July 8

The Controversial Way Fashion Brands Gauge Sustainability Is Being Suspended

By Amanda Shendruk

The Higg Index, one of the fashion industry’s most well-known sustainability rating systems, came under sustained criticism this month. A New York Times article called out the index as too favorable to synthetic materials made from fossil fuels; the Intercept dug into the metric’s controversial ties to fast fashion; and the Norway Consumer Authority banned its use (link in Norwegian) in marketing to consumers.

Now the organization that oversees the ratings is mothballing its consumer-facing portion, and expediting an independent review of the system’s data and methodology.

What is the Higg Index?

The Higg Index is a widely used suite of tools created for the fashion industry to assess the sustainability of the materials used in their products. It was created in 2011 by a group of industry heavyweights, including H&M, Walmart, Nike, Levi’s, and Patagonia. It is maintained by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and their technology partner Higg. The SAC has about 250 member brands.

Photo courtesy of IQRemix.

Source: Quartz Africa (link opens in a new window)

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