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SAC Adds Materials Sustainability Index Contributor to Higg Index

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) wants to minimize the way materials impact the environment.

The SAC on Monday released the Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) Contributor, a new Higg Index tool suite addition that allows experts and suppliers to submit apparel, footwear and home textile material data into the Higg MSI. The MSI Contributor will grow SAC’s materials sustainability data and inform design, development and sourcing decisions for SAC’s 180-plus apparel brand members.

Assessing materials’ impact on chemistry, climate change, eutrophication (a form of water pollution), land use, resource depletion and water scarcity are major benefits of the Higg MSI. Apparel industry members with the Higg MSI will be able to access information about materials in a transparent, unified manner.

“Sustainability measurement can only be achieved when the industry is speaking a common language,” said SAC CEO Jason Kibbey. “With the introduction of the MSI Contributor, we further the depth of that language, providing a baseline for thousands of materials that designers and the rest of the industry can use to make informed product decisions.”

MSI Contributor submissions will be submitted to the Higg MSI, which publicly lists scores for common materials in the apparel industry. To start, 79 scored base materials (including cotton and polyester) and 225 production specifications (including organic/bio-based fibers, weaving, performance finishes) will be placed into the Higg MSI. It will eventually include more than 4,000 scored materials.

With the MSI contributor, SAC wants to assist apparel industry members in making better decisions about materials. In the process, clothing brands will be able to cut costs and engage in more sustainable supply chain processes.

“As a participating member of the SAC, Invista has been keen to ensure that the methodology used to assess material and product impacts is fair, unbiased and representative of actual environmental impacts associated with manufacture and consumer use of textile products,” said Invista’s senior R&D engineer, Francis Mason. “This fundamental tool improvement will enhance the SAC reputation and Higg tool adoption.”