SGS has teamed up with Target, one of the world’s leading retailers, as part of a global drive by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) to improve global labor conditions.
Answering calls from governmental, private and non-profit organizations such as the European Commission and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the SAC is leading the standardization of sustainability assessment throughout supply chains. The SAC has already succeeded in aligning environmental assessment with the Higg index Facilities Environmental Module (FEM). The FEM V3 is currently being piloted by the industry as the reference tool to assess the environmental performance of facilities. The goal of the tool is to drive improvement.
SGS has partnered with Target to develop the first onsite verification tool and protocol of the Higg FEM V2. This tool was adopted by the SAC and is currently being piloted with approximately 200 facilities. SGS is the leading service provider in this initiative, providing technical support for the development of the tools and utilizing its unique network of experts to organize site visits and help facilities implement performance improvement plans, as well as provide training and coaching.
Sustainability and product assessment, benchmark performance measures and scaling of best practices are all part of today’s methodology, thanks to the work of hundreds of sustainability experts. Practical online tools feature questions generated by stakeholders and experts based on industry best practices.
SGS believes that the industry can only be successful through collaboration. It is in this mindset that SGS experts strive to find solutions to technical issues. They acknowledge that an audit is not driving improvement if it is not part of a larger plan that includes training and coaching activities. Often times, resources are wasted due to audit redundancy. Reducing audit redundancy should help facilities reallocate resources to practical improvements.
SGS is proud to contribute to the alignment of the practices on environmental assessment and is excited to provide the same level of commitment to align the social and labor practices. The SAC is willing to achieve the same best practices with social labor performance assessment in order to reduce audit redundancy.
A big part of raising global labor and environmental standards is transparency. That is why the Higg Index is open source and available for download to members as well as non-members including the general public. Today, SAC has 49 members, representing a third of all clothing and footwear sold worldwide. Both SGS and SAC have been recognized for their leadership in sustainability, SGS by the Dow Jones Sustainability World and Europe Indices (DJSI) and SAC with the C.K. Prahalad award.
Industry-wide change can only come if companies across the globe are held to the same standards.
“One brand cannot change the industry, but all brands working together can,” commented SGS Global Environmental Services Manager, Sustainability Services, Xavier Vital.

About SGS Sustainability and Supply Chain Services

Product sustainability services from SGS help clients measure and increase their environmental and social responsibility with practical approaches. SGS delivers services to enable clients to reduce their impact and properly communicate regarding sustainability.
For further information, please contact:
Emilie Viengchaleune-Phan
Global Marketing Coordinator
SGS Consumer and Retail
29, avenue Aristide Briand
94 111 Arcueil Cedex
t: +33 1 41 24 87 49

About SGS

SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognised as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 80,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,650 offices and laboratories around the world.