The Sustainable Apparel Coalition is spinning-off of a new for-profit unit that will focus on developing Higg Index technology and making it available for all Higg Index customers to use at a global scale.

The new Higg Co tech venture will “improve and enhance the experience of using the Higg Index and deliver technology for the robust Higg product roadmap ahead,” the SAC says.

The Higg Index is a suite of sustainability assessment tools used globally by brands, retailers and manufacturers to measure the environmental and social performance of a company or product. The SAC will focus on bringing members together to learn from each other and drive performance improvement, as well as focus on the Higg Index Product Roadmap, including developing questions and content in the self-assessments and verified assessments in the Higg Index suite of tools. The SAC will also manage the Higg Index Verification Program.

Higg Co will be led by Jason Kibbey, former SAC CEO, and the SAC will be led by interim executive director Amina Razvi.

“The SAC’s vision of an industry that produces no unnecessary environmental harm and has a positive social impact remains as vital as when we started,” says Razvi. “Spinning out the technology capability enables both organisations to focus on accelerating progress towards that vision.” 

In addition to hosting Higg Index tools, Higg Co will also offer custom solutions to allow companies to integrate measurable data directly into their internal systems, better-enabling decisions throughout an enterprise. 

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“With the spinout of Higg Co we will provide the industry with the trusted technology it needs to be able to implement the Higg Index at scale,” says Kibbey. “Our customers rely on strong technology to drive the social and environmental improvements that will reshape the apparel and footwear industry, and other industries in the future.”

Higg Co is majority-owned by the SAC and funding is provided by impact investment firms Titan Grove and Buckhill Capital, and Sanjeev Bahl of Saiburg BV.

“As a for-profit, well-capitalised company, Higg Co will facilitate a faster and more efficient rollout of the Higg Index across global value chains to drive transformative, lasting change,” adds Jeff Tannenbaum, chairman of Titan Grove.   

Henrik Jones, general partner of Buckhill Capital, adds: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure, and the Higg Index provides the standardisation and measurement the industry needs to drive lasting change.”

Rick Ridgeway of Patagonia, one of the founding organisations of the SAC along with Walmart, adds that the proposition was a “standardised measurement of sector impact that was deep and transparent would unleash forces in the marketplace that would incentivise companies to reduce environmental impact and increase social justice.”