The Higg Index is a web-based tool for measuring the environmental impact of sports, outdoor clothing, fashion clothing and footwear across the industry value chain.
It was developed jointly by many actors in the industry and is now maintained by the "Sustainable Apparel Coalition", whose members already represent about half of the global textile industry.
Currently the Higg Index is a purely voluntary, internal industry instrument that provides a practical unified methodology for compilation of all relevant sustainability data and evaluation, so that the companies themselves can recognize improvement potential for product development, in production, and also in their own companies.
The Higg Index is currently being tested in an EU pilot project on products’ environmental footprints (Product Environmental Footprint PEF). In the future, it will be used as a consistent seal of quality for sports, outdoor and fashion products by which consumers can recognize when making purchasing decisions whether and to what degree the product is sustainable.
VAUDE has been involved in the Higg Index since its very inception, from its development to the rigorous testing of various modules. We are currently using the Higg Index internally to identify important areas of activity within the product life cycle as well as for the development of our own criteria for greener products (see Green Shape).
The Higg Index works with a global database online in which various textile supply chain stakeholders, such as fabric manufacturers, producers and brands, can post their environmental and social standards as well as their annual data on important resources such as energy, chemicals etc.
This helps us achieve greater transparency about the actual environmental impact of the industry. Another benefit is that the actors become aware of specific benchmarks for their own sustainability performance and realize where they stand respectively when compared to the rest of the industry. As (until now) a purely internal industry instrument, a first important step has been made: to motivate the actors with the help of their own measures to raise the industry's standards as a whole.
Many of VAUDE's suppliers are already working with the Higg Index database. As they continue working with this index, their resource consumption and waste will also become transparent to VAUDE and we will be able to determine in concrete terms the effects of VAUDE product manufacturing. Then we will also be able to more specifically report on water, energy and raw material consumption, waste and wastewater and emissions in our supply chain.