The gap between the fashion industry and consumers just got smaller.
Higg Co, the technology company behind The High Index, a suite of tools that enables players in the apparel industry to measure and score their sustainability performance, is doubling down on efforts to create a transparent supply chain with a soon-to-be-launched platform it developed in partnership with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC).
Announced on Tuesday at the digital Copenhagen Fashion Summit, the Higg Open Data Portal will provide the public with access to sustainability data at a global scale, meaning consumers, stakeholders and public officials alike can search a specific garment and get detailed information on factors like its water usage, workers’ wages and more.
The portal offers a clear snapshot of a brand’s supply-chain processes, delivering on an industry-wide call for better transparency at an unprecedented scale.
The portal will incorporate findings from its FEM tool into the scoring chart it provides users. The chart will show a breakdown of carbon emissions, renewable energy, water usage and Higg score, and include an overall environmental and social rating for each individual product.
“The Higg Open Data Portal is an important first step in delivering sustainability transparency publicly at a global scale,” said Jason Kibbey, Higg Co CEO.
Earlier this year, Higg was praised for developing fashion sustainability measurement tools, but at the same time was criticized for its failure to provide transparency or incentives for improved progress throughout the industry. A four-year study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, funded by the Laudes Foundation, described the Higg Index in general—and the Higg Facility Environmental Module (FEM) in particular—as a “scale without a diet.”
Expected to launch in 2021, the portal integrates with other data providers and offers the industry one source of truth, allowing users to easily compare brands and products and make purchasing and partnership decisions accordingly.
“For years, we’ve heard that consumers want sustainability information they can use to shop in a way that aligns with their personal values,” Kibbey said. “Data like this has never been available at this scale. Whether customers want to support brands that prioritize wages for workers or focus on reducing water consumption or lowering carbon emissions, meaningful data is essential to making better choices and incentivizing industry change.”