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The Higg Index is an apparel and footwear industry self-assessment standard for assessing environmental and social sustainability throughout the supply chain. Launched in 2012, it was developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, a nonprofit organization founded by a group of fashion companies, the United States government Environmental Protection Agency, and other nonprofit entities.
The Higg Index provides a tool for the apparel and footwear industry to assess sustainability throughout a product's entire life cycle, from materials to end-of-life. The metrics created Higg Index are limited to a company's internal use for the evaluation and improvement of environmental performance. Plans for a future version include the creation of a scoring scale designed to communicate a product's sustainability impact to consumers and other stakeholders.
Version 1.0 of the Higg Index was made public in July 2012.
According to the Coalition's Executive Director, Jason Kibbey, the name "Higg" was inspired by the Higgs Boson search. The name Higg also met other key criteria: it was short, easy to pronounce and was able to clear trademark registration in 120 countries.
In its first iteration, Higg Index metrics focus on environmental factors in the apparel supply chain. Metrics pertaining to footwear as well as labor and social sustainability are planned for a future release.
On 11 December 2013, an updated version of the Higg Index was released.
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition is the developer of the Higg Index. Founded in 2011, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition is a nonprofit organization whose members include brands producing apparel or footwear; retailers; industry affiliates and trade associations; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, academic institutions and environmental nonprofits.
In October 2015, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition announced the launch of the Social Labor and Convergence Project, which seeks to establish a uniform standard for auditing labor conditions and social impact in the apparel and footwear industries.
The first version of the Higg Index was adapted from two previously existing sustainability measurement standards: the Nike Apparel Environmental Design Tool and the Eco Index created by the Outdoor Industry Association, the European Outdoor Group and the Zero Waste Alliance.
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