Table of Contents

1. FEM

2. Sharing

3. Training


You can begin your FEM 2022 on November 3.

As Cascale (formerly Sustainable Apparel Coalition) approaches the fifth year of the FEM 3.0, it has begun developing FEM 4.0. Cascale is currently working on developing the FEM 4.0 content, and the assessment is planned to launch in November 2023. This latest version will take into account user feedback involving content questions, scoring, applicability, and more.

During this development phase, Cascale welcomes member feedback, which you can submit here. If you are not a member of Cascale but would like to submit feedback, you can reach out to your partners who can submit on your behalf. The feedback submission due day is by July 30th, 2022.

We are committed to keeping you aware of updates to the FEM 4.0 as they emerge, and will continue to notify you about the evolution of this assessment well before launch.

Please download the PDF summary to learn more.

Module completion takes 3 to 6 weeks, on average. Cascale provides a 6-month completion timeline allowing sufficient time for module completion in any supported language. 

Yes. Several questions have “partial yes” answer options, which allows a facility to get credit for making progress. However, we did not allow for partial points where we were unable to objectively define what counts for “partial” achievement. This is to reduce the number of subjective decisions that are left up to verifiers. All expectations must be clearly defined for both facilities and verifiers to follow.

Your module will automatically save your answers as you complete the questions. This is important to avoid losing work due to slow internet connections. But we also suggest that you choose a good internet condition when you are working on the modules online or uploading your modules. 

Water, Wastewater, Air, and Chemicals have applicability tests:

  • Wastewater has 8 categories for various combinations of onsite/offsite treatment and domestic/industrial wastewater.
  • Water has 2 categories: heavy/high risk water users and light/low risk water users.
  • Air has 4 categories: no emissions to air, production emissions only, operation emissions only, and both operations and production emissions.
  • Chemical Management has 2 categories: use chemicals in production processes (e.g., leather tanning) and do not use chemicals in production processes (e.g., cut and sew).

Not all FEM questions are applicable to all facilities. In an effort to keep FEM relevant and intuitive for survey takers, inapplicable questions are automatically skipped in the FEM survey based on prior answers. This means that, if a group of questions is found inapplicable, a facility will not have the opportunity to fill them out. For example, a facility with extremely low water use will skip most questions in the water section and a facility with no air emissions will not answer many questions in the air emissions section.

Section and overall scores are calculated based on answerable questions. Therefore, the removal of inapplicable questions does not artificially reduce scores. However, applicabilities can prevent facilities from having questions within higher Levels of Achievement meaning that not all facilities have the opportunity to achieve Level 2 or 3 in sections where they are irrelevant to the facility’s operation.

Because applicabilities can leave facilities unable to attain higher Levels of Achievement (See Question above) for reasons other than performance it is not appropriate to use Level of Achievement to compare facilities without first confirming that their possible Level of Achievements are the same. Aggregation of Level of Achievement is also ill advised without first confirming that all grouped facilities have the same Level of Achievement ceiling for the same reason. Therefore, using section and survey scores is preferred for naive comparative and aggregated analyses.

In practice, large groups of facilities performing the same processes regularly have the same applicabilities and, in that case, may be meaningfully compared and aggregated along Level of Achievement. Determining whether the extra effort and fragility is worth it depends on the individual goals and context of the analysis.

Suggested uploads reflect requirements for verification. The purpose of these suggestions is to prepare a factory for verification by suggesting supporting documents that will be requested. 

Factories should set up one account and complete one module per site.

Definition of Facility Site: A single functional unit of an organization or a combination of units situated at one locality under one ownership, which is geographically distinct from other units of the same organization. Sites may be part of the same organization or independent legal entities. The facility site is: 

  • Responsible for the transformation of a raw material into finished apparel and footwear for consumption
  • An integral part along the apparel/footwear supply chain by providing and utilizing material for further processing
  • Manufacturing, assembling, dyeing and finishing of a material, component, product along the apparel/footwear supply chain
  • The facility in which a production or processing operation is taking place, or at which control or ownership of the raw material and products occurs.

Typical examples of activities at facility sites are:

  • Apparel: ginning, spinning, weaving/knitting, dyeing/printing, finishing, packaging, etc.
  • Footwear: cutting, embroidering, screen printing, lasting, buffing, curing, packaging, etc.

Please click here to learn the updates of FEM 2021.

The FEM 2021 cadence starts from November 4th, 2021 to April 30th, 2022. Within this period, facilities can unpost and repost their FEM 2021 with unlimited times. After this period, facilities will have only one chance to post their FEM 2021 till December 31, 2022.

If you purchased Facility Foundations 2021, it must be completed and posted by December 31, 2022. This includes the self assessment and verification.

Facility Foundations is a set of foundational questions for businesses beginning to measure the environmental impact of their manufacturing. Facility Foundations does not include scoring or benchmarking, or additional results reports, however it can be verified. 

Only new facilities that have never started a full Higg FEM can access Facility Foundations. 

New facilities have the option to complete Facility Foundations, however the goal of Facility Foundations is to advance to FEM after the first year. After you’ve completed Facility Foundations once, you must advance to FEM. 

Facility Foundations includes a simplified list of FEM questions. For full Facility Foundations guidance, please click here

Facility Foundations offers a self assessment, with additional verification available. There is also the option for the offline Excel completion for Facility Foundations. 

If you have never completed a Higg FEM before you can purchase the Facility Starter subscription, which includes Facility Foundations. For more information on the facility subscriptions, see full guidance here

Yes, the offline Excel functionality is available for Facility Foundations. 


You will be able to view the shared module type, account name, module posting status, module completion rate, facility country, parent company, and module status for all shared modules. You can also have options to view the shared FEM or FSLM data online or view/export the data in the CSV/Excel file. Please click here to get the full guidance.

No, only the account owner and admins can manage sharing. Editors cannot manage sharing. If you need to update a user’s role please contact Higg Index Support team (

When a facility starts a new FEM module, they will get a pop up asking if they would like to “Roll forward” all previous module data and sharing connections to their new module. Please click here to get the full guidance.


The How to Higg Guide provides comprehensive and detailed guidance for every question in the Higg FEM, including:

  • Intent of the question
  • Technical guidance and definitions
  • How the question will be verified
  • Links to other relevant supporting resources/templates/organizations

Cascale has created an approved trainer program to provide a customized support option for facilities completing the FEM. Learn more here.

There are lots of live webinars available for facility users. Check the calendar for upcoming events or view previous webinar recordings on lots of topics. 

We are exploring offering training webinars in Chinese in the future.

It is a public platform and is free for both members and nonmembers.

If you need additional support, you can submit a ticket to our customer support at any time. Submit a ticket here: