For frequently asked questions about life cycle assessment (LCA), the Higg MSI, or MSI Contributor, please refer to the Higg MSI FAQ.
Q: What is the purpose of the Higg Product Module?
A: Available on the Higg platform, the Product Module is a sustainability assessment tool that considers a product’s environmental impact from creating materials all the way to product end-of-life. It calculates the impact of a product’s full lifecycle with a consistent methodology to enable companies to develop more sustainable products.
Q: How does the Higg Product Module work?
A: The Product Module gives companies a full view of a product’s comprehensive environmental impacts. It considers environmental performance in design, materials, manufacturing, packaging, logistics, product durability, care, and end of use of a product’s life cycle. The Product Module includes features to help companies consider circular strategies. Users can also assess Scope 3 category emissions with the Higg product tool to understand how they may reduce their carbon impact.
The tool provides consistent and comparable environmental impact results that can be analyzed and benchmarked against company portfolios. And it provides a streamlined score based on robust data that can pave the way for end user and consumer communications.
Q: Who can use the Higg Product Module?
A: Brands and manufacturers can use the Product Module to assess the environmental impacts of the products they manufacture and sell. The insights the Product Module offers enable supply chain professionals to understand how they can make improvements to product sustainability. Product Module insights can also be shared with consumers to help them understand the environmental impacts of products they purchase.
Q: How much does it cost to use the Higg Product Module?
A: Users can choose from two options to purchase the Product Module:
1) Create a free account on the Higg platform through the Basic Plan, and purchase access to the Product Tools. This provides full access to the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (including life-cycle impact assessment data) and the Product Module. Basic access includes 250 Materials Sustainability Index units and 25 Product Module units. The cost varies based on company’s revenue:
a. Under $100M: $2,000/year
b. $100M-$1B: $7,500/year
c. $1B+: $13,500/year
2) Upgrade your Basic Higg service plan to Essentials. This provides access to all of the basic tools and functionalities of the Higg Index, including facility tools, the brand and retail tool, the materials tool, and the product tool. This plan also includes 500 Materials Sustainability index units and 50 Product Module units. The cost of the Essentials Plan varies based on company’s revenue:
a) Under $20M: $2,500/year
b) $20M-$100M: $5,000/year
c) Companies with more than $100M in revenue may need to become members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition to subscribe to the Essentials Plan. Please contact us for more information.
Q: What kinds of products can I assess with the Higg Product Module?
A: The Product Module can assess full life cycle impacts of apparel, footwear, home textile products, and other consumer goods such as furniture, backpacks, and toys.
Q: How do I use the data insights from the Product Module?
A: With insights from the Product Module, designers and developers can understand the environmental impacts of the products they’re creating. Sustainability professionals can make adjustments to areas such as design, manufacturing processes, and logistics to reduce the environmental impact of a product. Sustainability analysts can also use Product Module results to benchmark and measure the environmental impact of product portfolios over time.
Q: What is the Product Environment Footprint project in Europe?
A: The Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) is a new method for measuring product sustainability performance developed by the European Commission in cooperation with companies and sustainability experts. The aim is to improve the validity and comparability of the environmental performance evaluation compared to existing methods.
Q: How is the Higg Product Module aligned with the Product Environment Footprint (PEF) Project in Europe?
A: As corporate sustainability goals evolve, consumers and regulatory bodies expect the fashion industry to be more transparent. Brands need data that paints a full picture of their impact. The product tool was developed with these expectations in mind and can help companies prepare for anticipated legislation. It is the closest tool to the future Product Environmental Footprint method for measuring product sustainability developed by the European Commission. For organizations with an EU presence, the Higg product tool is designed to evolve and will conform with the future EU PEF Apparel & Footwear Methodology.
Q: How can I use the Higg Product Module to calculate my Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions?
A: The Product Module can calculate the Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions from the following categories of the GHG Protocol:
- Users’ purchased goods (Category 1 in the GHG Protocol)
- Upstream transportation and distribution (Category 4 in the GHG Protocol)
- Downstream transportation and distribution (Category 9 in the GHG Protocol)
- Waste generated in operations (Category 5 in the GHG Protocol)
- Use of sold products (Category 11 in GHG Protocol)
- End-of-life treatment of sold products (Category 12 in GHG Protocol)
Q: How do I create a Bill of Materials if I don’t measure materials by weight?
A: If you don’t measure materials by weight, you may use relevant measurements, such as yield, yard or meter measurement units, to create a Bill of Materials. Product Module users can create custom materials in the Higg Materials Sustainability Index and enter Yield information under the Units of Measure section.
Q: How are product lifetime and end of life featured in the Higg Product Module?
A: The Product Module provides a full assessment of a product’s environmental impact – from materials selection to a product’s end of use. The Product Module assesses environmental impacts from resource extraction (or cultivation) to material manufacturing, product manufacturing, shipping logistics, retail, use, product quality (duration of service), and its end of life.
Q: How does the Higg Product Module consider circularity?
A: There is emerging interest in circularity and demand for end of use consideration at the product level. The Product Module includes features to consider circular strategies, from assessing a product’s recycled material content to evaluating previously used products and considering the useful longevity of a product’s life.
Recycled materials and previously used products (i.e. secondhand products that only need refurbishment) are modeled using the cut-off approach. This means that new materials and products that are on their “first life” are allocated the full manufacturing impacts. The Product Module measures the impacts of the circular actions that have been implemented instead of focusing on what may potentially be implemented. Once a material or product has reached its end of life and is recycled or refurbished, only the impacts of recycling and refurbishment are included in the subsequent material or product. This means that companies receive credit when they’ve actually taken the steps to recycle a garment.
The Product Module also considers the useful longevity of a product’s life. Quality parameters determine whether a product is designed for a longer usable lifetime. If repair programs are available, this also extends the usable lifetime of a product in the Product Module.
Q: How is ‘Own distribution’ defined for ‘product sold through your own distribution’?
A: Own distribution represents the percentage (by unit count) of the product that is sold through your known distribution channels. This means that you know the energy and water use in the DCs and retail locations, and that you control the logistics from DC to retail, and DC to customers (for online sales). For example, if you know which DCs the products get shipped to but don’t control anything afterwards, it is all unknown distribution (from DC onwards). If all distribution of this product is done by dealers or 3rd party logistics, your answer should be 0%.
Q: Should I enter packaging materials on the Bill of Materials (BOM) or on the Packaging section?
A: It depends how you have set up your BOM. For example, a shoebox could be considered on-product or not depending on your brand’s BOM setup. On-product packaging that has already been included in the BOM should stay in the BOM (ex: hang tags). For other additional packaging you can use the packaging section (ex: plastic bag for e-commerce). The important thing is to include all packaging and to avoid double counting.
Q: Why does having a rewear program increase the impact score for all 5 categories?
A: In the Higg Product Module we offer the user to see both absolute impacts and per use impacts. If a product is used for a longer time, then the absolute impacts of that product increase because it has more care cycles. However, it results in a lower “per use” impact since the full impacts are split over a higher number of customer uses achieved by the rewear programs.