An Introduction to MSI

Higg Materials Sustainability Index

The Higg MSI is a cradle-to-gate material assessment tool that calculates environmental impacts of materials used by design and development teams to identify hotspots and make more sustainable choices during materials selection.

Value of Higg 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.

Impacts Measured

The Higg MSI uses peer-reviewed life-cycle assessment data to quantify the environmental impacts of material production from the extraction or production of raw materials through manufacturing, finishing, and preparation for assembly. Environmental impact is measured  in five areas:

  • Global warming
  • Nutrient pollution in water (eutrophication)
  • Water scarcity
  • Abiotic resource depletion, use of fossil fuels
  • Chemistry


For each material, the MSI provides scores for each of the impact areas assessed. It takes into account the energy, water, and chemicals used to make materials, as well as waste generation and water pollution. Scores are based on a variety of relevant environmental criteria and the manufacturing processes a company uses to develop a material. By using the MSI, designers and product developers can choose materials with better sustainability performance.


The MSI is powered by peer-reviewed, science-based life-cycle assessment data, including resources from the renowned GaBi database. Trusted by leading brands, retailers, manufacturers, and sustainability experts, the MSI features the latest cutting-edge available data for materials and manufacturing processes.


Publicize how your company uses the MSI and share your commitment to environmental sustainability. MSI users may communicate MSI scores in accordance with the Higg Index Communications Guidelines.

Additional Features

API Integration 

Integrate the MSI with your company’s internal product life-cycle management system. With Higg’s application programming interface, your company’s designers and product developers can use the MSI on the systems they already use every day to create new products and apply the latest sustainability data to their decision-making process.

The MSI is updated regularly to feature the latest available materials data. Use the MSI Contributor on the Higg platform to submit additional materials and manufacturing processes to the MSI.