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Higg Facility Environmental Module Verification (Higg FEM)

Verify the environmental performance of your garment or footwear manufacturing facility

Verify the environmental performance of your garment or footwear manufacturing facility

What Is Higg Index Facility Environmental Module (FEM)?

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is the apparel, footwear, and textile industry’s leading alliance for sustainable production. With that vision in mind, the SAC developed the HIGG Index Facility Environmental Module (FEM) was developed by the SAC to offer insights to manufacturers, owners, and retailers of their individual facilities to support them in augmenting sustainability improvements across the supply chain. This is a sustainability self-assessment tool that standardises how facilities measure and evaluate their environmental performance, year over year.

Some of the benefits of the HIGG Index Facility Environmental Module are as below:

  • Quantify the environmental impact of textile /apparel /garment/ Leather - footwear leather goods/consumer goods manufacturing facility
  • Reduce redundancy in measuring and reporting sustainability performance 
  • Drive business value by reducing risks and uncovering efficiencies
  • Create a common language for communicating about your sustainability measures/initiatives to various stakeholders
Recognized by all members of the SAC, the HIGG FEM Index covers the below mentioned seven key areas of a business’s sustainable performance as per international best practices:
  • Environmental management system (e.g. ISO 14001, ISO 20400)
  • Energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (e.g. ISO 50001, SBTi and ISO 14064)
  • Water use (e.g. ISO 14001, ISO 46001)
  • Wastewater/effluent handling (ISO 14001, Zero Liquid Discharge, ZDHC and Road To Zero)
  • Emissions into the air (e.g. Carbon Footprint -GHG protocol, ISO 14064 and Carbon Neutrality-PAS 2060)
  • Waste management (e.g. ISO 14001, Circular Economy)
  • Chemicals management (e.g. MRSL/RSL compliances, GHS, CMS, ISO 20400, etc.)

HIGG INDEX FEM VERIFICATION PROCESS

The Higg FEM (Facility Environmental Module) verification process is a means to ensure the credibility and accuracy of the self-assessment completed by facilities using the Higg FEM. The HIGG verification process involves reviewing the answers to the self-assessment and determining their accuracy through an on-site assessment conducted by a third- or second-party SAC-approved verifier. Here is an overview of the Higg FEM verification process:

  • Verification Introduction: Verification ensures that all parts of the Higg self-assessment are accurately completed, giving the self-assessment the credibility and accuracy required to share it publicly. The verifier is responsible for validating the accuracy of the assessment.
  • Higg FEM Verification and Quality Assurance Protocols: The Higg FEM Verification Protocol outlines the verification mindset, details on onsite and offsite verification, person-day guidance for conducting verification, and other important details. The Higg FEM Ethics Integrity Protocol outlines how ethics investigations are conducted and provides contact details for reporting ethics issues.
  • On-site Assessment: The HIGG verification process involves an on-site assessment conducted by the verifier. During the on-site assessment, the verifier reviews the facility's operations, practices, and data to validate the accuracy of the self-assessment.
  • Data Validation: The goal of Higg FEM verification is to validate the collected data for accurate Higg scoring, maximising certainty, and minimising risk. The verified data and scores provide trusted information on the facility's environmental performance.

WHY SHOULD A HIGG FEM SELF ASSESSMENT BE VERIFIED?

TÜV SÜD supports companies as an independent third-party verifier of HIGG Index FEM verification. As an organisation, we are committed to promoting sustainability and transparency in your supply chain. Our experienced lead verifiers have the most appropriate skills for evaluating your HIGG FEM self-assessment. 

There are some advantages which HIGG FEM verification offers are as below:
  • Standardize and improve communication with the key stakeholders including customers and suppliers
  • Identify areas of improvement and priorities across the supply chain
  • Develop a clear road map for improved performance year-on-year

BENEFITS OF A HIGG INDEX FEM VERIFICATION

The benefits of a Higg Index FEM (Facility Environmental Module) verification include:

  • Increase credibility and accuracy: Verification ensures that the data provided in the FEM self-assessment is credible and accurate. This helps companies and facilities gain trust and confidence in the information they share publicly.
  • Comparability and consistency: Verification improves the consistency and comparability of Higg data. It ensures that the assessment process produces consistent and accurate outcomes.
  • Trusted information: Verified data provides companies with trusted information about their environmental and social impacts. This information is valuable for making informed decisions and driving sustainability improvements.
  • Industry-wide transparency: Increased participation in verification improves industry-wide transparency. It allows companies to benchmark their performance against others and identify areas for improvement.
  • Understanding of environmental impact: Verification provides facilities with a clearer understanding of their overall environmental impact. It helps them identify areas where they can make changes to reduce their environmental footprint.

TÜV SÜD SUPPORTS ORGANISATIONS WITH HIGG FEM SELF ASSESSMENT VERIFICATION 

TÜV SÜD supports companies as an independent third-party verifier of HIGG FEM verification. As an organisation, we are committed to promote sustainability and transparency in your supply chain. Our experienced lead verifiers have the most appropriate skills for the evaluation of your HIGG FEM self-assessment.

OUR HIGG FEM VERIFICATION SERVICES

TÜV SÜD offers Higg FEM verification services, which help facilities understand their overall social and environmental impact. The verification process ensures that facilities accurately complete all parts of the Higg FEM self-assessment, giving their self-assessment the credibility and accuracy required to share it publicly. TÜV SÜD conducts authorised verification of Higg FEM self-assessment results, enabling facilities to develop and maintain a sustainable and responsible supply chain.

  • Desktop/Offsite verification – conducted offsite by a qualified TÜV SÜD General verifier/chemical specialist verifier (before preferring an offsite verification, the facility should obtain the confirmation from relevant business partners that “they will expect to complete an onsite verification by verification body”) 
  • Onsite verification – a more robust review, conducted by TÜV SÜD verifier/chemical specialist verifier who will visit the facility.

This year-on-year verification ensures that the organisation continually improves its reduction of wastes (Bio/non-Biodegradable/Hazardous), energy consumption, water consumption, GHG emissions, and Cost of Production per unit of production.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

  • What is the Higg FEM verification protocol?

    The Higg FEM verification protocol is a means to verify that a facility has accurately completed all parts of the Higg FEM self-assessment, giving the self-assessment the credibility and accuracy required to share it publicly. The verification is conducted by a third- or second-party SAC-approved verifier who is responsible for validating the accuracy of the assessment. The Higg FEM verification program is not a pass/fail audit but rather a means to verify that the facility understood and answered the FEM self-assessment correctly.

  • What does Higg FEM stand for?

    The Higg FEM stands for Higg Facility Environmental Module. It is a sustainability assessment tool that standardises how facilities measure and evaluate their environmental performance. The Higg FEM provides facilities with a clear picture of their environmental impacts, helps them identify and prioritise opportunities for performance improvements, and assesses various aspects of environmental management, such as energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, water use, and waste management.

  • What are the parameters of Higg FEM Index?

    The parameters associated with the Higg Index FEM are:

    • Energy use and greenhouse gas emissions
    • Water use and wastewater management
    • Waste management
    • Chemical management
    • Air emissions
    • Environmental management systems
    • Biodiversity and habitat conservation
    • Social and labour management systems

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