Learn about the BRM

1. What is the Brand & Retailer Module?

The Brand and Retailer Module (BRM) is a sustainability assessment which establishes the global standard for the Apparel, Footwear and Textile Industry to measure and report on their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) impacts and benchmarks their performance with clarity and transparency.

Developed for businesses of any size, it aims to be the leading holistic and industry-specific ESG framework that enables companies to:

  • Assess their business sustainability performance against the most relevant environmental, social, and governance issues in the industry.
  • Understand sustainability priorities and benchmark performance against similar companies in the sector.
  • Standardize progress and reporting against leading frameworks and regulations, whilst also reducing the reporting burden.
  • Provide clear, consistent and transparent scoring that gives internal and external stakeholders  credible information on sustainability objectives and achievements.

2. What content does the Brand & Retailer Module cover?

The BRM covers the ESG issues that are distinct to the apparel, footwear and textile industry, providing an accurate assessment to measure, report and benchmark progress on sustainability.

It approaches ESG topics by addressing the issues that need to be solved and provides a view on the hotspots for improvement in line with how organizations structure their sustainability strategies.


Overall Structure of the BRM

To begin the self-assessment you must first complete the “Company Profile” section, which includes general questions about the size and structure of the company. This area serves to define the BRM path that is most suitable to your company’s context (i.e., Brand, Retailer, or Brand & Retailer) and gives users a more accurate and valuable experience when it comes to results benchmarking.

The BRM has three other sections which work to evaluate an organization’s sustainability actions and commitment.

These three sections are referred to as the Environment, Social and Governance pillars.  Each pillar includes questions on key areas that impact the industry (Impacts) and related sub-issues (Topics). The table below outlines the 11 key Impact Areas and Topics that are covered within the assessment:

Pillars Impacts Topics
Risk management and policies connected with environmental impact areas
Energy, GHG emissions
Water scarcity, water quality
Waste generation and impacts, waste management, circularity (product, packaging, other)
Chemical management system, MRSL, wastewater, RSL
Land use, habitat protection, degrowth
Risk management and policies connected with social impact areas.
Human rights, labor practices, responsible purchasing practices
Employment, regular work and stability
Accessible and inclusive products and services, responsible marketing, safe products and services
Community rights, community contributions
Risk management and policies connected with governance impact areas
Structure and Management
Board composition, board oversight and control, board accountability, performance and incentives
Ethics and Behavior
Transparency, grievance mechanisms, stakeholders engagement


Impact Sections of the Assessment

Each section follows the same structure to ensure it is logical to complete and covers everything from policy development through to the communication of results. The structure of each section has been designed to incorporate the Due Diligence framework for Responsible Business Conduct for management best practices.

The main sections are:

General Sections – Explore the overall strategic approach and ask questions on 1. Risk assessment and 2. Policy and commitments for each of the pillars under assessment.

Impact Areas – Explore the depth of implementation and results and ask questions on 3. Measurement and targets, 4. Implementation and results, 5. Communication, and 6. Collaboration.

3. 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 you will be able to understand your ESG progress. You will also be able to share this with internal and external stakeholders, like your leadership team, business partners, industry peers, investors and civil society. In addition, you will be able to more clearly evaluate what areas need strengthening or improving and where you are excelling.

By completing the BRM you will receive the following results:

  • One Total Score – Each completed BRM self-assessment will result in one finite score out of 100 i.e., a percentage. We have created a single score that is simple to communicate, and easy to understand. This can be used to benchmark yourself 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. These will be a useful way to show how you are progressing in each area. You can also benchmark yourself against peers and share with consumers.
  • Improvement Report – Having completed the BRM your company will also receive an Issues and opportunities report which you can use internally to set improvement plans and strategies.

These results can be shared with wider stakeholders via the Higg Platform or communicated externally following the Communications Guidelines.

4. What is the verification process for the Brand & Retailer Module?

Following Self-assessment, externally verifying your BRM ensures that the data captured is accurate and trusted. 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.

5. What can be shared about the Brand & Retailer Module results?

One of the benefits of completing the BRM is that it enables companies to explain to a wider audience how they are performing in terms of sustainability i.e., reducing their negative impact.

Placing value and communicating ESG initiatives can be extremely complicated, so BRM results can support companies to explain their actions in a more comparable and transparent way.

Self-assessment results can be shared within your organization with all internal stakeholders, including your leadership teams and employees. The self assessment (verified or unverified) together with the scores can also be shared, if you choose, on the Higg platform with business partners and suppliers who are Higg users. As a Brand you may find that certain Retail Business Partners request you to share this information as part of their procurement guidelines.

Wider public communication of your results will only be enabled once your score has been Verified by an Approved Verifier. Whilst we encourage all BRM data to be as transparent as possible, we aim to keep scores balanced, trusted and credible, hence why we only allow Verified results to be publicly disclosed. For more guidance on sharing BRM results, you can refer to the section Communicate BRM Results.

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