Higg Index could be banned in Norway

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After the country’s consumer authority raised concerns over ‘greenwashing,’ the Higg Index Sustainability Profile, which seeks to assist buyers to choose garments based on their environmental impact, could be banned in Norway.

The Norwegian Consumer Authority is now determining whether the use of a consumer-facing label for individual products violates Norway’s Marketing Act.

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), which owns the Higg Index suite of tools, and the Higg Co, its technology partner, would be hurt by such a decision.

The Higg Index is a suite of tools for the standardized measurement of value chain sustainability, and it is central to the SAC’s mission to transform businesses for exponential impact.

It is comprised of a core set of five tools that together assess the social and environmental performance of the value chain and the environmental impacts of products, including the Higg Facility Environmental Module (FEM), Higg Facility Social & Labor Module (FSLM), Higg Brand & Retail Module (BRM), Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI), and Higg Product Module (PM).

Across topics such as water use, carbon emissions, and labor conditions, consumer goods brands, retailers, manufacturers, governments, NGOs, and consumers can use the Higg Index to inform their individual sustainability strategies and drive collective industry transformation. We developed the methodologies of the Higg Index over ten years using the latest scientific research, in partnership with SAC members, consultants, stakeholders, and industry experts.

Norway’s important Consumer Authority will use Norrna as a test case. It could lead to a complete ban on selling clothes in the Norwegian market that incorporates Higg-backed marketing claims. In the coming weeks, a decision on the matter will be made. The most high-profile brands to announce that they will test the profiles were Amazon, H&M, and Zalando. C&A, Tommy Hilfiger, Columbia Sportswear, and Helly Hansen are rumored to be interested in using them.

Norway’s Consumer Authority voiced many issues in a letter to Norrna.

It gives the example of various organic cotton T-shirts available on the norrna.com /nb-NO website. The Higg Index is intended to communicate the climate and environmental features of the items.

When compared to a t-shirt made of conventional material, the index shows a percentage reduction in the t-climate shirts and environmental footprint in four major areas: global warming, fossil fuels, water use, and water pollution.

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