Four Chinese factories operated by the Crystal Group have been assessed against the latest version of the Higg Index sustainability measurement tool for the apparel supply chain.

The updated Higg Index 2.0 was unveiled last month, and is intended to help firms measure - and ultimately reduce - the environmental and social impacts of their global production.

It allows them to evaluate material types, products, facilities and processes based on a range of environmental and sustainability rankings. 

The Hong Kong based manufacturing giant joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) last February, and says it plans to adopt "this innovative tool" more widely across its apparel supply chain.

As well as the four Crystal factories in China, three more factories in China and Vietnam are working to complete Higg Index 2.0 assessment by this year, the company told just-style.

"We anticipate speedier and wider adoption of the updated Higg Index 2.0 within the group and expect our new factories in Cambodia and Bangladesh to employ it for sustainability measurement by 2015," adds Catherine Chiu, head of corporate quality and sustainability department, Crystal Group.

The new web-based version of the Index lets users share sustainability data across the entire supply chain for what is thought to be the first time.

Crystal Group, one of Asia's largest garment manufacturers, aims to put sustainability at the heart of its business.

The company is currently on its second set of five-year environmental targets, which run from 2013 to 2017. Among its goals are sending zero production waste to landfill, and reducing carbon footprint and energy consumption per garment by 6% and 5% respectively. It also wants to cut fresh water consumption per garment by 10%, and increase the use of recycled water to 50%.