Rolling out the Higg FEM is the best way to learn more about your supply chain partners and their environmental practices and impacts. This section will cover all the essential steps and information to prepare for a successful rollout.
1. How to Prepare
To prepare, the first step is to gather information and set a timeline.
- Timeline: Determine the cadence dates for FEM completion. You can adhere to the SAC defined cadence or set your own deadline (the last possible posting date is Dec 31 of the following year, for example Dec 31, 2021 for FEM2020).
- Facility list: Select which facilities you will target and gather the relevant information, such as Higg ID, address, and contact details.
- Requirement: Decide if you will may FEM completion a requirement or a request. We strongly recommend you make it a requirement, as historically that has significantly increased the success rate. Also, determine if you will use Facility Foundations in addition to the standard FEM. See additional details below.
- Verification: Plan ahead if you intend to request or require verification as well as the self assessment. Communicate this early to ensure facilities have adequate time to prepare to complete both the self assessment and verification.
- Communication plan: Regular communication of requirements and support resources with facilities is the best way to ensure successful completion of the modules.
There are also varying levels of support available from the Higg Customer Success team, which you can review here.
2. FEM vs Facility Foundations
In addition to the standard FEM, in 2020 Higg launched a new section to the tool called Facility Foundations.
What is Facility Foundations? Facility Foundations is a set of foundational questions that are intended to assess a facility’s basic environmental practices. It is a way for brands and retailers to quickly evaluate the environmental performance of facilities at a foundational level. Facility Foundations enables quick assessment of a facility’s environmental sustainability readiness.
How does Facility Foundations differ from the Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM)?
Facility Foundations offers an introductory step towards Higg FEM, speeding up the initial environmental sustainability assessment process. By using Facility Foundations, facilities new to the Higg Index can gradually become acquainted with the Higg Index as they prepare for the comprehensive Higg FEM assessment.
Facility Foundations does not replace the Higg FEM assessment. Rather, it introduces facilities to the Higg Index, serving as an on-ramp to using the Higg FEM, and captures a snapshot of a facility’s environmental performance to be shared with brand and retail partners. Facility Foundations does not offer scoring or a benchmarking feature.
3. Process for Facilities
See the overall process for facilities completing the FEM below. The tool requires a large amount of data and information. Depending on the facility’s familiarity with the FEM and general sustainability knowledge, it can take 3-6 weeks for a facility to complete the assessment, or longer if it is the first time.
4. Supporting your Facility Partners
Providing support and checking in on your facilities during the FEM completion process is critical for the success of FEM rollout. A few tips:
- Regular communication with facilities partners about the requirement and deadline
- Sharing helpful resources, like the FEM guidance for facilities or where to submit a support ticket, as well as encouraging facilities to join upcoming training webinars.