FAQ – Higg Brand & Retail Module

General

Q: When does the 2020 Higg BRM officially launch?

A: The 2020 Higg BRM will be released on March 1, 2021.

 

Q: What time frame does the 2020 Higg BRM assess?

A: Similar to the Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM), the Higg BRM will reflect the previous calendar year’s performance. This means that when the 2020 Higg BRM is released in March 2021, SAC member brands and retailers are encouraged to report their performance for the period of January 2020 to December 2020.

 

Q: What are the SAC’s membership requirements for the Higg BRM?

A:  In October 2020, SAC’s Board of Directors has approved the new membership requirements framework.  SAC Members that are a brand, retailer, holding group or a third-party retailer are required to complete the Higg BRM (both self-assessment and verification), and once available communicate performance and impact progressively in a transparent way.

The detailed requirements for each specific member relative to their membership join date is stated here on SAC Connect.

SAC members can contact their member engagement manager: 

 Asia Pacific: wan@apparelcoalition.org

Americas: eszter@apparelcoalition.org

Europe, Middle East, and Africa: veronique@apparelcoalition.org

 

Q: Is upload of documents required for the Higg BRM?

A: No, the upload of supporting documents is optional and not required.

Training

Q: What training resources are available for the Higg BRM?

A: There are multiple resources available. Under Step by Step Instructions, you can find detailed guidance for the Higg.org platform and tool navigation, as well as video demonstrations on key steps in the process. Guidance and Definitions  offers resources to help with any content-related questions, including the Higg BRM How to Higg guide, risk assessment documents, scoring methodology, improvement guidance and more.

If you can’t find the support you need in any of these resources, please reach out to our support team.

 

Q: Is training available in other languages?

A: No, Higg BRM training is only available in English currently, however we are considering the translation into additional languages for the 2021 cycle – to be released in 2022.

 

Q: Are there other training opportunities?

A: SAC Members: Please see the events calendar on SAC Connect for upcoming webinars and registration information
Non-SAC Members: Higg offers free webinars for all BRM users. Please see the events calendar for upcoming webinars and registration information.

Higg.org Platform

Q: Is an offline Excel version of the tool available?

A: Yes, the BRM Excel download feature allows brands to download a view of all answered and unanswered questions. The goal of the feature is to allow the sustainability or project manager to assign questions to different teams offline, and then collect and input the answers in the online tool, maintaining the integrity of their online assessment. 

The BRM Excel download is NOT able to be imported to the tool. It serves purely as a downloadable snapshot of the online assessment at that moment. The Excel shows all answered questions and their answer in green. For unanswered questions, it lists all available answer options.

Learn more: https://howtohigg.org/higg-brand-retail-module/downloading-the-brm-excel/

 

Q: Are exports available on the platform?

A: Yes, you may export a CSV file to save any data entered at any time via the home Higg BRM dashboard.

 

Q: Will my work on Higg BRM be saved?

A: 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 connection when you are working on the modules online or uploading your modules. 

Scoring & Analytics

Q: What is the updated scoring approach? Why is the scoring different from the original module and how is it different from the scoring methodology in the Higg Facility Environmental Module?

A: In developing scoring for the Higg BRM, we attempted using similar scoring as used in the original Brand Module and in Higg FEM which is based generally on three things:

  • applicabilities
  • section weights
  • different level weightings (Level 1 – 25%; Level 2 = 50%; Level 3 = 25%)

In applying Higg FEM scoring, it became clear that the tools weren’t comparable for the following reasons:

  • Higg FEM covers a single facility; Higg BRM can cover thousands
  • Higg FEM sections are organized by environmental impact; Higg BRM is organized by lifecycle stage. As such, the sections of the Higg BRM must be weighted differently to reflect the large differences in materiality associated with value chain vs. say packaging.
  • Higg FEM covers what’s within direct operational control; the Higg BRM covers largely what is not within direct operational control. This means that answering the same question but for different tiers or business relationships means that the answer option is really the determinant of the level achievement as opposed to the question itself, which is unique to the Higg BRM.
  • Applying the Higg FEM scoring methodology to Higg BRM was complex and could drive the wrong behaviors (e.g. going after easier-to-answer Level 2 questions in certain sections to maximize points achieved)

To address the challenges above, a new scoring approach was created for BRM that includes the following:

  • Top level scoring allows for all applicability scoring pathways to be tested due to the reduction of interdependent questions. Partial credit is an option for many questions across the tool.
  • Weightings are equal across all sections, even with all applicability pathway combinations.
  • Across the entire tool each question will be worth the same number of points.
  • Levels are decoupled from scoring to allow for all questions to be unlocked in the assessment (unlike FEM). Levels are still assigned to each question based on Level 1, 2 and 3 practices identified in the content; however, they are addressed at the end of the module in the Results section.
  • While by nature, all scoring approaches are flawed, we believe this is the best approach to meet all user needs and encourage the right behavior for the 2020 Higg BRM. We will continue to explore how the scoring scenario can be improved for accuracy for future iterations. For more details, please see the Higg BRM Scoring Approach in the vote materials.

 

Q: Can you ever “lose” points in the Higg BRM?

A: No, a user will never be deducted points. A user may only receive full points, partial points, or no points.

 

Q: How are risks and impact scored? If a company does not select any risks or impacts (or only a few), will it be rewarded?

A: In the 2019 Higg BRM, a user will receive points for taking action on a selected risk and/or impact. Guidance will be provided for which risks and impacts users should select. The user only has the opportunity to gain points (or receive no points) by selecting a risk. If they do not select a risk or impact, they will not be able to receive any points or be deducted points.

 

Q: Are the weightings for Social & Labor and Environmental scoring different?

A: No, the weightings for both the Social & Labor section and Environmental sections are the same across the entire tool.

 

Q: Will analytics and benchmarking be available for launch?

A: Over the summer and fall, Higg Co will be implementing technology updates to the Higg BRM on the Higg.org platform to leverage the results and analytics section in a way not previously seen. We will continue to work with Higg Co and the Brand & Retail Advisory Council, the small group of members who leads the development of the Higg BRM, to ensure the correct questions are identified to create results with the most effective roadmap for companies of all sizes toward improvement.

For more details on scoring, please visit Higg BRM Scoring System Guidance.

Verification

Q: Will there be Verification for the Higg BRM?

A: Yes, the vBRM will be launched in May 2021. More details will be shared in due time.

SAC Member FAQs

Q: What time frame does the 2020 Higg BRM assess?

A: Similar to the Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM), the Higg BRM will reflect the previous calendar year’s performance. This means that when the 2020 Higg BRM is released in March 2021, SAC member brands and retailers are encouraged to report their performance for the period of January 2020 to December 2020. Members are free to report on their financial/fiscal year but have to let their member engagement manager know.


Q: What will be the timeline of the 2020 Higg BRM? How long do we have to complete the Higg BRM self-assessment?

A: The Higg BRM Cadence will run from March 1 until June  30, 2021. The deadline to post the Higg BRM self-assessments on Higg.org is June 30, 2021.


Q: What are the SAC’s membership requirements for the Higg BRM?

A:  In October 2020, SAC’s Board of Directors has approved the new membership requirements framework.  SAC Members that are a brand, retailer, holding group or a third-party retailer are required to complete the Higg BRM (both self-assessment and verification), and once available communicate performance and impact progressively in a transparent way.

The detailed requirements for each specific member relative to their membership join date is stated here on SAC Connect.

 

Q: Do I have to complete the Higg BRM as a brand or retailer member by April 30, 2021?

A: Yes, completing the Higg Brand & Retail Module (self-assessment and verification) is part of the annual membership requirements for SAC member brands and retailers. SAC members must meet these requirements to remain within the Coalition. Learn more about Membership Requirements on SAC Connect.


Q: As a company with multiple brands (also known as holding group), do I have to complete the Higg BRM by April 30, 2021?

A: Yes, holding group members of the SAC are required to complete the Higg BRM as per the SAC membership requirements.  For companies that are part of a holding company or group, please follow the holding group specific requirements which can be found here on SAC Connect.

If you remain unclear on your SAC member status please contact your member manager: 

Asia Pacific: wan@apparelcoalition.org

Americas: eszter@apparelcoalition.org

Europe, Middle East, and Africa: veronique@apparelcoalition.org


Q: Will the SAC disclose my company’s performance? 

A: No. You may do so by utilizing the Higg BRM communications toolkit and guidance provided by SAC. We are planning to release the aforementioned within this year. Stay tuned on SAC Connect for more information.


Q: What are the SAC’s membership requirements for the Higg BRM?

A:  In October 2020, SAC’s Board of Directors has approved the new membership requirements framework.  SAC Members that are a brand, retailer, holding group or a third-party retailer are required to complete the Higg BRM (both self-assessment and verification), and once available communicate performance and impact progressively in a transparent way.

The detailed requirements for each specific member relative to their membership join date is stated here on SAC Connect.

 

Q: How has SAC staff sought to ensure that the manufacturer perspective is incorporated into the Higg BRM?

A: In 2016, manufacturers were recruited and participated in the Brand and Retail Advisory Council (BRAC), as well as the task team groups supporting the development of the Higg BRM.

This year, 2021, manufacturers will continue to contribute to the development work through the newly formed Higg BRM Strategic Council and Member Expert Team.


Q: What has been the process for stakeholder engagement on the development of the Higg BRM?

A: Stakeholders engaged in this work since 2017:

Dutch Covenant, OECD, and Textilbündis were prioritized according to a set of criteria that included the following:

  1. Relevant (directly evaluates a Brand or Retailers management practices or impact)
  2. Member desire (through full membership survey)
  3. Engagement with Policy Task Team
  4. Engagement with Communications Task Team

These stakeholders were invited to participate in the Higg BRM Beta and provide feedback between August and October 2018. Their feedback was incorporated into the broader review and update process conducted by staff and the Brand & Retail Advisory Council.

Please see the External Alignment brief for more information.


Q: How were disagreements on content revisions handled and who made the final decision on content updates?

A: Per SAC’s Governance Model for tool development,found here, SAC staff makes final decisions on content updates. Of course, staff always strive to get member alignment from the Strategic Council on topics where there is conflicting feedback.


Q: How will I be able to prepare for completing the 2020 Higg BRM?

A: SAC staff will offer members the following resources:

  • Training page : howtohigg.org will contain a variety of resources for the Higg BRM that will be improved and expanded throughout the year.
  • Guidance documents such as the “Getting Started Guide,” and the How to Higg guidance in English, which includes an explanation for every primary indicator within the module. Main page for guidance: https://howtohigg.org/higg-brand-retail-module/brm-guidance-and-definitions/
  • SAC Membership Manager will be the first point of contact for Brand and Retailer members that require more support than what is
  • Virtual Higg BRM Events – Tentatively planned for Q3 2021, events for members and users to convene around data insights, best practices to drive impact and data transparency.

SAC intends to update and improve training resources annually, based on member feedback of the Higg BRM cycle.


Q: Where do I go to learn more information about the Higg BRM?

A: Learn more about the Higg BRM on SAC Connect here.

In case you require more technical information please contact Eric Unmacht and Erin Leon.

Eric Unmacht – eric@apparelcoalition.org

Erin Leon – erin@apparelcoalition.org

 

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