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October 20, 2022

Higg partners with Bluesign, ZDHC to improve chemical management

This partnership aims to integrate more advanced data to help global brands and manufacturers improve chemical management, including elimination of toxic chemicals from upstream production process.

By Shemona Safaya

Higg, the sustainability insights platform for the consumer goods industry, announced it is developing partnerships with Bluesign and ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals) to accelerate the use of environmentally-safe chemicals among global brands and manufacturers.

The production of textile chemicals has a significant impact on the global environment. According to a recent report conducted by ZDHC, between 6-8% of all greenhouse gasses can be attributed to chemicals produced in the textile industry.

Individually, Bluesign, ZDHC, and Higg help consumer goods businesses improve how chemicals are used in their design and manufacturing processes. The use of hazardous chemicals in the production of apparel garments also harms garment workers who handle them and has the potential to cause serious adverse health impacts on the end consumer.

As part of the newly announced developing partnerships, the parties aim for more advanced integration of data for their customers in order to help textile manufacturers improve chemical management, reduce the risk of water toxicity, better understand and address human health impacts, and eliminate chemicals of concern from upstream production processes.

James Schaffer, chief strategy officer at Higg, said: “Reliable and universally consumable data is the best weapon we have for advancing sustainability performance as an industry. It’s not a battle we can fight alone. Partnering with Bluesign will allow us to help our shared customer base enrich their insights, make better chemical purchasing decisions to reduce the negative impacts of manufacturing on worker health and safety, and protect the environment through better resource management.”

He added: “Soon, customers will be able to take advantage of tighter integration between Bluesign and Higg assessments. At the same time, through our developing partnership with ZDHC we’ll be able to explore more powerful, scalable solutions for joint customers that need to improve chemical usage and wastewater treatment across their entire supply chain.”

Through their new collaboration, Higg and Bluesign intend to develop stronger data and services offerings for their customers to eliminate redundancies and support Bluesign’s impact services.

The companies will explore how mutual customers can share data between the platforms, with Bluesign facilities gaining access to Higg’s facility tools. In addition, Higg will work with ZDHC to bring ZDHC’s facility improvement resources to Higg customers, including the Resource Efficiency Module, which is focused on GHG emissions, water, and pollution.

Higg looks forward to cross-mapping its data with both ZDHC and Bluesign to enable factory customers to complete Higg’s FEM assessments without re-entering their data.

‍Frank Michel, executive director of ZDHC, said the common objective of supporting responsible manufacturing practices, sharing technology and expertise would drive the industry to ‘circular practices’ which would ultimately minimise fashion’s environmental footprint.

‍“Focusing on chemical management is essential to creating a cleaner supply chain and tackling climate change,” said Daniel Rufenacht, CEO of Bluesign. “It is important to partner with all stakeholders to drive change and mitigate the effects of harmful chemicals across the product life cycle. Our partnership with Higg is a further step toward that.”

Higg states this new phase in these relationships reduces industry fragmentation and accelerates environmental performance in the supply chain. To leverage the expertise of leading parties in the chemical management space, more robust industry cooperation is needed, such as the closer ties between Bluesign and ZDHC.

This year in June, ZDHC combined its expertise in sustainable chemical management with TMC’s knowledge of science-led fibre fragmentation (previously referred to as microfibre release) to help companies and supply chains better control microfibres in wastewater during textile manufacturing which includes apparel and footwear products.

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