A newly launched analytics tool aims to help brands get a handle on the environmental impacts of their supply chains—specifically within manufacturing facilities not managed by the labels themselves.
Sustainability insights platform Higg this week debuted software that provides visibility into supplier performance, enabling brands to peer into their partners’ operations and assess them on criteria like water usage and greenhouse gas emissions.
Ecological impact is a complex issue, according to Higg CEO Jason Kibbey, and the organization is “committed to helping customers move beyond gathering and measuring and to putting data at business leaders’ fingertips to inform swifter decision making.” The platform will help brands and buyers to quickly pinpoint both risks and opportunities to improve energy sourcing, chemical and waste management, water sourcing and wastewater practices, he added
With a recent United Nations climate change report making it clear that companies must accelerate efforts to reduce impact, Higg’s new tool gains potent relevance, Kibbey said.
“The demand for environmental data has never been stronger, but measuring and reporting is not the end game,” he added. “Businesses need synthesized, contextualized data to identify and manage impact with usable insight into where they’re performing well and where they need to focus efforts, both for individual improvement and industry-level change.”
Higg, which boasts more than 45,000 users including “tens of thousands of manufacturing facilities and hundreds of global brands,” will provide analytics charts through the platform that are divided into three sections. Software users will be able to easily toggle between their factories’ total environmental performance, water and greenhouse gas impact, and improvement opportunities. According to Higg, the interface has been designed for accessibility to non-experts looking to save money and resources without getting lost in the weeds.
“It’s helpful to be able to see how much of our water or energy is coming from a particular source,” Cerian Atwell, senior sustainability manager at Marks & Spencer, said of the program. The retailer, which reported selling one in every 10 pairs of jeans in the U.K. earlier this year, has taken on water-intensive denim production as a major point of focus. In February, the company introduced new sustainability standards for denim that center on better practices for sourcing cotton, finishing and dyeing, and is working with the Better Cotton Initiative and Jeanologia on cotton procurement and water management. “Having a high-level view of the data in these dashboards makes it easier for us to see the big picture. We can also see the risk areas quickly and work with our facilities to make improvements,” Atwell added.
Some beta customers have already begun using the tool’s data to evaluate their broader corporate sustainability efforts, the group said, using the insights to help measure targets that will help them become certified B Corps. The year-over-year data is designed to help brands report on ongoing progress and improvement, allowing for the tracking of goals over time.