Learn the Basics
1. What is the Higg MSI?
The Higg Materials Sustainability Index (Higg MSI) is a cradle-to-gate material assessment tool using a life cycle assessment (LCA) approach to evaluate the environmental impacts of materials used in the apparel, footwear, and home textile industries. These materials are also used in related industries such as outdoor equipment and toys, making the Higg MSI a valuable tool for understanding material impacts across several industries.
The Higg MSI is designed to:
- Assess and compare the environmental impacts of materials, trims, and packaging
- Drive the development of materials sustainability strategies within companies and among value chain partners
- Provide a common language for materials impact assessment across several connected industries
The Higg MSI can be accessed and used year-round and has no submission cadences. There are currently no SAC member adoption requirements in place for the Higg MSI.
2. What does the Higg MSI measure?
The Higg MSI quantifies the environmental impacts of material production from the extraction or production of raw materials through manufacture, finishing, and preparation for assembly. Users can adjust material inputs and production processes to analyze factors affecting environmental impact.
The Higg MSI measures environmental impact in five areas:
- Global warming
- Water scarcity
- Abiotic resource depletion, fossil fuels
In addition, the Higg MSI reports the following inventory metrics:
- Biogenic carbon content
- Water consumption
Each material in the Higg MSI also receives a benchmark score, comparing its overall impact with the impact of other materials in the Higg MSI.
Higg MSI measurements are based on three key elements:
- Taxonomy: industry rules for organizing production phases and processes, enabling new data to integrate consistently into the framework
- Materials data: verified cradle-to-gate material production life cycle impact assessment (LCIA)midpoint data
- Scoring methodology: the procedure for converting LCIA midpoint data into environmental scores for the measured impact categories
3. What are the benefits of using the Higg MSI?
The HiggMSI provides value and insights in the following ways:
- Offers a scalable approach to measurematerials’ environmental impacts across the entire value chain
- Enables rapid, actionable learning through identification of impact causes and improvement opportunities
- Provides a common language based on consistent data and verified scores to encourage collaborative goal setting and industry-wide improvement
- Catalyzes sustainability education and provides clear guidancefor decision-making
- Drives materials sustainability improvements over time through benchmarking of scoresand recognition of sustainable production efforts
4. What is new for the 2020 Higg MSI?
Key updates to the 2020 Higg MSI include:
- New interface offering an enhanced user experience
- Migration to the Higg.org platform
- Addition of a packaging library, comparisons, and customization
- Addition of a trims and components library, comparisons, and customization
- Ability to customize transportation distances and modes between processing steps
- Ability to assign chemistry certifications at the process level
- New database (GaBi) and new water methodology (AWARE), resulting in updated scores
- Updated chemistry scoring methodology and new chemistry data
- Inclusion of biogenic carbon and water consumption in metadata
- New process level loss rates, ensuring material assessments include consideration for process efficiencies
- More detailed information on the latest Higg MSI updates, including new processes, can be found in the Higg MSI Change Log
5. What else should you know about the Higg MSI?
The Higg MSI allows for a range of functionalities allowing users to make informed choices about materials, including:
- Side-by-side material comparisons
- Ability to adjust material inputs and production processes
- Ability to give and receive scored materials from supply chain partners
- Access to source and methodology information
- On-platform material data sharing with collaborators
- Excel data exports
- Life cycle impact assessment results
- Permanent custom materials, trims, and packaging libraries
What to Prepare
6. How 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|
7. 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|
8. How to prepare for the Higg MSI
Before getting started, it is recommended to review the Step by Step Instructions and the Content Guidance for the Higg MSI.
The Step by Step Instructions outline key functions of the Higg MSI. The Content Guidance outlines the organizational structure of materials and material customization features in the Higg MSI; it also describes the available options at the Material Category, Example Material, Production Stage, and Process levels. Reviewing the Content Guidance is critical to correctly selecting, customizing, and assessing materials.
When using the Higg MSI, the more process-level information is known about a material, the more accurate the assessment can be.
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.
9. How do I register my account?
If you are new to the Higg Index and need to set up a new account
If you need to register for a new account, click “Don’t Have an Account? Create an Account”. Complete all required information in the registration form. Details for completing each section are outlined below.
Please check the link to watch the video guide: http://apparelcoalition.org/registration-video/
1. Enter your user profile information:
You will first be asked to enter your user information and password. After completing the information, click “Create” to go to the next step.
2. Search for or add your Company Account
Next you will be asked to either search for your company name or create a new company account.
First search for your company account (Account name or Higg ID number) to make sure it is not already set up in the system.
- If you find your existing account, select it and click “Join this account”. Your request will be approved by the account owner (the user who set up the account). Once they approve your registration, you will be able to login.
- If you do not find your account or you never had an account, click “Create company” to register a new company account.
- Once you click “Create company”, enter in all the correct information about your account in English in the form and hit “Create company” to submit your account information.
- Company name: Each account should represent an individual factory or business. Enter your company name in English.
- SAC member: Switch to yes if you are a member of the SAC. If you are not sure if you are an SAC member, please see a full list of SAC members please visit, https://apparelcoalition.org/members/
- Parent Company: Search for your parent company name, you will be able to see a dropdown list and select your parent company. If you don’t find your parent company, you can enter your parent company in the field.
- Company address: you must enter in English and include city and country in your company address. If you enter a very detailed address, the system will require you to enter city and country information.
- Account Type: Choose your account type:
- Facility: Manufacturers/Factories that will complete the Higg Facility Modules. (You must select facility to have access to Facility Modules)
- Brand: Brands and retailers
- Verification Body: Organizations accredited to conduct verification
- Other: Sourcing agents, vendors, NGO’s, and other SAC member organizations that do not need to complete modules.
- Organization Affiliation: you can select multiple options.
- Higg SME Access: Higg SME means Small & Medium Enterprise Brands/Retailers that have subscribed to access the Higg Index, but they are not SAC members.
- Not Applicable: neither OIA nor Higg SME Access.
4. Review and Approve Accounts
After submitting the account registration, you will be able to access your account and navigate the platform features such as purchasing module immediately without any waiting time after clicking Accepting Terms.
Accept the terms above and it will direct you to the facility modules home page.
- Higg Index support team will review your account information as soon as possible in the system.
- If Higg Index support team finds that your account is not eligible to be set up in Higg.org, we will inform you to deactivate your account.
Purchase additional MSI units
On the MSI dashboard, you can view your total and remaining MSI units based on your account service level.
If you have exceeded your allotted MSI units, you can purchase more units for $50/unit. These units are applicable to material, trims and packaging.
To purchase units:
1. Click the ‘contact us’ button on your MSI dashboard.
2. In filling out the support form, click ‘Payment Support’, and then ‘MSI Units Purchasing’. Please also include the number of units you wish to purchase.
3. Our support team will get back to you the invoice with the total price and an option to pay either by credit card or by wire transfer.
11. How do I manage my account?
In this guidance, you will learn:
How to add and manage team members
When you first log into higg.org you will land on the home page. You can always go back to the home page by clicking the Higg Index logo at the top of the page.
Invite and manage users that have access to your account by going to the “My Team” tab
You will see the following views on the My Team page:
- Pending Invitations: users that you have invited into your account that haven’t accepted the invitation and logged in.
- Pending Approval: users who are requesting access to your account but haven’t been approved or declined yet.
- Invite New User: click to invite a new user to your company account. You will need to assign the user’s role as Admin or Editor:
- Admin: Admins can start, complete, and post modules, manage the account, invite new users, and manage sharing relationships. Each account can have multiple admins (as many as needed).
- Editor: Editors can only edit in-progress modules within the account. Editors cannot post or un-post modules or request or share a module.
Translating to Other Languages
Currently, the platform supports 7 language translations: English, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Turkish, Spanish and Italian.
However, please note that the module must be completed in English.
Managing Your Account(s)
If you click your name at the top right of the page, you will see a dropdown list of all accounts you have access to:
- Select the account you want to access and manage, and it will log you into that account.
- At the bottom of the list you will see links to Training Materials, Account Profile and User Profile.
- To log out of your account click “Sign Out”
- The “Add Account” feature to add additional accounts from your current account or add yourself to other accounts in Higg.org.
Click “Training Materials” to access Higg Index training materials on howtohigg.org such as higg.org platform guidance and demo videos, Higg BRM content training, and verification training.
Review and edit account information
- You can manage and edit the following information in Account Profile: account address, parent company and change account photo.
- Contact Higg Index support at support.higg.org if you need to request an edit to any of the following information:
- Account name
- Account type
- Organization type
- SAC Membership
- Users cannot edit the following information: Account name, account ID, Higg ID, SLCP facility ID, SAC membership, account type, organization type, affiliation. Only the support team can edit these fields, please file a support ticket if you need to make any edits.
Review and edit your user information
- You can edit your name and phone number
- Contact Higg Index support at support.higg.org if you need to request a change to your email address.
- You can subscribe or unsubscribe to system notification emails. If you uncheck the items on the email operation list, you will unsubscribe this type of system notification email.
Add Additional Accounts From Your Existing Account
This feature was released in December 2018 and allows users to add additional accounts from the existing account.
- Login to your existing account on Higg.org platform.
- Click your name at the top right of the page, if you are the admin of this account, you will see a dropdown list of all accounts you have access to. Then click “Add Account” button at the bottom of that list.
- Fill in the information for this new account under “Add Account” tab on this page and click the “Create” button once done. This account will be created successfully and you will be able to access the account immediately.
- Higg Index Support Team will review your account information as soon as possible. If your account is not eligible to be set up in Higg.org, the support team will deactivate your account and inform you via email.
Add yourself to an existing account :
If you want to join an existing account on Higg.org as an admin, you can search the account by name, address, or Higg ID and click “Join this account” button under “Join account” tab. So you will be an admin added to that account successfully. You will need to log out and log back to your account and reload the page to see the updates.
Contact Higg Index Support Team
If you need support, please click “Support” button on the right top of your account home page. It will direct you to a request form page. Please fill in that request form to submit a ticket. We will receive your request and get back to you as soon as possible.
This is the only channel you can contact our Support team.