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Sustainable Apparel Coalition Launches Tech Venture to Scale Higg Index

Higg Co. will provide the trusted technology industry needs to be able to implement the Higg Index at scale; while the SAC will continue to focus on driving sustainability measurement and improvements in the apparel, footwear and textile industry.

Today, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) launched Higg Co., a public benefit company that will develop the technology that delivers the Higg Index — a holistic suite of sustainability assessment tools used globally by textile brands, retailers and manufacturers to measure the environmental and social performance of a company or product.

"Patagonia and Walmart co-founded the SAC ten years ago with the proposition that standardized measurement of sector impact that was deep and transparent would unleash forces in the marketplace that would incentivize companies to reduce environmental impact and increase social justice," said Rick Ridgeway, VP of Environmental Initiatives and Special Media Projects at Patagonia. "At Patagonia, we're looking forward to working with Higg Co. as a customer to scale positive impact throughout the entire value chain."

The SAC says it will continue to focus on the multi-stakeholder collaboration that drives social and environmental sustainability measurement and improvements in the apparel, footwear and textile industry.

"The SAC's vision of an industry that produces no unnecessary environmental harm and has a positive social impact remains as vital as when we started," said SAC Interim Executive Director Amina Razvi. "Spinning out the technology capability enables both organizations to focus on accelerating progress towards that vision."

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Higg Co. will be led by former SAC CEO Jason Kibbey and be headquartered in San Francisco, CA. In addition to hosting the Higg Index tools, Higg Co. will also offer custom solutions to allow companies to integrate measurable data directly into their internal systems, better enabling decisions throughout the enterprise. 

"With the spinout of Higg Co., we will provide the industry the trusted technology it needs to be able to implement the Higg Index at scale," Kibbey said. "Our customers rely on strong technology to drive the social and environmental improvements that will reshape the apparel and footwear industry, and other industries in the future."

Higg Co. is majority-owned by the SAC and funding is provided by impact investment firms Titan Grove and Buckhill Capital, and Sanjeev Bahl of Saiburg B.V.

"As a for profit, well-capitalized company, Higg Co. will facilitate a faster and more efficient rollout of the Higg Index across global value chains to drive transformative, lasting change," said Titan Grove Chairman Jeff Tannenbaum.

In August, the SAC partnered with GlobeScan on a study to develop communication guidelines and materials for engaging consumers on the Higg Index. GlobeScan is working with the SAC and its members to develop a robust, global approach to identifying what consumers want to know about the sustainability credentials of products, brands and manufacturers, and how different channels and content can guide them in their purchase decisions.


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