The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) today launches the Higg Index Design and Development Module (DDM). Along with the release last month of its updated Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) - a cradle-to-gate scoring tool that measures and communicates the environmental performance of thousands of materials used in creating apparel, footwear and home textile products - the DDM is the latest tool in the Higg arsenal aimed at empowering product designers and developers to make sustainable choices at the earliest stage of apparel, footwear and textile prototype design.
“Product designers and developers’ choices can influence over 80 percent of the environmental impact created by a product,” said SAC CEO Jason Kibbey. “Empowering them with credible information to make better choices in the early stages of product creation can benefit the people and communities where the products are made, consumers, and our environment as a whole.”
Designers have the most freedom to minimize eventual environmental impacts of the finished product at the earliest stage of the design process. The data collected through the Higg DDM, which replaces Higg’s beta Rapid Design Module, helps steer them toward selecting lower-impact materials, using more efficient construction techniques, and considering the complete life cycle of the product.
After completing a simple product assessment, the Higg DDM provides members with a single design score, making it easy to compare design concepts and make quick decisions before production. The Higg DDM provides useful benchmarking and analytics that allow users to compare products or defined groups of products to each other, to company averages, and to industry averages. Using the Higg DDM encourages continuous improvement by teaching designers and developers where they have the most control over the impact, and by giving rapid feedback on how to improve their score.
“At Brooks, we are always looking at ways to improve our impact on the environment and communities where we run. The Higg DDM makes it possible for us to connect our product sustainability focus areas into a single tangible score so we can engage our product design team more directly with our sustainability goals,” said David Kemp, Sustainability Manager at Brooks Running Company. “With the scientifically driven MSI at the foundation of the tool, the DDM helps steer our product design teams towards more sustainable design choices that reduce our impact on the earth.”
The Higg Product Tools include the MSI, the MSI Contributor, and now the DDM. Each tool helps measure product environmental performance at different stages within the product-development cycle, from initial prototype to sourcing raw materials to final design. SAC members have access to all Higg Index tools as part of their membership dues. Non-members can explore the Higg MSI at product.higg.org.
In August, SAC opened use of the Higg suite of tools to non-member small and medium-sized (SME) brands and retailers through a special license. The coalition, which has over 180 apparel, footwear and home textile company members, expects that increasing the number of SMEs utilizing its tools and resources will bolster reporting and impact a wider spectrum of the supply chain.