Higg MSI Change Log

MSI Data Updates

The Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) enables product designers and developers to understand the environmental impact of different materials, so teams can make more sustainable choices during product development. All background life cycle impact assessment data in the MSI comes from ISO-compliant studies and reputable industry databases, primarily the GaBi database by Sphera.

The MSI is regularly updated to feature new data, materials, and manufacturing processes. Data submitted is reviewed and verified by third-party experts. The current version of the MSI and the timeline for the next update are displayed in the MSI dashboard on the Higg platform.

MSI version 3.2 (July 2021) features new materials including Repreve® yarn and resin, PVC foam, PrimeAsia leather, BIRLA Radianza, BIRLA Purocel, and a new reptile leather. Recycled metals and several metal processes, such as stamping and bending and drawing — often used to manufacture hard goods such as bicycles and outdoor equipment — have also been added. 

This change log outlines the full list of latest updates. 

Change Log

Version 3.3 Update (December 2021)

Key Data Update: All midpoints and scores have changed due to the update to the GaBi background database. Background datasets, such as raw materials and energy, are used to build models of each process. MSI version 3.3 has been updated to GaBi content version 2021.1. Changes in scores +/-5% are considered normal and are expected across the database. Certain larger changes are specifically mentioned in Background Data Update section below.

New Example Materials

  • Thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) Foam
  • Polypropylene insulation

New Data Submissions and Process Options:

  • ENKA® Viscose {ENKA} {includes yarn formation)
  • Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), fossil fuel based, for coatings and laminations
  • Thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), fossil fuel based, for foam
  • Polypropylene (PP), fossil fuel based, for insulation 
  • Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU), recycled
  • Cotton fiber, recycled (Usha Yarn Ltd.)
  • Spinning, recycled yarns, open end (rotor) (Ne-20, 24, 28) {Usha Yarns Ltd}
  • 4 Leather materials from Sadesa, which includes the following process:
    • Cow hide, Athletic Pigmented White Version 1 {Sadesa}
    • Athletic Pigmented White Version 1 {Sadesa} (includes tanning, re-tanning, drying, finishing) 
    • Cow hide, Finished Pigmented Leather {Sadesa}
    • Finished Pigmented Leather {Sadesa} (includes tanning, re-tanning, drying, finishing)
    • Cow hide, Crust Aniline Leather {Sadesa} 
    • Crust Aniline Leather {Sadesa} (includes tanning, re-tanning, drying, finishing)
    • Cow hide, Athletic Pigmented White Version 2 {Sadesa}
    • Athletic Pigmented White Version 2 {Sadesa} (includes tanning, re-tanning, drying, finishing)

Data Updates

  • Goose down, recycled- Updated inbound transportation distance for consistency with assumptions in rest of database
  • Spandex fiber {The LYCRA Company}, contains data for yarn formation/spinning- impacts for water and eutrophication have decreased due to a change in background data source for polyol to remain consistent with the rest of the database
  • Livaeco™ Viscose Staple Fiber {BIRLA} updated and renamed to Livaeco by Birla Cellulose™ Viscose Staple Fiber {BIRLA Cellulose}- representative of all 3 production regions
  • Viscose Staple Fibre {BIRLA} process removed and replaced with Livaeco by Birla Cellulose™ Viscose Staple Fiber {BIRLA Cellulose}
  • Updated biogenic carbon content to 0.39 kg C/ kg for Regenerated cellulose, from bamboo and Purocel Eco Viscose {BIRLA Cellulose} 

Background Data Update

As mentioned above, the MSI has been updated to GaBi content version 2021.1. All processes are impacted by this change. Some process impacts with larger changes are called out below: 

  • Cotton fiber, recycled {Recover} – impacts have increased in GWP and Abiotic depletion due to changes in the Spanish electricity mix. 
  • Nickel, primary/virgin – impacts have increased due to background database update
  • Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) plastic- global warming impacts have increased due to updates in background database 
  • Silicone, fossil fuel based- impacts have increased due to a correction in the GaBi database

Change Log

Version 3.2 Update (July 2021)

New Data Submissions and Process Options

Raw Materials:

  • Repreve® Yarn {Unifi Manufacturing Inc} (includes extrusion/spinning + texturing)
  • Repreve® Resin (chip) {Unifi Manufacturing Inc}
  • Purocel Eco Viscose {BIRLA Cellulose}
  • Radianza Fiber {BIRLA} (includes preparation and coloration)
  • Steel billet, recycled, electric arc furnace (EAF)
  • Steel billet, primary, blast furnace (BF)
  • Aluminum, secondary
  • Polyethylene (LDPE) resin, fossil fuel based, for foam
  • Polybutylene Terephthalate Granulate (PBT), for plastic
  • Polyethylene (PE), recycled, for foam
  • Polyethylene (PE), recycled, for plastic
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), fossil fuel based, for foam

Leather process submission:

  • Cow hide {PrimeAsia} from South American raw hides
  • Cow hide {PrimeAsia} raw hides (South America)
  • Finished leather, from Steers (US and Australia) {PrimeAsia}, (includes tanning, re-tanning, drying, and finishing)
  • Finished leather, from South American raw hides {PrimeAsia}, (includes tanning, re-tanning, drying, and finishing)
  • Retanning {PrimeAsia} (impact contained in tanning stage)
  • Drying {PrimeAsia} (impact contained in tanning stage)
  • Finishing {PrimeAsia} (impact contained in tanning stage)


  • Molded, hot compression, for plastic
  • Extrusion anodization, for metal 
  • Drawing, for metal
  • Stamping and bending, for metal
  • Extrusion, for metal
  • Blow moulding, for plastic
  • Vulcanization, for rubber
  • None as an option for yarn formation to Viscose, Lyocell, modal, and PU

New Reptile leather processes:

  • ·       Python skin, Indonesia
  • ·       Tanning, chrome process, reptile leather
  • ·       Finishing, 1 drum operation (dyeing, waterproofing or fatliquoring)
  • ·       Drying, reptile leather

New Example Materials

  •   Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) foam
  •   Reptile leather

Process Model Updates:

  • Carbon steel, primary/virgin- updated to Steel billet, primary, blast furnace (BF) and impacts updated
  • Aluminum, primary/virgin- impacts updated to keep consistent data source with Aluminum, secondary

·      Polyethylene (PE) resin, fossil fuel based, for foam renamed to High density polyethylene (HDPE) resin, fossil fuel based, for foam and process impacts updated

Change Log

Version 3.1 Update (December 2020)

Key Tool Updates: 

  • Enhanced transparency through direct links to data submitter and GaBi documentation webpages (where applicable)
  • Increased customization options for synthetic leather materials. Custom textile substrates can be created and blended with synthetic leather processing. Users can also select from different ratios of substrate to polyurethane. 

New Data Submissions and Process Options

  • Preparation for CO2 dye {Far Eastern}, Taiwan 
  • CO2 dye {Far Eastern}, Taiwan (includes coloration and finishing) 
  • Flax long hackled fiber (linen) {European Flax®}
  • Livaeco™ Modal Fibre {BIRLA}
  • Cow hide {JBS and Asiatan}, Brazil
  • Kind Leather {Asiatan}, (includes tanning, re-tanning, drying, and finishing)
  • Creora® bio-based spandex {Hyosung}, (includes yarn formation)
  • Agraloop BioFibre (cottonized) {Circular Systems}
  • NTX Cooltrans Polyester Coloration {NTX} (includes coloration and finishing)
  • NTX Cooltrans Nylon Coloration {NTX} (includes coloration and finishing)
  • Ultramid B {BASF}
  • Ultramid B BMB (biomass balance) {BASF}
  • Livaeco Spun-dyed Viscose Staple Fiber {BIRLA}
  • Cellulosic Fiber, Naia Renew {Eastman} 
  • Cellulosic Filament Yarn, Naia Renew {Eastman} (includes yarn formation)
  • New spinning processes added to Acetate fabric
  • Cellulosic Enzyme treatment added as finishing to hemp, jute, and flax
  • HDPE as Raw Material to Microporous Laminate
  • Recycled nylon added to Nylon/Polyamide (PA) plastic
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) raw material added to Monolithic Coating
  • Renamed hemp fiber and bast fiber spinning process to specify wet spun long fiber 
  • 12 new spinning processes added for cottonized hemp

New Example Materials & Raw Materials

  • Polyethylene Fabric
  • Polyoxymethylene (POM) plastic
  • Ethylene Propylene Diene Elastomer (EPDM) rubber
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic 

Process Model Updates:

  • Cotton fiber, recycled
  • Cotton fiber, recycled {Recover}
  • Milguard 1.00 mm Ocean Counter
  • Viscose Staple Fibre {BIRLA} 
  • Livaeco™ Viscose Staple Fiber {BIRLA}
  • TENCEL® Lyocell {Lenzing}
  • TENCEL™ Modal {Lenzing}
  • TENCEL™ Modal Eco Color (color/black) {Lenzing}
  • Dope Dyeing for TENCEL™ Modal Eco Color (color/black) {Lenzing}

Version 3.1.1 (February 2021):

Two MSI Contributor processes removed at request of data submitter: Preparation for CO2 dye {Far Eastern}, Taiwan and CO2 dye {Far Eastern}, Taiwan (includes coloration and finishing). Additional minor revisions in meta data.

Change Log

Version 3.0 Update (August 2020)

There have been a number of methodological updates in the Higg MSI 3.0, released in August 2020. Please note that results in the Higg MSI 3.0 are not directly comparable to the Higg MSI 2.0. Changes are outlined below, please see Higg MSI Methodology document for more details.

Methodology Changes

  • Process level loss rates are included in the calculation in the Higg MSI 3.0; this includes both the impacts of waste and the raw material demand (higher loss rates in the process require more raw material to produce 1 kg of textile). In the prior version, losses were included in the raw material stage only and process efficiencies could not be recognized in the system. Loss rates can be viewed, but are not editable by the user. Textile loss rates were generated using data from Textile Exchange Fiber Conversion Methodology.
  • Customizable transportation by stage is also included in the Higg MSI 3.0. Previously, default transport assumptions were included for each material, but it is not editable by the user. Now, default assumptions of 200 km by large truck between each production stage are provided, and the user may edit the transportation distance and mode if known.
  • The water scarcity methodology used in scoring has been updated from the Pfister Water Scarcity Index in the Higg MSI 2.0, to the AWARE method in Higg MSI 3.0. The AWARE method is the new consensus method and used by the EU Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) program.
  • The Higg MSI 3.0 includes a new chemistry methodology for all processes which is now displayed alongside the other LCIA metrics. Previously, chemistry points were assigned at the material level (not the process level), and by default 13.6 points (considered 1.5 times the average impact) were assigned. Chemistry points were reduced by selected certifications and increased by selecting chemical finished. Now, each process is assessed and assigned a high/medium/low impact level (6/4/2 chemistry units) using the common LCA methodology for calculating toxicity, USEtox. Chemistry certifications are available for selection at both the full material level and the process level, which adjusts the chemistry points. This is an area that will be continuously improved as better chemistry data and assessment methods become available.
  • All midpoints and scores have also changed due to the update to GaBi background database. Background datasets, such as raw materials and energy, are used to build models of each process. The Higg MSI 2.0 used ecoinvent background data, but MSI 3.0 uses GaBi which leads to some differences but the overall consistency is good.
  • Two additional metadata fields were added to all processes: water consumption and biogenic carbon. These are additional metrics that users find important, but they are not used in the overall scoring. Water consumption measures net water consumed during the production process (while the scarcity metric used in scoring considers the region of the water use as well). Biogenic carbon is reported in kg biogenic carbon per kilogram of product. Please note this is kg biogenic C (not CO2e), please see the methodology document for additional guidance on how to convert to CO2
  • The Higg MSI 3.0 has two new libraries: the Packaging Library and the Trims & Components Library. These use Higg MSI materials to build libraries of example packaging and trims (ex. Shipping box, zipper, hang tag, etc.). Users can also create and add their own packaging and trim/component options to these libraries by entering the materials used and their respective amounts in each item. Packages and Trims/Components in the Higg MSI can be analyzed and compared in Higg MSI, and can be pulled into a product in the Higg Product Module (Higg PM).

Process Changes

While almost all process data changed due to the changes in the background data, some processes have additional changes on top of these background database changes.

  • Energy requirements for some knitting and weaving processes were adjusted based on academic literature
  • Acrylic raw material process data updated to more accurate background data (polyacrylonitrile fiber rather than just acrylonitrile monomer)
  • Flax and hemp impacts were updated based on database updates in the World Apparel Life Cycle Database.
  • Silk LCIA impacts have been corrected to match data from the World Apparel Life Cycle Database
  • Scouring for synthetic material was updated to GaBi data (previously estimated based on data submitted for natural material scouring).

New Processes Added

The following new processes have been added into the Higg MSI system.

  • LivaEco VSF {BIRLA}, India
  • Elastollan® TPU resin {BASF}
  • Freeflex™ TPU Resin {BASF} for textile
  • Freeflex™ TPU melt spinning {BASF}, (15 to 100 DTEX- 14 to 90 den- 667 to 100 Nm)
  • LYCRA(r) T400 EcoMade Fiber {The LYCRA Company}, (includes yarn formation)
  • Flax Fiber {Bast Fiber Tech}, Belgium
  • Milguard 1.00 mm Ocean Counter {Milspeed}, UK (included in trim library)
  • Bloom EVA {Algix}, US
  • Cellulosic Fiber, Naia {Eastman}
  • Cardboard, market mix
  • Cardboard, recycled
  • Paper, market mix
  • Paper, recycled
  • Hemp fiber, dew retted
  • Hemp fiber, warm water retted
  • Flax fiber (linen), dew retted
  • Flax fiber (linen), warm water retted
  • Die cutting, from sheet stock, two times
  • Molding, compression, two times