Higg MSI Glossary

Higg MSI Glossary – Index

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Allocation: partitioning the input and/or output flows of a process to the product system under study (ISO). This is necessary when more than one product is produced (joint production), and environmental impacts need to be divided between the product systems.

Characterization: substances that contribute to an impact category are multiplied by a characterization factor that expresses the relative contribution of the substance.

Climate Change: a change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.

Cradle-to-gate: The cradle-to-gate life cycle spans the origin of raw materials to a finished textile or component part, ready to be shipped to a product manufacturing facility.

Ecotoxicity: the potential for biological, chemical or physical stressors to affect ecosystems.

Eutrophication: excessive richness of nutrients in a lake or other body of water, frequently due to runoff from the land, which causes a dense growth of plant life and death of animal life from lack of oxygen.

Higg Index Product Tools: Higg Index Product Tools include the Higg MSI, the MSI Contributor, and the Higg Product Module.

Higg Product Module: a Higg Tool to provide credible external communication to influence purchasing decisions and scale industry adoption of leading practices. It will be used by sustainability and communication experts to assess the full impacts of a finished product. Methodology will be aligned with life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology, particularly that of the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF).

Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI): cradle-to-gate material scoring tool informed by life cycle assessment (LCA) data and methodology to engage product design teams and our global value chain in environmental sustainability. Through this tool, users can view material scores, processes, and metadata. Users can also swap in and our different production processes to see score changes and create blends. SAC members can also access LCA midpoints for each process.

Human Toxicity: The Human Toxicity Potential (HTP) is a quantitative toxic equivalency potential (TEP) that has been introduced previously to express the potential harm of a unit of chemical released into the environment. HTP includes both inherent toxicity and generic source-to-dose relationships for pollutant emissions.

Land Occupation: the amount of land necessary to be used specifically for production of the material.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA): Life-cycle assessment is a technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product’s life from cradle to grave (i.e., from raw material extraction through materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling).

Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA): Phase of Life Cycle Assessment aimed at understanding and evaluating the magnitude and significance of the potential environmental impacts for a product system throughout the life cycle of the product.

Material: a finished material, ready to be shipped to a product manufacturing facility and assembled into a product. It is made up a chain of individual processes that illustrate full cradle-to-gate material production. It will have an associated score reflected in the Higg DDM and Higg MSI.

Material Category: a generic material type (ex: textile, foam, metal).

Materials Sustainability Index (MSI): cradle-to-gate index informed by life cycle assessment (LCA) data to engage product design teams and our global value chain in environmental sustainability. Through this tool, users can view material scores, processes, and metadata. Users can also swap in and our different production processes to see score changes and create blends. SAC members can also access LCA midpoints for each process.

Materials Task Team: a team of SAC members (brands, retailers, manufacturers, and service providers in the apparel, footwear, and home textile industries) with the goal of creating content and scoring methodology for the Higg MSI.

Midpoint: an impact category that translates impacts into environmental themes such as climate change, eutrophication, ecotoxicity, etc.

Process (also called Unit Process): an individual production process used in the cradle-to-gate lifecycle of a material. A process in the Higg MSI is associated with specific inputs and outputs from/to the environment. A chain of processes makes up a Material.

Production Phase: a material production step for which various processed could be used. More than on Production Phases are used to create a finished material.

Product Environmental Footprint (PEF): harmonized methodology for the calculation of the environmental footprint of products (including carbon). It has been spearheaded by the European Commission and DG Environment.

Resource Depletion, Fossils and Minerals: Resource depletion is the consumption of a resource faster than it can be replenished. This impact area model is based on available fossil fuel reserves and the technology available to access those reserves.

Sustainable Apparel Coalition: The Sustainable Apparel Coalition is the apparel, footwear and home textile industry’s foremost alliance for sustainable production. The Coalition’s main focus is on building the Higg Index, a standardized supply chain measurement tool for all industry participants to understand the environmental and social and labor impacts of making and selling their products and services. By measuring sustainability performance, the industry can address inefficiencies, resolve damaging practices, and achieve the environmental and social transparency that consumers are starting to demand.

USEtox: a scientific consensus model endorsed by the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative for characterizing human and ecotoxicological impacts of chemicals. Main output is a database of recommended and interim characterization factors including fate, exposure, and effect parameters.

Water resources depletion/scarcity: a means to measure potential environmental damages of water use for three areas: human health, ecosystem quality, and resources.

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