Product Tools

Understand the environmental impacts of different production choices when designing a product

The Higg PM and Higg MSI provide insights into environmental impacts of producing materials and products.

The Higg Materials Sustainability Index (Higg MSI)

The Higg MSI is the industry’s most trusted tool at the material selection stage of the supply chain. It helps you understand the cradle-to-grave impacts of different materials (such as textiles, plastics, metal and leather) and how processing decisions can change those impacts.

Built on trusted life cycle assessment data that’s backed by science, the Higg MSI calculates environmental impacts and translates them into comparable Higg MSI scores. We are continuously evolving and growing our suite of tools. Using the Higg MSI Contributor, companies can contribute and submit data on their innovative materials and processes.

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The Higg Product Module (Higg PM)

The Higg PM measures the cradle-to-grave environmental impacts of a product from the point of resource extraction to manufacturing impacts, all the way through product durability, care and end of use. The Higg PM displays the full life cycle of products and enables understanding in which processes most determine sustainable performance and results. The Higg PM can show hotspots for improvement to continuously create products with a lower environmental footprint.

The Higg PM quantifies the environmental impacts of product and material manufacturing. The assessment includes the impacts of all materials used in a product, adjusted to the specific amounts of each material used, as well as the impacts from finished goods’ manufacturing processes.

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Impact Categories

The Higg Product Tools use peer-reviewed life-cycle assessment data to quantify the environmental impacts of materials (Higg MSI) and products (Higg PM) from the extraction or production of raw materials through manufacturing, finishing, and assembly. In addition to the LCA impact categories, the Higg Product Tools also report biogenic carbon content and water consumption metrics for a more comprehensive analysis.

  • 01
    Greenhouse gas footprint (global warming potential)
  • 02
    Nutrient pollution in water (eutrophication)
  • 03
    Water scarcity
  • 04
    Fossil fuel resource use 
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Get Started With the Higg MSI and PM

Manufacturers and SMEs can use the Higg Index suite of tools without formally becoming a member of Cascale. However, as a member, you receive access to exclusive community support, educational experiences and collaborative opportunities.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • 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.


  • Membership

Membership Brochure

Discover the possibilities of becoming a member of Cascale, formerly Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), by downloading our membership brochure. Take the first step towards unlocking valuable benefits, industry insights, and a supportive global community.

February 22, 2024