Brooks Running

  • Brands & Retailers
  • Higg MSI
  • Higg PM

Read how this American-based performance athletic company uses Higg Product Tools to assess their environmental footprint.

Brooks Running logo
A running track with white lines and trees
November 10, 2023

“The Higg Product Tools empowered us to craft a sustainable strategy that aligns with our Planet 2030 commitments. With a solid understanding of the environmental footprint of materials and products across their life cycles, we are now equipped with data-driven insights to make informed decisions and realize our vision for a sustainable future. By leveraging these innovative tools, we’re not just running towards sustainability – we’re redefining the race.” 

— David Kemp, Director of Corporate Responsibility, Brooks Running


Brooks Running harnessed the power of the Higg Product Tools, including the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) and Higg Product Module (PM), to gain insights into its environmental impact and build strategies to achieve its climate and environmental commitments. The company used the tools to meticulously assess the impacts of both the raw materials (Tier 4) and processing stages (Tier 2 and 3) that contribute to its product ecosystem.

The Higg Index tools are fueled by collaboration. Brooks Running’s dedicated corporate responsibility team worked closely with suppliers to collect material-specific information – from composition and raw material type to dyeing and finishing methods. In instances where suppliers did not provide enough information, the team utilized the Higg MSI’s default values to ensure comprehensive coverage. Through this work, they were able to assess their environmental impact and identify which materials aligned best with their Planet 2030 commitments. The resulting reporting provided Brooks Running with a more accurate emissions factor for each material’s global warming potential, which was used to improve the accuracy of the company’s corporate Scope 3 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol emissions reporting.

In addition to their use of the Higg MSI, Brooks Running continued to scale its adoption of the Higg PM – entering footwear and apparel materials into the Higg MSI in order to evaluate the environmental impact of footwear and apparel styles through the Higg PM.

Sustainable Apparel Coalition Talks Data on GreenBiz x EDF Webcast

  • Higg Index Tools
  • Higg MSI
  • Higg PM
Photo of wind turbines in a green forested area
November 09, 2023

Joël Mertens, director Higg Product Tools Sustainable Apparel Coalition, joined a recent GreenBiz webcast sponsored by Environmental Defense Fund to discuss “How Circularity Can Help Advance Your Net Zero Strategy.” Hosted by Kori Goldberg, circular economy manager at GreenBiz, additional speakers included Andy Ruben, founder and executive director at Trove, Pete Edmunds, sustainability director at Deloitte, and EDF’s Thorfinn Stainforth, senior policy analyst at Environmental Defense Fund, and Elizabeth Strurcken, managing director.


The conversation was inspired by a new report from EDF and Deloitte, which outlines how companies can gain value and advance net-zero goals by transitioning to circular strategies – including reaching new markets and advancing climate outcomes.


After Sturcken introduced the report as the third in a collaborative series with Deloitte intended to help businesses make tangible progress towards their net-zero goals, Edmunds shared industry-specific circularity strategies for the textiles, packaging and automatic industries. He highlighted Lululemon’s plant-based nylon and the Loop reverse logistics programs, as well as the automotive industry’s shift to mobility as a service and battery reprocessing to meet demand from the growing EV market. Then, Ruben discussed a recent study on which Trove collaborated with Worldly, the exclusive licensee of the SAC’s Higg Index Tools, to determine the carbon savings of resale in comparison to rental and subscription.


Mertens emphasized the importance of pre-competitive collaboration in moving from commitment to action, stressing the success of this model in developing the Higg Index Tools. He shared that elements of circularity are embedded in the Higg Product Tools and provide a solid foundation for brands exploring circularity. However, he cautioned that brands should be careful about communicating circularity to consumers in the absence of impact measurements, as this can be construed as greenwashing.


Finally, Stainforth outlined circular policy developments in the EU, including their global impact, and three ways that companies can move faster and further on circularity.

Technical Review of the Higg MSI and Higg PM Tools

  • Higg Index Tools
  • Higg MSI
  • Higg PM

We are grateful to KPMG for their work in developing this report, which captures the invaluable insights and recommendations derived from the expert review of the Higg MSI and Higg PM tools.

September 26, 2023

Evolving for Change: Learnings and Action From the Technical Review of the Higg MSI and PM Tools

  • Higg MSI
  • Higg PM
Black and white headshot of Jeremy Lardeau
Jeremy Lardeau
September 26, 2023

The SAC was founded on the idea of evolution. Through ongoing updates, our tools become more and more powerful at helping our members transform their businesses. Today, we continue to demonstrate that core concept with the publication of the first report from our Higg Index Review process, which is downloadable here. The report addresses the Higg Product Tools – the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) and the Higg Product Module (PM) – and plays an important role in helping us reassess and evolve our product life cycle tools in order to best serve the industry. 

But change doesn’t happen in a vacuum: We had to listen and learn from you, our community. To do so, we engaged KPMG, which coordinated the creation of a panel of experts that represent a cross-section of the industry; KPMG led the process of generating the report, ensuring that it remained unbiased and independent. All who participated brought insightful perspectives that triggered powerful conversations about how we — the SAC, and the apparel and textile industry — can evolve the tools to drive greater impact. We were again reminded that our tools, while tailored to this industry, must respond to the global call to reduce social and environmental impacts as a whole and align with global industry standards. 

With a broad range of representation from the expert panel, we welcomed the strengths that were acknowledged, including the tools’ alignment with ISO LCA phases to quantify and assess the environmental impacts of materials and products. But more importantly, the review process surfaced clear feedback and recommendations to improve these tools. We are taking these recommendations to heart and we have started evaluating how best to address each recommendation. 

In some cases, the work is already underway. 

We are re-working the Higg MSI data structure and leveraging the forthcoming Higg Facility Environmental Module (FEM) update, which will launch in September, to connect them and allow factory-specific data to inform Higg MSI data sets, and which will lead to improved geographical coverage and specificity within the Higg Product Tools. We’re also actively working to improve data quality within our background datasets (secondary data), specifically in cotton fiber and textile wet processing data. Through this effort, we’re working with supply chain stakeholders to determine the type of data that is available, outline data gaps, identify intrinsic differences due to geography, and build consistent LCA models that can show improvements over time. This is a process that we’ll continue to replicate with other materials and processing stages in the future.

The expert panel also recommended that our tools must align with EU Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) – an evolving LCA methodology, that aims to create a harmonized common framework for calculating and communicating impact — and we fully agree. We’ve long incorporated alignment to the Apparel & Footwear PEFCR into our strategy goals and methodologies. For example: Our requirement on including renewable energy is aligned with PEF, as is our methodology to calculate the water impacts.

In other cases, we believe we can implement changes in the next phase of regular tool updates.

For example, we will develop the recommended signals and warnings, as well as offering more education and training, to help users correctly and more effectively use the tools. 

Finally, some recommendations will require a deeper process of stakeholder engagement and research to explore feasibility and practical application.

For example, the SAC is closely monitoring the progress made in ways to assess the full impacts of marine litter and microplastics in LCA data. Ultimately, the ongoing evolution of the tools means the SAC will continue to assess the recommendations over the coming months and how best to implement them in the tools’ development roadmap. 

In 2024, we will be conducting independent reviews for the Higg Brand and Retail Module (BRM) and Higg Facility Environmental Module (FEM) tools. Due to the timing of these updates, the Higg Product Tools were reviewed first. The remaining Higg Index Review reports will be shared in full by the SAC once they have been finalized by the review panels. 

Science isn’t static — and neither are we. We are committed to continued enhancement in order to arm the industry with the most robust, data-driven tools so that we can all stand behind decisions that are as socially responsible as they are environmentally sound. Finally, we are grateful for those who contributed their time and effort to the process of generating this report, as well as for the continued engagement of – and critical feedback from – our trusted members and partners.

Sustainable Apparel Coalition Presents on “Unlocking the Power of Packaging”

  • Higg Index Tools
  • Higg PM
Photo of Lee Green presenting
September 21, 2023

Lee Green, the SAC’s Senior Director of Marketing & Communications, recently presented on intersection between emerging policies and packaging at the “Unlocking the Power of Packaging: From Supply Chain Efficiency to Improved Sustainability” dinner hosted by Billerud, a paper and packaging materials company based in Sweden. The presentation also included remarks from the company’s Business Relationship Manager, Adam Sarama, and Global Commercial Director, Robert Testa, as well as a case study in packaging optimization presented by Maja Midebo, Senior Packaging Designer, and Johan Matsson, Manager of the EMEA & US Account Management Team, followed by interactive roundtable discussions.

Green began his presentation with the caveat that, when it comes to packaging and policy, the SAC’s Higg tools should not be seen as compliance checklists. The tools, which measure and score a company’s sustainability performance, should instead be seen as analytical frameworks, designed to provide actionable insights for continuous improvement on sustainable practices across the supply chain — including packaging. “Imagine you’re a sailor navigating treacherous waters without a compass — that’s what sustainability efforts are like without the Higg Index,” Green said. “The Higg tools provide a high-resolution map of your environmental and social impacts, helping to guide the journey toward sustainability. They’re more than tools; they’re your sustainability North Star.”

With that idea in mind, Green shared that the Higg Product Module (PM) does request information on packaging — its materials, reusability, and overall lifecycle — which can aid in determining a product’s overall environmental footprint. SAC Member brands like ALDO used the Higg PM to help commit to reducing the environmental impact of packaging through the use of post-consumer recycled materials in mailers, redesigning shoeboxes with handles to eliminate the need for additional bags, and utilizing 100% recycled materials for e-commerce shipping bags; similarly, Nike used analysis from the PM in developing its One Box packaging concept, which ships shoes in a shoebox, eliminating the need for an additional outer box and reducing packaging waste by 50%, bringing the company closer to its target of cutting waste by 10% per unit by 2025. However, Green emphasized that the tool generates analysis, rather than a compliance checklist. “While it can indicate whether your packaging strategy aligns with your sustainability goals, the Higg PM does not provide a roadmap to phase out, for example, single-use plastics,” he said. “Those initiatives need to be separately formulated, often requiring in-depth lifecycle assessments and material flow analyses.”

Green noted that the SAC’s view on regulations is that more stringent regulations can incentivize collective action. “While regulations can be seen as challenges,” he said, “We see them as opportunities — a catalyst for change. They demand that industry leaders embrace sustainable innovation, which leads to collective action, which is critical to the SAC’s mission of transforming the global consumer goods industry into one that gives more than it takes — to the planet and its people.”

As Green shared, the evolution of this idea is that out of collective action comes an ethos of shared responsibility and innovation. When it comes to packaging, Green said, “Regulations might set the rules, but they also open up a realm of possibilities for sustainable advancements in material science, design, and circular economy models related to packaging. This is where your expertise and willingness to collaborate can create industry-transforming solutions.”

Green shared how the SAC’s collective action mandate focuses on impact, not just compliance, helping members to understand regulations and their business impacts. And he described how the Higg Index tools and frameworks go beyond minimum requirements, helping members contribute positively to societal and environmental changes and providing a space where companies can collaborate and pool resources.

Finally, he closed by describing how the SAC is in a state of evolution, moving from isolated tools to holistic programs that address sustainability at scale, built on pillars like combating climate change, ensuring decent work, and creating a nature-positive future — which are all extremely relevant to packaging, given its flow in product lifecycle and waste management. “Data isn’t just a tool; it’s a compass,” Green said. “It directs us towards actionable goals and validates our journey, allowing us to participate constructively in policy dialogues and to fine-tune our practices to meet and exceed regulatory guidelines — making systemic change not just possible but inevitable.”