of the SAC’s Manufacturer Climate Action Program (MCAP) highlighted the compounding impact of climate change, such as how extreme heat waves, torrential rain, and flooding impacts India’s community, natural environment, and economy. He shared that there’s currently a low level of science-based target adoption in the apparel, footwear, and textile sector. He shared insights on the newly launched program and how the SAC is spearheading and amplifying industry initiatives for combating climate change. The program aims to  accelerate the number of manufacturers at corporate level to set science-aligned targets for scope 1 and 2, enhance their understanding on climate change related risks, and explore opportunities to take climate actions. “It is important to pursue a leadership mindset first and take action individually to drive change collectively by participating in programs such as the MCAP,” Yu said.

Gauri Sharma, assistant general manager of communications and sustainability innovation at Shahi Exports Pvt Ltd. joined Mousumi Sarang, country manager for India at the Fair Wear Foundation to discuss the intricacies of current and future policy challenges in the textile industry. ”Legislations built and shaped in the Global North have a deep cascading effect in the supply chain, Sharma said. “Hence in the Global South, it is important to develop an understanding of what these means for manufacturers.”

Angela Ng, director of Higg Facility Tools at the SAC, Janne Koopmans, head of collaboration at ZDHC, and Yashinth Wijerathne, manager of environmental sustainability at Hirdaramani Apparel, discussed the recently launched Higg FEM 4.0 and its vital role in standardized measurement and accurate reporting. “The Higg FEM 4.0 allows manufacturers to see what is really important and evolve from there,” Ng said.

Dhawal Mane, director of training and verification at the SAC, and Jeremy Lardeau, SAC vice president of Higg Index, presented on the evolving landscape of sustainability verification within the industry. “Higg FEM verification growth over the past 5 years has demonstrated the collaboration of SAC members on a shared environmental assessment. It is time to simultaneously invest in value through evolving our approach for verification. Our Core verification approach this year is the first step in that direction,” Mane said.

Attendees also received training to support their Higg FEM 4.0 self-assessment, get certified in setting Science-Based Targets, and develop plans for health and safety remediation and workers rights.

The SAC announced the return of Manufacturer Forums earlier this year, with the first in-person event taking place in Shenzhen, China on July 25 at Sheraton Shenzhen Futian Hotel. This was the first in-person Manufacturer Forum the SAC had hosted since 2019.

The Bangalore Manufacturer Forum online photo gallery is available here. Manufacturers who are interested in participating in an upcoming Manufacturer Forum can click here to subscribe for updates.

Sustainable Apparel Coalition Hosts Project Development Programme Kickoff Meetings in Vietnam and Cambodia

  • Decarbonization
  • Higg FEM
  • Higg Index Tools
  • Collective Action
Photo of a worker installing solar panels on a rooftop
December 08, 2023

Joyce Tsoi, SAC director of Collective Action, co-hosted an in-person and virtual meetings in Vietnam and Cambodia to kick off the SAC x Project Development Programme (PDP), which aims to develop and scale rooftop solar photovoltaic project(s) to manufacturing facilities in Vietnam and Cambodia. Implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the Project Development Programme (PDP) is an integral part of the German Energy Solutions Initiative. Coordinated and financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) it aims to globalise German and European technologies and expertise in climate-friendly energy solutions. The PDP combines development cooperation with private-sector engagement to foster partnerships between local businesses and trusted providers of climate-friendly energy solutions, creating mutually beneficial outcomes and advancing the energy transition in its cooperation countries. Simultaneously, German and European providers benefit by easing their market entry into developing and emerging countries.

In Vietnam, the meeting also included a presentation from Eunice Doan, energy advisor and Country Representative of PDP Vietnam, and Lucia Hoang, regional manager of CSR Southeast Asia for Bureau Veritas, a world leader in laboratory testing, inspection, and assessment services. In Cambodia, presenters included Vabotra Chea, Technical Advisor and Country Representative of PDP Cambodia, and Rijan Shrestha, Technical Advisor and Country Manager of PDP Cambodia.

At both meetings, Tsoi shared information about the SAC’s Collective Action team, which oversees the development of its Decarbonization Program in support of the organization’s goals to achieve a 45 percent greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction in line with science-based targets (SBTs) by 2030 — and to zero by 2050. The SAC launched the Decarbonization Program in 2022 and integrated SBTs into SAC’s membership requirements in 2023, with over 50 percent of members having taken this action to date. “We believe that this is the most credible and ambitious approach, backed by the latest climate science,” Tsoi said. “SBTs have become fundamental expectations for companies globally in multiple industries and we want to enable our industry towards a low carbon transition by shifting from heavily fossil fuels use to adopting renewables or low carbon sources.

To achieve these goals, the SAC partnered with Textile Exchange and Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) to form the Apparel Impact Institute (Aii), creating a connected, end-to-end path to action for the entire apparel and footwear industry. The Collective Action team is committed to activate the SAC’s ecosystem for action and announced the launch of the Manufacturer Climate Action Program (MCAP) in September of this year. Designed in collaboration with NIKE and Target Corporation, the MCAP is a critical component of the SAC’s Decarbonization Program efforts to catalyze support and drive the sector toward ambitious yet necessary CO2 emissions reductions. Tsoi also shared the four key elements that form the core of MCAP, empowering manufacturers to define their scope 1 and 2 science-aligned targets, immediately take critical action to reduce their direct and indirect emissions and improve operational efficiency in order to advance industry goals.

During the Vietnam meeting, Tsoi used data accessed through the SAC’s Higg Facility Environmental Module tool in order to break down the mix of energy sources at manufacturing sites both globally and in Vietnam; the use case illuminated the sector’s dependence on fossil fuels. Over 80% of energy usage in 1253 facilities in Vietnam are from fossil fuels. Only 12.4% of energy comes from renewable energy sources. She also shared data on renewable energy adoption around the globe and was able to show Vietnam is a progressive country to increase its renewable energy capacity to sustain the growth of its industries. Following Tsoi’s presentation, Hoang shared the service offerings of Bureau Veritas Vietnam, which can support manufacturers in conducting life cycle assessments (LCAs), performing energy diagnosis services and consulting for GHG calculation and setting SBTs. Doan then explained the support and services offered to facilities by PDP, which guides facilities through the development process of solar PV technology and the selection of system size; service provider, equipment, and best investment scenario. These include technical evaluation, investment appraisal development, solar power implementation, and introduction to financing opportunities with preferential loan interest rates.

At the Cambodia meeting, Vabotra explained that with an average daily solar radiation of 5 kWh/m2 and average sunshine of 8 hours per day, Cambodia is one of the Southeast Asia countries that has high solar potential. He also discussed the regulatory landscape in terms of the history of Cambodia’s solar development, options to deploy renewables based on the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME)’s updated principles of permitting the use of rooftop solar power. Rijan followed with an explanation of how the PDP team can support manufacturers in technical evaluation, investment proposals, and project implementation.

Sustainable Apparel Coalition and Worldly Host Higg FEM 4.0 Informative Webinars for Global Stakeholders

  • Higg FEM
  • Higg Index Tools
Close-up photo of an industrial sewing machine in factory
November 17, 2023

Celebrating the launch of the Higg Facility Environment Module (FEM) 4.0 tool, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and Worldly hosted a series of webinars for global stakeholders. The presentations illustrated how the updated Higg FEM tool marks an industry milestone in sustainability reporting to meet pressing environmental issues and industry standards, positioning the Higg FEM 4.0 as the leading assessment for environmental performance in the consumer goods industry.

Facilitated by Loretta Tam, vice president of Customer Success at Worldly, the presentation kicked off with Scott Raskin, chief executive officer of Worldly, who conveyed the urgency of value chain participation in light of increased regulatory disclosure. Higg FEM 4.0 aligns with key global standards — including the GHG Protocol, the SBTi, and the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero — to drive emissions reductions and reduce duplicative reporting.

Amina Razvi, CEO of SAC, shared how Higg FEM 4.0 was redesigned to meet industry needs, offering broader coverage of critical environmental issues, such as groundwater and soil contamination, to help facilitate improvements on a global scale. It also features improved and streamlined usability by including targeted questions relevant to facilities. Additionally, Higg FEM 4.0 unveiled a new anomaly detector designed to flag inconsistencies on-platform. The result, Razvi shared, is a tool that delivers better data quality and a more accurate environmental assessment.

Jeremy Lardeau, VP of Higg Index at SAC, presented on the specifics of the tool’s design during the first webinar, which was timed for participants from the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa; on the second, timed for participants from the Asia-Pacific region, this information was shared by Angela Ng, director, Higg Facility Tools at SAC. They were joined by John Armstrong, chief technology officer at Worldly, who presented on user experience, and Eustaquio Brant, environmental program manager at Bestseller, who shared the brand’s experience with Higg FEM 4.0.

The participants emphasized that the teams engaged 140 representatives across 12 Member Expert Teams (METs) to collect stakeholder feedback, spending two years on the process of building Higg FEM 4.0. Stakeholders on the METs represented 62 manufacturers, 57 brands/retailers, 10 service providers, and five affiliate members, and provided insights that helped to shape the FEM framework, scoring methodology, question content, and more, to build a tool that meets relevant industry standards and protocols. Finally, the webinar sessions outlined how Higg FEM 4.0 was tested by more than 400 users, who provided feedback within the platform. After a Q&A session, each webinar concluded with the understanding that Higg FEM 4.0 empowers users to identify, prioritize, and scale sustainability efforts.

As members transition to Higg FEM 4.0, the SAC and Worldly will host additional member and user webinars and Office Hours throughout the month.

Sustainable Apparel Coalition Talks Data on Worldly CSRD Compliance Strategy Webinar

  • Higg FEM
  • Higg Index Tools
Close up photo of two people looking at a report
November 13, 2023

Jeremy Lardeau, vice president of Higg Index at the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, joined a recent panel hosted by Worldly, an impact intelligence platform that is the exclusive licensee of the SAC Higg Index Tools, to discuss how brands can prepare for Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), which requires all large and listed companies (except listed micro-enterprises) to report on impacts to people and the environment, detailing how the risks materialize for investors. Lardeau joined John Armstrong, Worldly chief technology officer, and JR Siegel, Worldly senior director of product innovation, to discuss how companies can use the Higg Facility Tools to begin collecting the data in 2024 that they will need to report on ESG impact in 2025.

After Armstrong shared an overview of the changing sustainability landscape, Lardeau detailed the value of the Higg Index to report data and walked through key aspects of a CSRD guide that the SAC and Worldly are currently developing. He discussed how the Higg Index focuses on sustainability areas of high impact including carbon emissions, wastewater and energy among others. Through the Higg Index Tools, businesses can access the insights they will need for impact reduction, compliance and disclosure, Lardeau said.

However, when it comes to reducing carbon emissions, Lardeau noted that the vast majority of a fashion brand’s footprint is in its manufacturing supply chain, especially energy-intensive raw material production, preparation and processing. To that end, the Higg Facility Facility Environmental Module (FEM) tool helps facilities build a comprehensive view of primary energy, water and waste data in order to better understand impact and develop science-based strategies to reduce scope 3 emissions. Lardeau recommended a partnership approach, in which key suppliers can be engaged and incentivized through better purchasing practices, such as faster payment plans and larger orders with greater lead times.

To conclude the presentation, Siegel detailed how Worldly is mapping the CSRD to the Higg Tools and walked through key aspects of the guide.

CIEL Textile

  • Manufacturers
  • Higg FSLM
  • Higg FEM

Learn how one of the world’s leading and most innovative garment and fabrics manufacturers has achieved remarkable results on their journey towards a nature-positive and people-centric future.

CIEL Textile logo
CIEL Textile operations
November 07, 2023

People are our most precious asset, and the Higg FSLM helps us measure the effectiveness of our practices and work toward a best-in-class employee experience. Similarly, we leverage the Higg FEM as our guide to weave purpose into every thread of our operations. Our journey is a testament to the power of dedication, collaboration and innovation in transforming not just our business but the entire industry.”

– Quentin Thorel, Group Head of Sustainability at CIEL Textile.


CIEL Textile, an industry pioneer in sustainable practices, recently completed a purpose-driven transformation with remarkable results. With a strategic focus on fostering a nature-positive future, and ensuring decent work for all, their 2023 impact is indeed impressive.

In 2019, CIEL Textile implemented the Higg Facility Social and Labor Module (FSLM) and Higg Facility Environmental Module (FEM) tools across all of its 19 facilities, which employ 23,000 talents. Three years later, the impact is clear: CIEL Textile achieved a verified FSLM score of 85 percent and an impressive average FEM score of 88.4 percent – with some locations exceeding 90 percent. 

Meticulously tracking and monitoring sustainability metrics using several digital tools such as the Higg Index, the group tripled its investment in dedicated sustainability resources across all 19 facilities. This investment significantly impacted recruitment, working hours, wages, health and safety and more, emphasizing CIEL Textile’s commitment to improving the lives of its employees. 

CIEL Textile’s commitment to sustainability goes beyond its own operations: the group actively encourages its brand partners and stakeholders to align and adopt the Higg Facility Tools, avoiding not only audit duplication, but also empowering them, fostering a shared commitment to industry-wide sustainability. The group has already achieved its 2030 target of eliminating coal from its supply chains and is on track for goals related to carbon, water, waste management and circularity – including environmental improvement projects such as conserving and regenerating natural ecosystems and installing rainwater harvesting systems. Looking ahead, CIEL Textile aims for a verified Higg FEM score of 95 percent at all of its factories by 2025, reaffirming its unwavering commitment to driving sustainability and positive change in the apparel industry.

Sustainable Apparel Coalition Launches Higg FEM 4.0

  • Higg FEM
  • Higg Index Tools
Rear view of female workers working at sewing machines in clothing factory in a row
November 02, 2023

San Francisco, Amsterdam, Hong Kong – November 2, 2023: Today, in partnership with Worldly, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) launched the Higg Facility Environmental Module (FEM) 4.0 tool. This update marks an industry milestone in sustainability reporting to meet pressing environmental issues and industry standards, positioning Higg FEM 4.0, part of the Higg Index suite of tools, as the most applicable and leading assessment for environmental performance in the consumer goods industry.

Enabling more accurate reporting
As well as offering improved and more streamlined usability, Higg FEM 4.0 delivers better data quality. Featuring a new anomaly detector designed to flag inconsistencies, Higg FEM 4.0 provides more accurate reporting, ultimately enabling a more accurate environmental assessment of the industry.

Broader coverage of critical environmental issues
The tool also offers a deeper look at key environmental issues such as groundwater and soil contamination to help the industry make improvements at a global scale on critical issues. The new tool aligns with key global standards – including the GHG Protocol, the SBTi, and ZDHC Roadmap to Zero – to drive emissions reductions and reduce duplicative reporting. Additionally, Higg FEM 4.0 includes targeted questions that are more relevant to a facility’s processes, weeding out questions that are irrelevant.

Jeremy Lardeau, VP of the SAC Higg Index says, “Higg FEM 4.0 will bring impactful and necessary changes – from improved data quality to alignment with relevant industry standards, the updated tool offers a wide range of benefits to ultimately reshape how sustainable decisions are made along the supply chain.”

Industry led update
Higg FEM 4.0 was built on member and stakeholder feedback collected over the past two years It reflects the input of over 140 representatives across 12 Member Expert Teams (METs), including 62 representing manufacturers, 57 representing brands/retailers, 10 service providers, and five representing affiliate members. The METs, the FEM Strategic Council, partner organizations, and members all provided insights and feedback. The insights collected helped to shape the FEM framework, scoring methodology, question content, and more to build a tool that meets relevant industry standards and protocol. Additionally, Higg FEM 4.0 was tested by over 400 users who provided feedback within the platform. The SAC is excited for end users and stakeholders to experience the widespread benefits of Higg FEM 4.0, and empower them to identify, prioritize and scale sustainability efforts.

Jimmy Summers, Vice President of Environmental, Health, Safety & Sustainability, at Elevate Textiles: “Elevate Textiles is looking forward to the release of Higg FEM 4.0. Higg FEM is an essential part of transparently sharing our verified sustainability metrics and progress with our customers.  We also use Higg FEM as a foundational element of our overall sustainability program to ensure that all of our facilities around the world are meeting our expectations and improving their performance towards our facility-level and corporate goals and targets, including our Science-Based Targets for GHG reductions. We actively participated in the Higg FEM 4.0 pilot and are now prepared to ‘raise the bar’ with this more rigorous and beneficial version.”

Alan Chin, Senior Manager, Supply Chain Sustainability, at VF Corporation: “At VF, the Higg FEM assessment enables the company and our brands to measure key Scope 3 supplier-related impacts.  VF teams, along with the SAC staff, engage directly with our vendor partners to assess and improve supplier carbon emissions.  We are excited about the enhanced ability of the updated Higg FEM 4.0 to deliver actionable data and insights, enabling VF to support impact reductions across our global supply chain.”

James Schaffer, Worldly’s Chief Strategy Officer: “Higg FEM 4.0 is a game changer. In an industry with rapid change in impact reporting and regulation disclosure requirements, Higg FEM 4.0 directly addresses the current sustainability challenges and future needs businesses are facing. We’re proud to host this leading environmental assessment on the Worldly platform and provide businesses the impact intelligence they need. With new customized user experiences for facilities, Higg FEM 4.0 is an assessment tailored to facilities that gives brands visibility into the nuanced impact of their supply chain partners, so together they can identify hotspots and effectively improve their environmental footprint.”

Kyle Chung, Senior Manager – Sustainability, at Crystal International: “Crystal International’s sustainability efforts are strengthened by industry tools like Higg FEM to enhance environmental performance. Collaborating with our supplier network to leverage Higg FEM data and insights, we can make informed decisions to drive sustainability advancement across our operations and value chain. With the launch of the updated tool, we are better equipped to address the industry’s most pressing issues.”


— ENDS —

About the Higg FEM Tool
The Higg Facility Environmental Module (FEM) tool informs manufacturers, brands, and retailers about the environmental performance of their individual facilities, empowering them to scale sustainability improvements. The Higg FEM provides facilities a clear picture of environmental impacts and helps users identify and prioritize opportunities for performance improvements.

About the Sustainable Apparel Coalition
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is a global, non-profit alliance of over 280 organizations in the apparel, footwear, and textile industry. Initially formed to create standardized sustainability metrics, the SAC has sharpened its focus to driving pre-competitive, collective action across three foundational pillars. As an independent entity, the SAC brings together brands, retailers, manufacturers, NGOs, academics, and industry associations to combat climate change, ensure decent work, and contribute to a nature-positive future. Central to the SAC’s mission is the Higg Index, a suite of comprehensive tools that empower members to measure, evaluate, and improve sustainability performance across the supply chain.

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About Worldly
Worldly is the planet’s most comprehensive impact intelligence platform, trusted by 40,000+ major brands, retailers, and manufacturers in fashion, outdoor, home goods, toys, and more. Worldly uniquely collects high-resolution primary data specific to companies’ value chains, operations, and products, providing insight into true impacts across carbon, water, chemistry, and labor. Featuring the most comprehensive source of ESG data for global manufacturers and the largest library of materials and product impacts, Worldly empowers businesses to scale responsibility into their global operations, faster and more accurately. Hosting, connecting with, and supporting the leading industry solutions and methodologies including ZDHC, Bluesign, and the Higg Index – the most widely-adopted measure of sustainability in the apparel industry – Worldly delivers the insights businesses need to reduce their impact, comply with emerging regulatory and financial disclosure requirements, and meet the expectations of a new generation of customers.

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GIZ Hosts Higg FEM 4.0 Webinar

  • Higg FEM
  • Higg Index Tools
Photo of women working at a factory in a row
October 31, 2023

The German Agency for International Cooperation, the service provider in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development, recently hosted a webinar to highlight key changes between Higg FEM 3.0 and the forthcoming Higg FEM 4.0. Moderated by Rakesh Vazirani, head of sustainability services for business stream products, the webinar included Angela Ng, director of Higg Facility tools, in conversation with Mohammad Abdul Qaium, sustainability manager at OVS S.p.a., and Arunhariharan B S, sustainability analyst at Eastman Exports Global Clothing. The discussion was designed to educate attendees about what additional data manufacturers should start collecting for Higg FEM 4.0 in order to be better positioned to complete the self-assessment and verification, as well as how to best use the tool to drive impact. “The industry overall has certain goals for sustainability,” Vazirani said. “There are goals with regards to reduction of emissions, there are goals with regards to reduction of freshwater, and there are goals with regards to ensuring that biodiversity is not being negatively impacted. And of course the big picture goal is to have a circular textile value chain.”

Although the subject matter was high-level and technical, Ng noted the deep level of collaboration between SAC members that culminated in the update. “We spent the last two to three years working with over hundreds of members, stakeholders and facility users to collect feedback on the tool framework, scoring methodologies and all the questions’ content,” Ng said. “These insights coming from our key Member Expert Teams and Strategic Councils helped us identify gaps in regulations, industry standards and needs and incorporate these into the new version of the Higg FEM 4.0.”

As Ng detailed, this work fits into the SAC’s  broader vision of “Evolution for Impact” to drive scalable solutions for industry-wide decarbonization. As Qaium shared, OVS demonstrated this by introducing a Sustainability Linked Bond in 2021 and setting goals to achieve a  21 percent reduction in carbon emissions and ensure that 100 percent of their suppliers use the Higg FEM and Higg FSLM, with 80 percent of their volume verified by 2024.

Ng also explained framing around key changes to Higg FEM 4.0, including an increase in data points: Over 70 unique data points are part of the Higg FEM 4.0 update, including site permits, energy, water, emissions, waste and chemical management. Although industry progress is gradually improving -– the percentage of users meeting Higg FEM foundational requirements was 19 percent in 2022, versus 15 percent in 2021 -– Ng emphasized that the SAC views Higg FEM 4.0 as a game-changer for industry-wide progress. Through a single shared facility assessment tool, Higg FEM 4.0 is designed to reduce facility third-party assessments, fuel better quality data and align industry benchmarking. As Arunhariharan detailed, once the Higg FEM is adapted to the user’s facility, they will be able to set targets and understand barriers to achieving them.

Ng also touched on how the Higg FEM 4.0 aligns with key industry standards -– including the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol, Science-Based Targets initiative, and Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Roadmap to Zero -– as well as how the updated tool zeroes in on the most critical environmental impacts like groundwater contamination to ensure that it reflects the key impact areas where businesses need to evaluate and address current challenges.

Additionally, she talked about the improved assessment relevance. Through improved applicability criteria, users will now only see questions relevant to their specific operations, so they can spend less time on assessment questions that are irrelevant to them.

Finally, she discussed how the findings from Higg FEM 4.0 can be applied at scale. Once facility impacts are known, volume can be allocated to low-carbon suppliers -– a tactic that is already being seen among industry players. For example, Ng shared a recent analysis of Higg FEM data by carbon management company Reset Carbon which found the top 1,500 facilities contribute to around 79 percent of total emissions or some 82.8 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents. In the best case scenario, the industry can see an estimated 10 to 25 percent carbon reduction by shifting sourcing. By tapping insights from Higg FEM 4.0, devoting jobs to the most sustainable suppliers, the hope is that industry players see drastic improvement.

The SAC has scheduled a series of events that focus on the Higg FEM 4.0 update, including a webinar on November 7 and an APAC session on November 8.

Sustainable Apparel Coalition Discusses “Actions to the Sustainability Journey” at Fashion Summit Hong Kong

  • Higg FEM
  • Higg MSI
  • Higg Index Tools
  • Collective Action
Joyce Tsoi speaking on stage at Fashion Summit HK
October 23, 2023

SAC executives Jeremy Lardeau, Vice President Higg Index, and Joyce Tsoi, Director, Collective Action Programs, APAC, presented at Fashion Summit (HK), the sustainable fashion event funded by Create Hong Kong and organized by the Clothing Industry Training Authority (CITA), in support of the 2024 theme: “Actions to the Sustainability Journey.” After opening speeches from Richard Cheng, Chairman of Fashion Summit (HK) 2023, Kevin Yeung Yun-hung, GBS, JP Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, HKSAR Government, Hon. Sunny Tan, Member of the HKSAR Legislative Council (Textiles & Garment), and Yang Xiaodong, Vice President of the China Garment Association, Jeremy Lardeau, Vice President Higg Index, offered a keynote presentation on sustainability analytics in the apparel industry.

Lardeau initially shared background information about the SAC, the global multi-stakeholder nonprofit alliance that represents a diverse global membership of over 280 members – about 50% of the apparel and textile industry – in 36 countries. Lardeau explained that over the past two years, the organization has seen the greatest amount of growth, demonstrating the collaborative momentum of the industry coming together to address systemic challenges and co-develop solutions with an approach based in equal partnership.

Lardeau explored how the SAC’s work is anchored by the Higg Index, a suite of tools that measures social and environmental impact through five core tools based in three key categories: two Higg Product Tools and three Higg Facility Tools. “Developed in collaboration with our members, and employed throughout the decade as working tools achieving measurable sustainability goals, the Higg Index stands today as the leading example of end-to-end sustainability measurement index, for any industry,” Lardeau said. “These tools have matured into comprehensive, robust offerings ready to scale and form a template for our industry’s pursuit of impact improvements. Nonetheless, they will continue to evolve, as science improves and our understanding of the industry’s challenges deepen, allowing us to support our members and the industry.”

He then shared examples of how the tools serve the industry:

  • In collaboration with the World Resources Institute, the SAC leveraged Higg FEM data from nearly 18,000 facilities, and detailed material impact data from Higg MSI, to develop the most detailed apparel industry carbon emissions inventory. This work then helped identify and quantify the key interventions that can achieve a 1.5 degree aligned climate reduction target for the industry.
  • In partnership with Reset Carbon, the SAC used the Higg tools to dig deeper into facility level analysis, showing that of the 18,000 textile facilities that engaged in Higg Facility Environment Management (FEM) assessments, around 1,500 are responsible for 80% of their combined total carbon emissions. These were identified primarily as Tier 2 and laundry facilities located in China, Bangladesh, India, and Turkey. By quantifying the impact of interventions at this cohort of facilities, the data showed that offsite renewable electricity and energy efficiency are the two biggest levers for reducing carbon emissions at scale.

Finally, Lardeau closed with a challenge: “How do we finance, enable and execute these interventions, in a way that is fair and equitable across the value chain partners?” Building on this idea, Joyce Tsoi, SAC’s Director, Collective Action Programs, APAC, moderated a panel hosted by the Clothing Industry Training Authority that featured Delman Lee, Vice Chair of TAL Apparel Ltd. and SAC Immediate Past Board Chair, Andrew Lo, CEO of Crystal International Group Ltd., and Teresa Yang, Vice Chairman of Esquel Group.

As initial framing, Tsoi shared that companies around the globe are making bold commitments to combat climate change:  A recent Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi) report shows the highest number of companies set targets on record in 2022 alone than the entire seven years prior. And although an annual 4.2% emissions reduction is required for a 1.5ºC alignment for science-based targets, it was found that a typical SBTi-approved company has set even more ambitious goals, with a linear rate of 8.8% scope 1+2 reductions per year. In order to achieve these goals, Tsoi shared, companies will need to secure full organizational support for the company’s decarbonization priorities to achieve a just and equitable low carbon transition.

As all three panelists represent companies that have committed to long-term net zero goals by 2050, Tsoi asked questions that allowed them to share the pillars of their climate action programs, how they are incentivizing and empowering staff at all levels to take climate action, and how they are building collaborative ecosystems across organizations, sectors, and value chains to achieve a just and equitable low-carbon transition.

Sustainable Apparel Coalition and Worldly Share Higg FEM 4.0 Webpage Ahead of Launch

  • Higg FEM
  • Higg Index Tools
September 21, 2023

The SAC is excited to launch the Higg FEM 4.0 in November, providing a transformative shift in sustainability reporting for manufacturing facilities, brands and retailers. This dynamic tool has the potential to significantly change how and why decisions are made within the industry, and we want to make sure you have everything you need ahead of November’s launch. In partnership with Worldly, the SAC is excited to share a dedicated Higg FEM 4.0 webpage to bring you all the latest resources, key dates and updated information —all in one place.

Higg FEM 4.0: Major Updates
Updating Higg FEM 4.0 was a highly collaborative effort among SAC members. Over the past two years, we’ve worked with over 100 members to collect feedback on tool framework, scoring methodology and content. Insights from key Member Engagement Teams and the Strategic Council helped us to identify gaps in regulations, industry standards and needs, and incorporate member insights in order to significantly evolve the tool.

We view Higg FEM 4.0 as a gamechanger — here’s why:

  • Reduction of third-party assessments: through a single shared facility assessment tool, Higg FEM 4.0 is designed to reduce facility third-party assessments.
  • Better data quality: the Higg FEM 4.0 incorporates years of feedback, providing more detailed and more relevant data. The changes within the Higg FEM 4.0 tool were made as a direct result from member and user requests for more precise and accurate information, and we’re excited that the tool includes a new anomaly detector, designed to identify errors in real time.
  • Alignment with global industry standards: Higg FEM 4.0 aligns with key industry standards, including the GHG Protocol, Science-Based Targets initiative, and ZDHC Roadmap to Zero.
  • Expansion of environmental issues: the update covers more relevant environmental impacts — such as groundwater contamination — to ensure the tool reflects key impact areas businesses need to evaluate and addresses current challenges.
  • Improved assessment relevance: through improved applicability criteria, users will now only see questions relevant to their specific operations, so they can spend less time on assessment questions that are irrelevant to them.
  • Significant platform feature improvements: in addition to the new anomaly detector, Higg FEM 4.0 also offers easier access to guidance, optimized data exports, and an expanded online training library.

How to Prepare for Higg FEM 4.0
To help users prepare for Higg FEM 4.0, we’re thrilled to introduce a consolidated webpage where manufacturers, brands and supply chain partners can access important resources and critical information. In partnership with Worldly, we’ve developed a Higg FEM 4.0 webpage as a one-stop resource for all Higg FEM 4.0 announcements and training materials.

Visit to learn more about the Higg FEM 4.0 update and explore need-to-know information ahead of the launch in November.

Key webpage features include: 

  • Training materials: access key training resources, including the How to Higg Guide (2023) and the Higg FEM 4.0 Technical Paper.
  • Summary of benefits: learn more about how the Higg FEM 4.0 update is beneficial to you and to the industry as a whole.
  • Preparation information: benefit from tips and insights on how you can prepare your company and your supply chain to complete the assessment.
  • Important Dates: stay updated with the latest webinars, office hours, and learning opportunities leading up to November.

With in-depth training and content tailored to best prepare you ahead of time, the SAC and Worldly are prepared to help you navigate all changes, big and small. We’re excited to launch a tool that will better shape how decisions are made within each facility, and also drive the industry forward as a whole. Together, we’re not just meeting sustainability standards; we’re setting them.


The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is an industry-wide nonprofit alliance whose collective action efforts lead the consumer goods industry toward a more equitable and restorative future. The SAC owns and develops the Higg Index, a suite of tools that provides a standardized framework for organizations to assess sustainability impact throughout the product life cycle. Over the past decade, the SAC has focused on building and evolving the methodologies of the Higg Index using the latest scientific research, in collaboration with SAC members, consultants, stakeholders, industry experts, and ecosystem partners, such as Worldly. To learn more about the Higg Index, visit

Worldly is the planet’s most comprehensive impact intelligence platform, trusted by 40,000+ major brands, retailers, and manufacturers in fashion, outdoor, home goods, toys, and more. Worldly uniquely collects high-resolution primary data specific to companies’ value chains, operations, and products, providing insight into true impacts across carbon, water, chemistry, and labor. Featuring the most comprehensive source of ESG data for global manufacturers and the largest library of materials and product impacts, Worldly empowers businesses to scale responsibility into their global operations, faster and more accurately. Hosting, connecting with, and supporting the leading industry solutions and methodologies including ZDHC, Bluesign, and the Higg Index – the most widely-adopted measure of sustainability in the apparel industry – Worldly delivers the insights businesses need to reduce their impact, comply with emerging regulatory and financial disclosure requirements, and meet the expectations of a new generation of customers.