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What is Higg FEM 4.0 and its Updates?

Quality InsightsQuality Insights Volume 18April 18, 2024

An explanation of Higg Facility Environmental Module 4.0 and how it is an improvement on its predecessor.

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) has launched the Higg Facility Environmental Module (FEM) 4.0 tool.

A major industry milestone

The update marks an industry milestone in sustainability reporting to meet pressing environmental and industry standards.

Part of the Higg Index suite of tools, Higg FEM 4.0 is the leading assessment for environmental performance in the consumer goods industry. It informs manufacturers, brands and retailers about the environmental performance of their individual facilities, empowering them to scale sustainability improvements.

Higg FEM 4.0 provides a clear picture of environmental impacts across energy management systems (EMS), energy and greenhouse gases (GHGs), water, wastewater, emissions to air, waste and chemical management, and helps users identify and prioritize performance improvements.

What are some of the updates?

The changes will enable more accurate data collection and verification to support improvements across key environmental issues, such as Cascale’s 45% reduction in industry-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 target.

As well as improved usability, Higg FEM 4.0 delivers better data quality. A new anomaly detector will flag inconsistencies. The latest tool provides more accurate reporting, enabling better environmental assessment of the industry.

Higg FEM 4.0 offers a deeper look at crucial environmental issues, such as groundwater and soil contamination, to help the industry make improvements at a global scale.

The update has targeted questions more relevant to a facility’s processes, weeding out irrelevant questions.

The new tool also aligns with leading global standards, including the GHG Protocol, Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals’ (ZDHC) Roadmap to Zero, to drive collective action toward common environmental goals.

Higg FEM 4.0 also includes a new Core Verification program that narrows the scope of questions verified to Foundational Environmental Performance and Essential Quantitative Metrics. This streamlines the verification process to focus on the most important questions to achieve Cascale and members‘ strategic plans.

Years in the making

Higg FEM 4.0 reflects several years of work by the then SAC and its members to incorporate stakeholder feedback. The insights helped to shape the FEM framework, scoring methodology and question content, among other aspects.

The tool was also tested by over 400 users who provided feedback within the platform. The result is a tool that meets relevant industry standards and protocols.

How can SGS help?

We are an approved Higg FEM Verifying Body (VB) and Training Body (TB). With years of experience across numerous Higg Index tools and longtime Cascale/SAC membership, we have supported the organization and many members to achieve social, labor and environmental improvements in their operations and supply chains.

Our experts have carefully studied Higg FEM 4.0 and are ready to support your journey. Visit our Higg FEM web page for more information.

About SGS

We are SGS – the world’s leading testing, inspection and certification company. We are recognized as the global benchmark for sustainability, quality and integrity. Our 99,600 employees operate a network of 2,600 offices and laboratories around the world.

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