1. MSI BasicsHow long will it take to assess a material with the Higg MSI? The time required to assess a material in the Higg MSI will vary based on the type of material you wish to assess, the level of customization desired, and the amount of information you have already gathered. Depending on these factors, we estimate that it can take between 2-10 minutes to assess one material. As you become more familiar with the tool, you will be able to assess materials in less time.
|One Example Material (customizing the material set-up page only)||Using “Cotton Fabric” with unknown manufacturing details (ex. 200 DTEX, circular knit, batch dyed Cotton fabric)||2-3 minutes|
|Blend of 2+ Example Materials||50% PolyesterFabric / 50% Cotton Fabric blend with unknown manufacturing details (ex. 200 DTEX, circular knit, batch dyed, Cotton fabric with a fossil fuel based, continuous filament, 200 DTEX, batch dyed Polyester fabric)||3-5 minutes|
|One Custom Material||Customizing “Polyester Fabric” (ex. adding Global Recycled Standard (GRS) and Bluesign certifications, solution dyed, mechanically recycledPolyester, 45 DTEX Polyester yarn, woven)||5-7 minutes|
|Blend of 2+ Custom Materials||Customizing a 50% Polyester Fabric / 50% Cotton Fabric blend (ex. 370 DTEX recycled Cotton, spun for weaving, bleached, dyed with continuous dyeing with a GRS and Bluesign certified, solution dyed, mechanically recycled, 45 DTEX Polyester extruded fiber, spun for woven, with no scouring or heat setting)||6-10 minutes|
Who to engage on the Higg MSI
The basic information needed to start using the Higg MSI may be easy to access—for instance, on an item’s care content label.
Full understanding and customization of materials can require engagement with those who are buying, using, or manufacturing materials.Depending on your company and role, there may be people and resources within your company and/or outside of your company to consult.
|Your Company/Role||Internal Resources||External Resources|
|Retailer sustainability team||Product sourcing team (sourcing manager, product manager, retail buyer)|
|Retailer product sourcing team||Brand sales representative for the product|
|Brand sales representative||Brand sustainability team, design &development team (designer, product developer, material developer)|
|Brand sustainability team or design &development team||Product information details (ex. PLM system)||Product manufacturing representative (sourcing agent, sales representative)|
|Product manufacturing representative||Product information details (ex. PLM system)||Material manufacturing representative (sourcing agent, sales representative)|
|Material manufacturing representative||Production manager, manufacturing data system|
How to prepare for the Higg MSI
The diagram below shows the categories of information that are helpful to gather. In most cases, the minimum information needed to get started and select an Example Material will be the raw materials source of a Material Category. Additional process information can be used to further customize the materials.
2. Navigating the MSI
The MSI assesses the environmental impacts of materials used in consumer goods industries. Use the MSI to assess and compare the impacts of the materials, trims, and packaging featured in your products. Built on science-based, trusted life cycle assessment data, the MSI offers insight into the best materials and manufacturing process options your company can use to develop more sustainable products. The MSI drives the development of materials sustainability strategies within companies and among value chain partners. It provides a common language for materials impact assessment across several connected industries.
Once you have created and activated your Higg MSI account:
- Click on the “Product Tools” tab at the top of the page
- Select “Higg Material Sustainability Index” to access the Higg MSI dashboard
Starting from the Higg MSI dashboard, it is possible to:
- Access five material libraries
- Example Materials Library
- Company Custom Materials Library
- Acquired Materials Library
- Trims & Components Library
- Packaging Materials Library
- View material scores
- Compare materials
- Create and save Custom Materials and material blends
- Share materials with other Higg MSI users
- Receive materials shared with by other Higg MSI users
3. Example Materials
The Higg MSI Example Materials tab provides access to all available Example Materials, listed in alphabetical order within each Material Category. These Example Materials can be viewed as they are (with default processes selected) or they can be further customized.
3.1 Viewing Material Scores
Users can assess Example Materials based on 3 different score views:
- Their MSI score
- Their LCIA (Life Cycle Impact Assessment), the quantitative environmental impacts calculated based on the data collected in the LCA.
Example materials – MSI score view
3.2 Searching and Sorting Materials
Materials can be found in three ways:
- Typing into the search box on the top left side of the dashboard
- Clicking into the different Material Categories listed along the left side of the page, where they are listed alphabetically
- Scrolling through the full list of Example Materials
Materials can be sorted in two ways:
- An alphabetical view, the default (from A->Z), which can be switched to Z->A
- The different impact indicators (Global warming, Eutrophication, Water scarcity, Resource depletion & Chemistry use), sorted from high to low or low to high by clicking on the desired impact indicator.
Materials sorted by Alphabetical order
Materials sorted by specific impact area score
Note: The example on screen shows sorting from low to high, based on Global warming potential, also known as GWP.
4. Custom Materials
4.1 Creating and Editing a Custom Material
To create a Custom Material, click the “Create a Custom Material” button on the Higg MSI dashboard.
This can also be done from within the Company Custom Material Library, which can be accessed from the top navigation bar of the Higg MSI or from the Higg MSI dashboard. From within the Company Custom Material Library, click on the “Create Custom Material” button in the upper right side of the screen.
Clicking “Create Custom Material” will open a Company Custom Material page. To begin the process, it is required to enter:
- A Material Name (must be unique to prevent an error message)
- A Material Category (can only be selected from the list provided)
The “Units of Measure” and “Yields” fields are optional.
A Unit of Measure should be indicated if it is necessary to use a unit different from the system default (1kg of material). Note: The Higg MSI will always normalize material scores to 1kg of material, even if specified otherwise at this stage. Selecting a Unit of Measure here will update the default Units of Measure in Trims, Packaging, and assessments in the forthcoming Higg Product Module. The same is true when selecting “Yield” at this stage. If you wish to use Yields for trims, packaging, or the Higg Product Module, you must specify the material’s yield conversion to 1kg here.
Next, select “Add Materials” in the bottom right corner of the screen.This button will only be activated once a Material Name and a Material Category have been selected.
On the following page, select the material to be customized by searching from the Example Materials Library, the Company Custom Materials Library, or the Acquired Materials Library.
Once the correct material has been found, click on “review settings” in the bottom right corner of the screen.
On the materials review page, clicking on the plus (“+”) sign at the right-side end of the material impact data row will activate the drop-down menu, which opens the list of processes available to be customized for that material.
To select different manufacturing processes, click on the appropriate step to customize.
Next, choose the appropriate process to replace the default process used in the Example Material. Repeat this step as many times as necessary for the custom material to best reflect the real material being assessed.
For a better understanding of each manufacturing process, hovering over each process description will reveal a complete description.
For more details on the selected process and access to the process metadata, click on the carrot (“>”) sign on the right-hand side of the process description.
It is also possible to create a custom material from the Example Material list by clicking the plus (“+”) sign on the right-hand side of the screen and/or by clicking on the button.
Either option will go directly to the customization screens where the desired processes for customization can be selected.
Once the desired processes have been customized, upon returning to the Example Materials screen, a small disk icon will appear to the right of the Material Name. Clicking on the disk icon will save the changes and go back to the material customization screen for this Custom Material. Further changes can be made to the Custom Material at that point, if desired.
To edit a Custom Material once it has been saved, select the material from the Company Custom Materials Library.
This will open the material customization page for that Custom Material, where the material can be further updated as described above.
As a material is customized, its score will automatically adjust to adjust for the process modifications that have been selected.
Here is the original score of an Example Material:
Here, we compare the score of a Custom Material based on the above Example Material, with processes modified:
3.2 Additional Process Options
Materials can be further customized using “Additional Process Options,” which includes:
- Loss Rates related to each process
- Inbound Transport Distance between processing steps
- Transportation Mode
- Chemistry Certifications
The“Additional Process Options” can be accessed by selecting the button next to the name of the material.
Note: Customization at this level applies at a process level, not a material level. Users are encouraged to specify these additional process steps only if they have access to the supporting data. If that data is not available, use the default data that has already been entered.
4.3 Chemistry Certifications
Chemistry certifications can be applied either at thematerial level, through the material customization view or at the process level through the Additional Process Options menu.
Customizing Chemistry Certifications: Material Level
To customize chemistry certifications at the material level, select the desired material and then select “Chemistry Certifications” from the list of processes, then select the appropriate certification from the list.
Note: Adding a chemistry certification at the material level will apply to all applicable processes related to the customized material. However, adding a chemistry certification at the process level, as described in the following example, will only apply the chemistry certification to the Additional Process Option selected.
Customizing Chemistry Certifications: Process Level
Chemistry certifications can also be added through the Additional Process Options menu. To do this, first, select the desired material to be customized, then click on the “Edit Material” button at the bottom of the screen.
On the next screen, click “Add Materials” at the bottom of the page
On the following screen, click the “Review Settings” button.
- This will bring up the menu of Additional Process Options.
In this menu, find the “Chemistry Certifications” column and select the appropriate certification from the available list for that process.
4.4 Saving Custom Materials
There are two options for saving Custom Materials to the Company Custom Materials Library:
- Save as Draft
- Save as Final
When customizing a material, there will be two buttons at the bottom of the screen, indicating whether it is being saved as a draft material or a final material. Both materials will be saved to the Company Custom Materials Library, but only materials saved as final will be available for use in the future Higg Product Module.
4.5 Creating a Material Blend
Material Blends are a type of Custom Material containing more than one type of base material. Blends can be created using a combination of Example Materials, Custom Materials, and Acquired Materials.
The initial steps to create a blend are the same as to customize an Example Material:
- Click the “Create a Custom Material” button
- Enter a Material Name and Material Category (and any optional selections) on the material customization page.
- Select “Add Materials” on the bottom right corner of the page
On the following page, search the lists to select the materials that will be combined into a Material Blend.
The “Add Material Again” option can be used to add the same material multiple times to the blend, if the processes applied to different percentages of the same material will be different (for instance, if a material is a blend of virgin and recycled categories of the same material). The processes applied to each component of the blend can be customized in the same way as when creating a Custom Material.
Once the material components have been selected, the relative amounts, or percentages, of each in the blend should be specified. If the composition values specified are less than 100% the system will not allow the material to be saved as final. Once the amounts are set, select “Review Settings” and customize further as desired before saving the material as final.
The Higg MSI also includes a Trims & Components Library as well as a Packaging Library. Note:Because both of these libraries function in the same way and have the same features, this section will use the term “Trims Library” and “Trim” to refer to the functionalities of both the Trims & Components Library as well as the Packaging Library. Packaging can be customized, saved, and accessed in the same way as Trims.
Both of these libraries can be accessed from the Higg MSI dashboard or from any other page via the navigation bar.
Opening the Trims Library will open a library similar to the Example Materials Library, except that the sidebar will show All Trims, Example Trims, My Trims, and Drafts Only. Example Trims are the default options available in the Higg MSI, while My Trims are customized Trims (similar to Custom Materials).
As with the Example Materials, it is possible switch to different score views, including MSI Scores and Life Cycle Impact Assessment information.
Clicking on the “Create New Trim” button will take you to a new screen to begin to create a customized Trim.
5.1 Creating Custom Trims and Packaging
To create a new Trim, a unique Trim Name must be selected. Additional information, including vendor name, part number, and a description can also be added. All fields except “Trim Name” are optional.
This screen also allows you to update the Defect Rate if you have the specific information required, as described in the Content Guidance.
After clicking “Next”, one or more materials can be added to the custom Trim. These can be Example Materials, Acquired Materials, or Custom Materials.
The search bar functions in the same way as for the Material Libraries to help find the specific component needed.
After adding the desired material(s), specify the amount of each material used in the Trim before saving as draft or final. The custom Trim will now show up under “My Trims” in the Trims & Components Library.
6. Sharing and Exporting Materials
The Higg MSI allows users to share Custom Materials with each other. Shared materials are referred to as “Acquired Materials” in the Higg MSI and appear in the Acquired Materials Library.
Selecting a Custom Material from the Company Custom Material Library will activate the option to share the Custom Material with another user, using the “Send” button at the bottom left of the page.
After clicking “Send,” select the intended recipient from a list of eligible Higg.org user accounts, add an optional comment if desired, and click “Send Material”. Note: once a material has been sent, it is not possible to retract the share.
All materials that have been shared and received, and their statuses, will be visible in the Acquired Materials tab of the Higg MSI. There is no limit on the number of materials that a user can send.
If a material is updated after sending, it will be possible to resend the same material to previous recipients. The recipients will have the option to accept the new sent material and override the previous version accepted.
When a user has received a material share, it will be visible in the Pending Materials tab. The material share can be accepted or rejected.
If the material is accepted, it will move to the Acquired Materials Library. Note: Acquired materials count toward an account’s allocation limit.
It is possible to export Company Custom Materials data from the HiggMSI using Microsoft Excel.
The export can be initiated by clicking on the Excel logo on the top right-hand side of the Higg MSI navigation bar.
The export will contain the following information for each Custom Material:
- Material Name
- Material ID
- Material Code
- Material components and percentages
- Material score (aggregated)
- Component scores and LCIA midpoints (Global Warming, Eutrophication, Water Scarcity, Abiotic Resource Depletion, Chemistry)
- Biogenic carbon content and water consumption rating
- Process descriptions and certifications
- Loss Rates, Transportation Modes, Inbound Transport Distances, and Chemistry Certifications