Frequently Asked Questions

Our work can be complicated. We hope you’ll find helpful information throughout our website, as well as on this page, where questions are categorized to help you find the right answers.

SAC FAQs
  • SAT: Science-Aligned Targets
    The primary difference between SATs and SBTs is that SATs under MCAP do not include scope 3 emissions.
  • SBT: Science-Based Target
    Science-based targets provide a clearly-defined pathway for companies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, helping prevent the worst impacts of climate change and future-proof business growth.Targets are considered ‘science-based’ if they are in line with what the latest climate science deems necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement – limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
  • SCAP: Supplier Climate Action Program
    Developed by Nike INC., SCAP empowers manufacturers to set science-aligned targets, and this program set the stage for MCAP’s comprehensive approach.
  • MCAP: Manufacturer Climate Action Program
    Developed by Cascale, MCAP unites manufacturers worldwide to combat climate change, driving sustainable change through science-aligned targets.
  • How does Cascale view transparency?
    In the spirit of transparency, we are measuring success through tool and program adoption, member engagement, and member commitments, among other factors. We support programs through peer-to-peer learning, community sharing, SBT-certification training sessions, Higg Index training sessions, the Manufacturer Climate Action Program (MCAP), and incoming strategic partnerships. This work will be documented in our annual impact assessment reports and updated through our regular communications and events.
  • What role does the Higg Index play in our work and will the tools be impacted by the rebrand?
    The Higg Index remains fundamental to our work. It’s used by over 24,000 users and showcases the importance of deep collaboration in driving systemic change. The Cascale will continue to own and develop the Higg Index, even after its rebrand. The rebrand will not affect the name of the Higg Index suite of tools.
  • Will the rebrand affect how companies communicate their performance using the Higg Index?
    No, the rebrand will not affect how companies communicate their performance of the Higg Index. However, it’s important to use “Cascale” instead of “the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC)” where applicable. We encourage Higg Index users to refer to the Higg Index Communication Guidelines for more information on effectively communicating their performance and to actively promote the Higg Index.
  • What is Cascale's approach to collaboration and its existing partnerships?
    Cascale prioritizes collaboration as fundamental to achieving its goals and fostering industry-wide transformation. We maintain close relationships with various organizations and industry associations, including the apparel alliance (Apparel Impact Institute, Textile Exchange, ZDHC Foundation, and Cascale), the Social & Labor Convergence Program, Policy Hub, Fair Wear Foundation, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH programs, among others. These collaborations remain intact post-rebranding, underscoring our commitment to collective action and leveraging diverse expertise and resources to drive meaningful change within the industry. Cascale continuously develops and supports initiatives aimed at catalyzing impact at scale.
  • Will your relationship with Worldly be changed by the rebrand?
    Not at all. Worldly, the leader in environmental and social impact data for the apparel and footwear industry that spun off from SAC in 2019, will remain the exclusive platform for the Higg Index.
  • How were members and stakeholders involved in the rebranding process?
    Throughout our rebranding journey, we actively engaged our members and stakeholders through surveys, workshops, and one-on-one interactions. Their insights and feedback significantly shaped our evolution to Cascale.
  • Is the rebrand related to past criticisms?
    No, for several years our organization has been in a deep state of reflection on how we could rise to meet the urgent challenges of our time. This is evidenced in the revision to our strategic plan, which was announced in September 2023. In fact, the rebrand planning began back in 2021 and we were already engaging members about the rebrand at this time.
  • What is the significance of the new name and logo?
    “Cascale” represents collective action at scale. The name incorporates a mirroring of the letters 'S', 'A', and 'C', a nod to our origins and connection to its predecessor, SAC, and our own self-reflection. The logomark’s visual elements symbolize a new phase, akin to lunar cycles, reflecting Cascale’s dynamic evolutions. The name is also indicative of the organization's period of deep reflection, as it looks to expand its influence and scale impact in its next era. The elements of the Cascale logo also represent three member categories and external stakeholders, emphasizing the critical role each plays in our shared success.
  • When did the rebrand project begin?
    This work initially began in 2021 and restarted in Q4 2022 after a short pause. This decision was part of our commitment to ensuring that the rebranding journey aligns with SAC’s strategic plan, announced in September of 2023.
  • How does the rebrand relate to Cascale’s expansion into adjacent product categories?
    Our strategic expansion into adjacent product categories such as home furnishings, sporting and outdoor goods, and bags and luggage directly responds to the longstanding needs of our members. This initiative ensures we're equipped to support our members' efforts to drive sustainability across their diverse operations. The rebrand to Cascale reflects this broader commitment, symbolizing our evolution to encompass a wider array of consumer goods beyond apparel and footwear. This move is not only about recruiting new members from these categories but about enhancing our support for all members. By aligning our identity with the comprehensive scope of our members' activities, we're facilitating more effective use of the Higg Index tools, reinforcing our mission to drive impactful sustainability practices across the entire consumer goods industry. As of January 2024, 10% of Cascale’s members serve or operate in product categories adjacent to apparel and footwear.
  • Is Cascale still a membership organization?
    Yes. Spanning over 300 retailers, brands, manufacturers, governments, academics, industry associations, and NGOs/nonprofits around the globe, Cascale’s members are united by a singular vision: to catalyze impact at scale and give back more than they take to the planet and its people.
  • How do you pronounce “Cascale?”
    Cascale is pronounced “kæsk eɪl.” [pronounce_word word="Cascale"]
  • When did the rebrand take effect?
    The SAC rebranded to Cascale on Monday, February 26, 2024. To learn more, refer to the rebrand announcement press release.
  • Why rebrand from the Sustainable Apparel Coalition to Cascale?
    The rebrand to Cascale represents a new phase of positive impact in our journey towards a more equitable and restorative consumer goods industry. Our journey has evolved from fostering collaboration and tool development, to tool adoption and strategic collaborations, and finally to finding new avenues for scaling impact. The Higg Index – which we own and develop – remains essential to our origins and of global influence in global apparel supply chains. Today, we are exploring additional, complementary avenues of change to scale insights, share learnings, and foster adoption of tools and best practices.
  • As we are not covering Level 2 & 3 questions, can we eliminate the requirements for chemical specialists?
    Cascale does not plan to make any changes to the requirements for chemical specialists. We will review these requirements in respect to the verification evolution in the subsequent years.
  • How does Higg FEM 4.0 affect the requirement of the chemical specialist?
    Given that the core verification question set consists of questions within Level 1, either a generalist or a chemical specialist verifier is able to verify the core question set.
  • Does Cascale intend to provide training to the verifiers? When will Cascale developed training materials be available?
    Cascale will provide onboarding training for verifiers on: – Understanding the core question set, and – The verification approach for CY2024. – This training is expected to be available prior to the start of the CY2024 Verification cadence.Cascale will not be requiring verifiers to undergo a full FEM 4.0 training for the purpose of verification; however, Verifiers are free to undergo this training on their own.
  • Are there any new requirements for VBs or Verifiers to be qualified for FEM 4.0 Verification?
    For CY2024, VBs or Verifiers do not have to undergo any additional qualification requirements to be able to conduct verifications. The regular VSM and application process applies.
  • How does the core verification approach benefit manufacturers?
    Core verification approach intends to keep the verification cost change neutral for manufacturers in CY2024. Furthermore, Cascale recognizes  the need to articulate clear value for manufacturers to adopt and leverage the Higg FEM program internally. Please stay tuned for more updates in the future.
  • What if the factory requests to go beyond the proposed scope for foundational and quantitative questions? Will this be allowed? Does Cascale intend to provide advanced facilities with full Higg FEM 4.0 verification during CY2024? What will be the approach if any brand requests full Higg FEM 4.0 verification?
    This will not be possible for the verification scope of CY2024. The intention for introducing the core verification approach is to minimize cost increase, maintain verifier availability and address quality concerns being raised across the past cadences. Worldly’s platform will be set up to reflect only core questions for verification. Facilities should utilize CY2024 to complete the full Higg FEM 4.0 question set and aim to understand the questions thoroughly before verification comes in.
  • What would be the guidance from Cascale for brands who use verified scores for their supplier evaluation programs?
    Cascale recognizes that an aggregate verified Higg FEM score, or the comparison of self- and verified-assessment scores during a given cadence should not be the only form of performance measurement for a facility. A single score fails to provide a comprehensive picture of a facility’s performance. A more holistic assessment of a facility’s impact/progress should include a facility’s section/impact wise performance, historic improvements and sector-wise benchmark.We also recognize that the verified Higg FEM scores have become an essential component of a brand’s supply chain sustainability program. Cascale is assessing alternative metrics which align with the proposed core verification approach that could potentially support the brand’s internal processes.
  • How will Cascale / Worldly incorporate automated quality checks?
    Worldly is implementing data quality checks on the platform in consultation with Cascale. These are an initial set of checks/flags which will be implemented for the energy section in particular.
  • What are the costs for verifying Higg FEM as per the core verification approach?
    Core verification will include a subset of Higg FEM 4.0 question set: Foundational questions and Quantitative Impact Metrics questions on GHG and water consumption. Cascale recommends a standard two person-day verification duration for conducting a core question set verification. Further specific guidance is outlined in the Verification Protocol, however the verification shall not exceed three person days. This will ensure maintaining the cost of verification at FEM 3.0 levels, while at the same time enabling the verifier to focus on delivering a high quality verification.Please refer to Worldly subscription packages on their website. Additionally, Cascale will charge a Verification Program Fee, which will be levied via Verifier Bodies.
  • What does the core verification approach include?
    Foundational Environmental Performance “Foundational Environmental Performance” refers to the essential good practices that a business must demonstrate in order to operate responsibly and sustainably. The specific criteria for including FEM questions in the Foundational Environmental Performance subset are: – Critical legal requirements: the regulatory compliance requirements that are common across most jurisdictions, and – Basic and foundational management practices: the foundational elements of a management system necessary to identify and prevent the most critical environmental risks. Essential Quantitative Metrics – These are questions or REFIDs which provide data points that help to calculate a facility’s total GHG emissions and water consumption.Please review Appendix C of the Higg FEM Verification Protocol to learn more about the specific questions included.
  • What is the scope of Higg FEM verification for CY2024?
    The scope of verification will be limited to a core set of questions which align with brands/retailers current needs from the Higg FEM. Based on consultations with brands, these have been identified to be Foundational Performance (as captured in Facility Foundations, utilized in lieu of brand codes of conduct) and Quantitative Impact Metrics (GHG emissions and water consumption).
  • Why is Cascale proposing these verification changes?
    Higg FEM verifications grew at a compounded annual growth rate of 60 percent since the verification program was launched in CY2018. The quality of verifications have been a trade off during this growth phase. Systemically thinking, the audit framework approach applied to most verifications, the different needs that Higg FEM addresses, the skill gap to enable a high quality verification and a shorter time frame all contribute to quality concerns. These issues are predicted to exacerbate with an expanded question set. Additionally, compliance costs borne by facilities across various environment sustainability programs have been on the rise. All of these issues have led to Cascale evolving the verification program.
  • What has changed in the verification approach for Higg FEM 4.0 / CY2024?
    The scope for verification during CY2024 will be narrowed to Foundational Performance and Quantitative Impact Metrics (limited to GHG emissions and water consumption). These questions are a subset of the Higg FEM 4.0 question set.
  • What is the Cascale approved trainer program?
    Cascale has created an approved trainer program to provide a customized support option for facilities completing the FEM. Learn more about this here.
  • Where can I find the details of requirements for verifier bodies and verifiers?
    View the Higg FEM VB and Verifier Requirements Protocol here. This document outlines the requirements that Cascale-approved Higg FEM Verifier Bodies (VBs) must meet to maintain their status as approved VBs in Cascale Higg Facility Environmental Module (FEM) Program.
  • Who are the approved FEM Verifier Bodies?
    View the list of approved FEM verifier bodies along with their contact information and regions of operation here.
  • Who is the Verifier Body (VB)?
    A company that is qualified and approved to perform the Verification Process in accordance with the defined procedures and protocols.
  • How can a facility or a brand adopt Higg FEM verification within their operations?
    You can go through the verification resources, protocols and guides available here. Or you can get in touch with the Cascale directly.
  • What are the different types of verifications?
    There are two types. 
    1. Onsite Verification: where the Verifier is required to visit the facility premises. If a facility wishes to publicly communicate Higg Index scoring they must complete onsite verification.
    2. Off Site Verification: where the Verifier is able to conduct the verification without going to the site, usually by other means such as e-mail, pictures, web-conference, etc.
  • What is a Higg FEM Verification?
    Verification refers to the methods and processes by which an eligible Verifier Body obtains appropriate evidence in order to express a conclusion on the reliability and accuracy of the Higg FEM self-assessment data (that is, the outcome of the measurement or evaluation of results against defined criteria).  Through verification, a facility can improve the credibility of their Higg FEM self-assessment so that it may be used for:
    • Business-to-business purposes e.g. supply chain sustainability evaluation programs managed by brands or retailers 
    • Business-to-consumer purposes e.g. showcasing their environment performance through a sustainability report
    • Identifying opportunities for improvement to reduce environmental impact of their operations
    • Reducing the need for multiple proprietary environmental audits 
  • What is Cascale?
    Cascale is an independent and impact-creating organization that aims to catalyze collective action toward an equitable and restorative consumer goods industry. This will be achieved by aligning our global community around shared goals, developing and executing joint solutions, and leading the acceleration of impact at scale with our strategic partners. Formerly known as The Sustainable Apparel Coalition, we are stepping into a new era of impact with a new name, new look, and same enduring vision. So, call us Cascale.
  • When and why was Cascale formed?
    Before Cascale existed, companies worked in silos, using their own programs and measurements that lacked standardization and an ability to drive collective action. In 2009, Walmart and Patagonia identified this as a serious problem. They joined forces and brought together peers, competitors, and relevant stakeholders from across the sector, on a pre-competitive basis, to develop a universal approach to measuring sustainability performance, and founded Cascale.
  • How is Cascale governed?
    The Board of Directors is Cascale’s principal governing body. They are responsible for setting our strategic direction as well as overseeing the smooth functioning of the organization, including fiduciary oversight and guidance and oversight of the CEO. The Board is parity-based, meaning each membership category - manufacturer, retailer/brand, and affiliate - have equal representation and an equal voice.
  • What is the Higg Index?
    The Higg Index is a Cascale-owned suite of data driven tools for brands, retailers and manufacturers to measure sustainability performance in the apparel, footwear and textile industry. It comprises different tools that enable the measurement of environmental and social impacts of products as well as the companies making them. The Higg Index tools have matured into comprehensive, ready to use at scale, forming the basis for understanding performance and improving it over time - both for individual companies and as an industry. They offer those just beginning their efforts a structured place to start their sustainability journey, reducing audit fatigue and enabling them to focus their time and resources on improving management practices to inform their individual sustainability strategies and drive collective industry transformation.

  • What is the difference between worldly and the Higg Index, and what is its relationship with Cascale?
    Worldly, formerly Higg Company, was launched in 2019 as a public-benefit technology company to build software for sustainability assessment methodologies. It is a separate company from Cascale. Worldly is the exclusive licensee of the Higg Index suite tools. This means the Higg Index suite of tools can only be developed by Worldly for use on its software platform.  Cascale created and owns the methodology for the Higg Index to be a standardized sustainability assessment tool for the fashion and apparel industry to track and measure their social and environmental impacts. We continue to manage and evolve the methodology for the Higg Index to better meet the needs of the industry. In summary, Cascale owns the Higg Index tools and manages the evolution of the content (i.e. the methodology underpinning the tools: what the questions are, how they are scored, and so on), while Worldly develops the Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that brings the tools to its users. 

  • What tools make up the Higg Index? How do they work and what do they measure?
    The Higg Index is made up of three categories of tools that together assess the social and environmental performance of the value chain and the environmental impacts of products. These are the Facility Tools, Brand and Retail Tools, and the Product Life Cycle Tools. Across topics such as water use, carbon emissions, and labor conditions, consumer goods brands, retailers, manufacturers, governments, and NGOs, can use the Higg Index to inform their individual sustainability strategies and drive collective industry transformation.  Higg Product Tools The Higg Product Tools use life cycle assessment data to inform the decision-making process at every stage of product development, and are made up of two tools. The Higg Materials Sustainability Index (Higg MSI) enables designers and product developers to assess and understand the cradle-to-gate impacts of millions of possible manufacturing variations, which in turn allows them to make better materials and production choices. The Higg MSI being a cradle-to-gate assessment means that it considers impacts associated with material production only - impacts from subsequent lifecycle phases are considered in the Higg Product Module. Decisions at this stage of product development can significantly impact an apparel company’s Scope 3 emissions and the Higg MSI tool can play a key role in the achievement of Science Based Targets.    The Higg Product Module (Higg PM) measures the cradle-to-grave impacts of a product, which means that it can measure from the beginning (when choosing the raw materials) all the way up to manufacturing impacts, product durability, care, and end of use. Facility Tools  The Facility Tools allow manufacturing facilities around the world to measure and improve their sustainability performance.   The Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM) assesses a facility across several dimensions such as energy & GHG emissions, water use & effluent, waste management, and chemicals.  The Higg Facility Social & Labor Module (Higg FSLM) focuses on topics including working hours, wages & benefits, health & safety, and empowering communities.   Beyond the clear environmental and social benefits provided, the Higg Facility tools adds value to manufacturing facilities in particular, because they are able to report their performance to multiple customers via the digital Higg platform. This reduces the reporting burden placed on manufacturing facilities and moves the focus of conversations between buyers and suppliers away from auditing and reporting and towards engagement and improvement.   Brand and Retail Tools The Higg Brand & Retail Module (Higg BRM) helps brands and retailers evaluate and improve the environmental, social and governance performance of their business operations, from products, supply chains, packaging, retail stores, offices, transportation, and distribution centers.  The assessment covers 11 key areas, split across three pillars (environmental impacts, social impacts, governance)
    • Environmental impacts include water, climate, chemicals, waste and biodiversity
    • Social impacts include workers, employees, consumers and communities. 
    • Governance impacts include structure and management, ethics and behavior. 
    The Higg BRM provides one finite score out of 100, in addition to score breakdowns per pillar and impact area, helping brands and retailers to understand, communicate and benchmark their impacts against peers.

  • Who is behind the development of the Higg Index Tools?
    The Higg Index suite of tools was developed by Cascale in collaboration with its multi-stakeholder membership - consisting of leading apparel, footwear, and textile brands, retailers, manufacturers, service providers, trade associations, nonprofits/NGOs, and academic institutions - as well as technology partner Worldly (formerly Higg Company) and industry stakeholders and experts over the past ten years to offer a standardized approach for members to measure their impact areas.
  • How many companies are currently using the Higg Index suite of tools?
    Cascale, in collaboration with technology partner Worldly, has grown the Higg Index user base to 21,483 organizations across 33 countries. Overall, the Higg Index has more than 45,000 users, including hundreds of brands and tens of thousands of facilities. The purpose of the Higg Index is to help companies measure, track, and make progress toward their sustainability efforts. These tools are standardized, credible business intelligence tools that ensure brands, retailers and manufacturers are all using a common language for sustainability measurement and performance.
  • How has the experience with the NCA impacted cascale and how it’s working with industry?
    The notification from the NCA regarding the use of Higg Index data to support consumer-facing environmental claims was challenging, but it also framed a positive period of self-reflection for Cascale and has ultimately helped us grow and evolve. The collaboration with the NCA and other consumer authorities globally, as well as our members, drove us to revisit our role in how best to support our members to achieve their sustainability goals. Cascale’s role is to establish common ground with all parties of the consumer goods industry, including our critics, because our mutual focus is ultimately to transform the social and environmental impact of the consumer goods industry. We are living in a climate emergency, and it will take all actors from across the value chain to drive change. This is what Cascale was set up to achieve, and what it remains ardently committed to.
  • Is material biodegradability considered in the Higg MSI Scores?
    The research of impacts related to biodegradability of materials is ongoing and there is currently no sound method for inclusion. Cascale plans to review methodologies with members when available.
  • Is it true that the Higg MSI favors synthetic materials more than natural materials?
    No, the Higg MSI doesn’t favor one material over another, nor does it provide comparisons between one material and another. However, it does provide data to help inform the creation of materials that are better for people and the planet. It’s not about replacing one fiber for another but rather replacing all fibers with more sustainable versions of themselves.
  • How does the Higg MSI look at materials, and what is the process?
    The Higg MSI helps product designers and developers make more informed decisions about materials – for example by showing the impact improvements achievable through ‘dope dyeing’, where color is added directly during raw material production. By showing where the ‘environmental hotspots’ are in the production of a material, the Higg MSI has identified that for the vast majority of fiber types, 68 to 80 percent of the materials' impacts are in manufacturing.
  • How does Cascale engage with industry stakeholders to collect and improve data for its tools?
    Cascale continuously invites collaboration and engages with associations across the industry such as the leather industry because we believe it is the industry experts that have the deepest knowledge and access to primary information about their respective material types.  As part of continual work to improve the tools, Cascale also regularly calls on the industry to help close the data gaps that currently exist. New data from the materials and fiber industry is always welcomed, to collaboratively accelerate progress on climate issues. As the science develops, so do the Higg Index tools.  Cascale runs an open process inviting industry stakeholders to share new data in an effort to continuously improve the information on which designers and developers base their materials choices. Submissions are welcomed and encouraged so the MSI can be updated.  Cascale is not the source of any LCA data but simply consolidates the best available LCA data in a single place, and relies on the industry sectors and their LCA practitioners for the data.
  • Does the Higg MSI account for the full life cycle of synthetic fibers, including microfiber shedding fossil fuels and microplastic pollution?
    The extraction of fossil fuel is included in the Higg MSI and is a fundamental part of LCA to include the extraction of raw materials.  Microfiber shedding is not included as there isn’t full alignment in the scientific community around how to properly measure and account for microfiber shedding impacts in LCA. We’re keeping a close eye on the developments in this field, and as science evolves so will our tools.

  • Is the methodology for the Higg MSI and Higg PM accessible to the public?
    Yes. The methodologies for both the Higg MSI and Higg PM are accessible publicly online. External experts have reviewed these tools as part of a methodology review process, and these reports are also made available in the methodology document.
  • What kind of data is contributed to through MSI contributor?
    The data entered into the MSI database through the MSI Contributor is material production and processing impact data submitted by manufacturers. This data is reviewed to ensure it meets submission and consistency requirements. This enables only the outputs i.e. LCIA impacts and the MSI scores to be shared while protecting proprietary information. To assess a garment, the materials used are modeled in the Higg MSI from this available process impact data. From here, the manufacturing steps are added to the Higg Product Module, along with impacts for packaging, logistics, retail, durability, and end of life. This data remains part of the garment assessment and is not shared with other users.
  • Where does the Higg MSI data come from?
    The Higg MSI uses a variety of data sources. The main background LCI (life cycle inventory) data source is GaBi. Primary data inputs come from manufacturers, databases, literature, and trade organizations. Data sources for each material or process are listed in the Higg MSI under Meta Information when users click on a specific raw material or production process. Anyone may submit data to Cascale to be reviewed and used to score materials in the Higg MSI through the MSI Contributor.
  • Will my membership include access to the Higg Index?
    Your Cascale membership grants you access to the Higg Index suite of tools via Worldly's Intelligence Platform. Depending on your membership type:
    • Brand & Retail and Manufacturer members receive access to the Essentials Plan.
    • Affiliate members receive access to the Basic Plan.
    View more membership benefits in the Cascale Membership Brochure.
  • What is the difference between full and candidate membership?
    Corporate members include companies that are directly involved in the manufacturing or sale of global consumer goods. These companies may opt for either Corporate Full Membership or Corporate Candidate Membership. Full Membership is designed for companies fully committed to industry-wide sustainability progress and meeting Cascale membership requirements. Candidate Membership provides a pathway to Full Membership, allowing companies to engage with Cascale community and access Higg Index tools without an immediate need to fulfill all membership requirements. Candidate Membership lasts for a 2-year period, during which companies must meet certain minimum criteria to facilitate a smooth transition to Full Membership. Upon completing this term, companies can decide whether to convert to Full Membership or forfeit their membership privileges
  • What membership plan is right for me?
    Corporate Membership is for companies that are directly involved with the manufacturing or sale of global consumer goods, such as holding groups, brands & retailers, third-party retailers, manufacturers, and trading agents/importers/licensees. Affiliate Membership is for companies and organizations that have direct influence and participation in the global consumer goods value chain through policymaking, formal education, and/or providing capacity-building services around environmental and social global issues. This plan is designed for academia, government organizations, grantors/investors, not-for-profit organizations, non-government organizations, service providers, and trade/industry associations.
  • How much is Cascale membership?
    Cascale membership dues are based on your organization's membership category (e.g., manufacturer, service providers, NGO, brand & retailer, etc.) and your organization's annual revenue. Download our brochure to view pricing.
  • What are the benefits of setting a science-based target?
    It’s good for your organization, for people, and for the planet to reduce your carbon footprint. As a result, your brand reputation increases among your customers. It also gives investors confidence in your processes and durability against the new guidelines, and, finally, you can enjoy financial savings and increased competitiveness, with conscious consumers on the rise.
  • How do the SBTi requirements relate to Cascale’s goal of 45 percent GHG emissions reduction by 2030?
    SBTi provides the best-in-class target setting methodology and guidance to companies to understand the scale of reductions required in line with the latest climate science to keep the temperature increases to 1.5°C compared to preindustrial levels. Setting SBTs enable the achievement of a key collective action objective to support members in meeting the 45 percent GHG emissions reduction goal.
  • What are ‘science-based targets’?
    Developed by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a science-based target is described by SBTi as “a clearly defined pathway to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, helping prevent the worst impacts of climate change and future-proofing business growth. ‘Science-based’ targets are those that are in line with what climate science deems necessary to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement - limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre industrial levels.”
  • How is Cascale supporting members on their decarbonization journeys?
    Cascale's Collective Action team is supporting members in various ways to guide members on their decarbonization journey. Offerings include:
    • Sustainability therapist hotlines for members 
    • Step-by-step guidance & basic tools for organizations committing and setting their SBTs
    • SBT 101 trainings & roundtables
    • Best practice sharing webinars
    • SBT peer-to-peer learning groups 
    • Top Action Club
  • What is decarbonization?
    Decarbonization is the process of reducing or removing carbon emissions to help balance out the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the atmosphere. Left unchecked, emissions will keep growing, well off pace to deliver the 45 percent absolute reduction needed by 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5°C. 
  • What is the verification process for the Brand & Retailer Module?
    Higg BRM verification logo   After an organization has completed the Self-Assessment, they can then work towards externally verifying the BRM to ensure their organization’s data is accurate. The process of verification is generally similar to other sustainability report assurance/verification processes and is initiated with an approved verifier once the complete BRM Self-Assessment has been submitted. Cascale has a list of approved verifying bodies.  Members and users currently are not required to pay a Higg BRM Verification Access Fee. Cascale reserves the right to change the Verification Access Fee process in the future.
  • How does the scoring methodology work in the Brand & Retailer Module?
    In practice, each question in the BRM 2022 is worth a specific number of points out of 100. The number of points a question is worth depend on the survey taker’s type — i.e. Brand, Retailer, Brand & Retailer. Since each type answers a different number of questions, their possible question scores will vary. It is important to note that in the BRM assessment all questions, except the data submission requests, are scored and visible.
  • What can be shared about the Brand & Retailer Module results?
    Placing value and communicating ESG initiatives can be extremely complicated, so BRM results can help companies explain their actions in a more comparable and transparent way. Self-Assessment results can be shared internally and externally with wider stakeholders; the Self-Assessment (verified or unverified) together with the scores can also be shared on the Worldly platform with business partners and suppliers who are Higg Index users. As a user you may request BRM results from the partners with whom you work; this information can be used as part of any risk, procurement, or contractual guidelines you may have regarding sustainability. It is important to note that any wider public communication of BRM results will only be enabled once an organization’s score has been verified by an Approved Verifier. While we encourage all BRM data to be as transparent as possible, we aim to keep scores balanced, trusted, and credible, which is why only verified results may be publicly disclosed, following our Communication Guidelines.
  • What results does the Brand & Retailer Module provide?
    The BRM has been designed to create an industry specific method to report on ESG performance. By completing the assessment, brands and retailers are able to understand their ESG progress. They will also be able to share this with internal and external stakeholders by following the Communications Guidelines. After completing the BRM, a company receives the following results.
    • One Total Score – Each completed BRM Self-Assessment will result in one finite score out of 100 presented as a percentage. This score is simple to communicate and easy to understand; it can be used to benchmark the organization against peers and share with consumers.
    • ESG Scores – In addition, each company will receive a score for each pillar of activity – Environment, Social and Governance – with detailed scores on each impact area within the pillar. This is a useful way to show how the company is progressing in each area.
    Any communication of BRM Assessment results must follow the Communications Guidelines.
  • How does the Higg Product Module consider circularity?
    There is emerging interest in circularity and demand for end of use consideration at the product level. The Higg Product Module includes features to consider circular strategies, from assessing a product’s recycled material content to evaluating previously used products and considering the useful longevity of a product’s life.  Recycled materials and previously used products (i.e. secondhand products that only need refurbishment) are modeled using the cut-off approach. This means that new materials and products that are on their “first life” are allocated the full manufacturing impacts.  The Higg Product Module measures the impacts of the circular actions that have been implemented instead of focusing on what may potentially be implemented. Once a material or product has reached its end of life and is recycled or refurbished, only the impacts of recycling and refurbishment are included in the subsequent material or product. This means that companies receive credit when they’ve taken the steps to recycle a garment. The Higg Product Module also considers the useful longevity of a product’s life. Quality parameters determine whether a product is designed for a longer usable lifetime. If repair programs are available, this also extends the usable lifetime of a product in the Higg Product Module.
  • How does the Higg Product Module work?
    The Higg Product Module gives companies a full view of a product’s comprehensive environmental impacts. It considers environmental performance in design, materials, manufacturing, packaging, logistics, product durability, care, and end of use of a product’s life cycle.  The Higg Product Module includes features to help companies consider circular strategies. Users can also assess Scope 3 category emissions with the tool to understand how they may reduce their carbon impact. The tool provides consistent and comparable environmental impact results that can be analyzed and benchmarked against company portfolios. And it provides a streamlined score based on robust data that can pave the way for end user and consumer communications.
  • How do I use the data insights from the Higg Product Module?
    With insights from the Product Module, designers and developers can understand the environmental impacts of the products they’re creating. Sustainability professionals can make adjustments to areas such as design, manufacturing processes, and logistics to reduce the environmental impact of a product. Sustainability analysts can also use Product Module results to benchmark and measure the environmental impact of product portfolios over time
  • What kinds of products can I assess with the Higg Product Module?
    The Product Module can assess full life cycle impacts of apparel, footwear, home textile products, and other consumer goods such as furniture, backpacks, and toys.
  • How can Higg MSI scores be communicated to customers/consumers?
    There are specific communication guidelines that must be followed as part of any business to business (B2B) or business to consumer (B2C) communications. If Higg MSI users wish to share specific scores, it must be done in accordance with the Higg Index Communication Guidelines.
  • Where does Higg MSI data come from?
    The Higg MSI uses a variety of data sources. The main background data source is GaBi. Primary data inputs come from manufacturers, databases, literature, and trade organizations.  Data sources for each material or process are listed in the Higg MSI under Meta Information when users click on a specific raw material or production process. Anyone may submit data to Cascale to be reviewed and used to score materials in the Higg MSI through the MSI Contributor.
  • How are the Higg MSI scores calculated?
    MSI scores are the normalization of the impact assessment midpoints (LCIA results) for each impact category. Normalization factors for each impact category are created by adding the total impact of a weighted average of the most common finished materials used in consumer goods.  This calculation results in the average amount of impact per impact category. This amount is then set as 10 MSI points (i.e. 10 MSI points is the average impact of a finished material for that impact category).  This amount (by impact category) is then used as the normalization factor to calculate the Higg MSI scores of all processes and finished materials in the Higg MSI. A Higg MSI score of five points would mean a material has half the average impact of a finished material in that impact category, while a Higg MSI score of 20 points would mean the impact is double the average. Note: Higg MSI scores are only contextualizing the LCIA results. If one finished material’s global warming impact is lower than another, it is because the LCIA results are also lower. More details on the normalization method can be found in the Higg MSI Methodology document.
  • How can I get in touch with the public affairs team?
    Get in touch with us here.
  • Where can I find Cascale’s official statements on public policy issues?
    You can find our official statements, policy papers, and positions on relevant public policy issues on our Advocacy page. These will be added as and when new positions and papers become available.
  • How does Cascale ensure transparency and accountability in its public affairs work?
    We remain committed to transparency and accountability by providing access to an agenda or registry of meetings with stakeholders and policymakers.
  • What are the key partnerships and collaborations that Cascale is involved in?
    We collaborate closely with organizations like the Policy Hub, the Social & Labor Convergence Program (SLCP), and the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), among others, to drive impactful change.
  • What advocacy initiatives has Cascale been involved in?
    We have been actively involved in various advocacy initiatives, addressing issues such as environmental sustainability, labor rights, and responsible sourcing.
  • How does Cascale influence policy at the EU and global levels?
    We influence policy through educating key stakeholders, policymakers, and our members about the Higg Index tools, our programs, industry footprint, the industry’s challenges, and regulators’ opportunities.
  • What is the role of the public affairs team at Cascale?
    The Public Affairs team advocates for policy changes, engaging with stakeholders, seeking industry alignment, and fostering member education in order to promote sustainability in the textile, apparel, and footwear industry.
  • What is the SLCP Converged Assessment Framework?
    In 2018, Cascale updated the Higg Facility Social & Labor Module (FSLM) to incorporate the Converged Assessment Framework. Cascale believes that the textile, apparel & footwear industry should converge and harmonize efforts through the SLCP Converged Assessment Framework in order to reduce the number of social and labor audits. This eliminates audit fatigue, enables data comparison, and frees up resources for improvement programs. The SLCP question sets are incorporated into the updated Higg FSLM and the verification methodology developed by the SLPC is now valid for Higg FSLM.
  • What is the difference between the Social & Labor Convergence Program (SLCP) and Cascale?
    The SLCP is an independent multi-stakeholder program which has developed the Converged Assessment Framework (CAF) (this includes a Data Collection Tool and verification methodology) as well as data hosting and sharing process. Cascale is one of the Accredited Hosts (AH), approved by the SLCP to store SLCP assessment data on their platform and provide additional data analytics and sharing services to users such as brands, standard holders, and manufacturers. Facilities are able to complete a self or joint-assessment and the verification of that assessment through the Worldly platform. The SLCP’s Converged Assessment Framework (CAF) is available on the Worldly platform and is found through the Higg Facility Social & Labor Module.
  • How does module sharing work?
    If you want to share your module with other accounts, you must request or share a module with that account. Manufacturers can share their modules directly with any account type and request to view modules from account types that have filled out a module. Brand and Other account types can request modules from facilities and manufacturers. To access sharing, pick the module type you’d like to share (FEM or FSLM) and go to that tab. Then click on the “Modules” tab right below. This will take you to the module tracking and sharing page. You can click “Request a module” or “Share a module” depending on which action you’d like to take. Choose the module type/year you would like to request or share and search the account name or account ID or Higg ID to find the account. Once your share/request is accepted, the module will be shared between accounts. Please click here to get the full guidance. * Depending on your service level, there may be a fee associated with receiving shared modules. Please find more information here.
  • Can brands or retailers communicate suppliers’ Higg FEM Scores?
    Yes. Brands and retailers must first ask facilities for permission to publish Higg FEM scores.  You must follow the Higg Index Communication Guidelines, which have been developed to provide the industry with a unified, consistent, and science-based way to publicly share sustainability performance using the suite of Higg Index tools. Consistent presentation of performance, backed by accurate, credible, and verified data, can prevent companies from making false and misleading greenwashing claims. Examples of successful communication:
    • Include the Higg Index logo on your website in a list of corporate sustainability efforts 
    • Feature the Higg Index in your annual report and explain how your business uses the tools 
    • Share about how you use the tools in press articles, interviews, events, on social media, internally with staff, in collateral to attract new talent, etc.
    However, when communicating general usage of the Higg Index, you may not:
    • Share specific Higg Index scores 
    • Associate the Higg Index with a specific product for which there is no verified performance claim as established in these guidelines (including inclusion or mention on a specific product hangtag) 
    • Imply Cascale’s endorsement of your performance
    Download the full Higg Index Communication Guidelines for more examples of how to follow best practice.
  • What is the Higg FEM 4.0 content updates summary?
    Cascale is currently working on developing the FEM 4.0 content, and the assessment is planned to launch on November 2 2023. This latest version will consider user feedback involving content questions, scoring, applicability, and more. Please download the summary and visit the FEM 4.0 webpage to learn more.
  • What is the Higg Index?
    The Higg Index is the most comprehensive and holistic framework in the world for measuring sustainability performance in the apparel industry. It features two product-focused tools, two facilities-based tools, and one global tool for brands and retailers. All tools seek to provide a standard process for assessment and communication about social and environmental impacts that can then be used for industry benchmarking. The Higg Index tools have matured into comprehensive, robust offerings ready to scale, forming the basis for understanding performance and improving it over time - both for individual companies and as an industry. The tools reduce audit fatigue and enable all users to focus their time and resources on improving management practices to inform their individual sustainability strategies and drive collective industry transformation.
  • How does the Higg Index work and what does it measure?
    The Higg Index is a set of five tools that together assess the social and environmental performance of the value chain and the environmental impacts of products. These include the Higg Facility Environmental Module (FEM), Higg Facility Social & Labor Module (FSLM), Higg Brand & Retail Module (BRM), Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI), and Higg Product Module (PM).  Across topics such as water use, carbon emissions, and labor conditions, consumer goods brands, retailers, manufacturers, governments, NGOs, and consumers can use the Higg Index to inform their individual sustainability strategies and drive collective industry transformation. 
  • Who developed the Higg Index Tools?
    The Higg Index suite of tools were developed by Cascale in collaboration with its multi-stakeholder membership, consisting of leading apparel, footwear, and textile brands, retailers, manufacturers, service providers, trade associations, nonprofits, NGOs, and academic institutions. Technology partner Worldly, industry stakeholders and experts have collaborated with Cascale over the past ten years to offer a standardized approach for both  members and non-members to measure key impact areas.
  • What is the difference between Worldly, the Higg Index and Cascale?
    Worldly, formerly Higg Company, was launched in 2019 as a public-benefit technology company to build software for sustainability assessment methodologies. It is a separate company from Cascale. Worldly is Cascale’s strategic partner and an exclusive licensee of the Higg Index.  Cascale created and owns the methodology for the Higg Index to be a standardized sustainability assessment tool for the apparel industry to track and measure their social and environmental impacts. Cascale continues to manage and evolve the methodology for the Higg Index to better meet the needs of the industry.
  • How many organizations are using the Higg Index Suite of Tools?
    Cascale, in collaboration with our technology partner Worldly, has grown the Higg Index user base to 21,483 organizations across 33 countries. Overall, the Higg Index has more than 45,000 users, including hundreds of brands and tens of thousands of manufacturers.  The purpose of the Higg Index is to help companies measure, track, and make progress toward their sustainability efforts. These tools are standardized, credible business intelligence tools that ensure brands, retailers and manufacturers are all using a common language for sustainability measurement and performance.
  • How do I communicate my Higg Index performance?
    You must follow the Higg Index Communication Guidelines, which have been developed to provide the industry with a unified, consistent, and science-based way to publicly share sustainability performance using the suite of Higg Index tools. Consistent presentation of performance, backed by accurate, credible, and verified data, can prevent companies from making false and misleading greenwashing claims. Sharing Higg Index performance helps you:
    • Foster trust with customers and other stakeholders through verified, standardized, and credible data 
    • Continue building trusting relationships with current and prospective value chain partners 
    • Streamline communication with value chain partners 
    • Identify shared opportunities for improvement across the value chain related to protecting human rights and reducing environmental impacts 
    • Attract sustainable investments by demonstrating your commitment to sustainability 
    • Contribute to value chain transparency that consumers are demanding
    • Prepare for upcoming regulation
    Cascale encourages all Higg Index users to communicate their use of the tools to assess and manage environmental and/or social impacts with customers, stakeholders, and partners.  Examples of successful communication:
    • Include the Higg Index logo on your website in a list of corporate sustainability efforts 
    • Feature the Higg Index in your annual report and explain how your business uses the tools 
    • Share about how you use the tools in press articles, interviews, events, on social media, internally with staff, in collateral to attract new talent, etc.
    However, when communicating general usage of the Higg Index, you may not:
    • Share specific Higg Index scores 
    • Associate the Higg Index with a specific product for which there is no verified performance claim as established in these guidelines (including inclusion or mention on a specific product hangtag) 
    • Imply Cascale’s endorsement of your performance
    Download the full Higg Index Communication Guidelines for more examples of how to follow best practice.

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