Higg, Bluesign and ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals) have discovered the power of three in their shared quest to promote the use of environmentally safe chemicals in global textile and apparel production.
Higg, a three-year-old public-benefit corporation and sustainability insights platform that helps companies measure their environmental, sustainability and governance success, announced this week that it is partnering with Bluesign and ZDHC, two leaders in sustainable chemical management. The partnerships will further expand the available data on Higg’s platform. This additional information will help textile manufacturers improve chemical management, reduce the risk of water toxicity, better analyze and address human health impacts and eliminate harmful chemicals from their production processes.
“Reliable and universally consumable data is the best weapon we have for advancing sustainability performance as an industry,” said James Schaffer, Higg’s chief strategy officer. “It’s not a battle we can fight alone. Partnering with Bluesign will allow us to help our shared customer base enrich their insights, make better chemical purchasing decisions to reduce the negative impacts of manufacturing on worker health and safety and protect the environment through better resource management. Soon, customers will be able to take advantage of tighter integration between Bluesign and Higg assessments. At the same time, through our developing partnership with ZDHC we’ll be able to explore more powerful, scalable solutions for joint customers that need to improve chemical usage and wastewater treatment across their entire supply chain.”
Through their new alliance, Higg and Bluesign will explore how mutual customers can share data between the platforms, with Bluesign facilities gaining access to Higg’s facility tools. In addition, Higg will work with ZDHC to bring ZDHC’s facility improvement resources to Higg customers, including the Resource Efficiency Module, which is focused on greenhouse gas emissions, water and pollution.
“Higg is one of the most comprehensive sustainability platforms in the textile industry,” said Frank Michel, executive director, ZDHC. “With our common objectives of supporting responsible manufacturing practices, sharing technology and expertise we drive the industry to circular practices. This ultimately minimizes fashion’s environmental footprint.”
“Focusing on chemical management is essential to creating a cleaner supply chain and tackling climate change,” said Bluesign’s CEO Daniel Rufenacht. “It is important to partner with all stakeholders to drive change and mitigate the effects of harmful chemicals across the product life cycle. Our partnership with Higg is a further step toward that.”
Bluesign and ZDHC were already working together prior to the announcement. Bluesign is a ZDHC contributor and acts as a third-party verifier, approving the ZDHC MRSL Conformance Levels of chemical products. The two also develop methodology and criteria together.
Currently, more than 19,000 Bluesign approved chemicals have achieved the highest ZDHC MRSL Conformance Level achievable, Level 3. These chemicals have also been added to the ZDHC Gateway, a database dedicated to enabling safer choices of chemical products for the textile, leather, apparel and footwear industry.
The three organizations have their work cut out for them. According to a June 2022 report conducted by ZDHC, between 6 and 8 percent of all greenhouse gasses can be attributed to chemicals produced in the textile industry.