We know that no single company or organization can solve today’s toughest sustainability challenges alone. We have a long history of advocating for a system-wide approach to tackling sustainability challenges within the apparel and footwear industry.
One challenge is the patchwork of systems and tools for measuring sustainability. Measuring is critical, but having so many different methods makes our whole industry less transparent and less effective.
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) — with its membership of more than 170 leading brands, retailers, suppliers and academic institutions — is an ideal collaboration platform for leading the way to a universal set of performance measurement standards. It’s come a long way since 2009 when 14 companies, including Nike, came together to develop an industry-standard framework for measuring social and environmental performance in the apparel and footwear value chain.
The result was a suite of online assessment tools known collectively as the “Higg Index” that standardize the measurement of environmental and social impacts of apparel, footwear and home textiles products.
The SAC has made significant progress toward developing and scaling the Higg Index. We’re committed to making the Higg Index the industry standard. We also believe the focus on creating an all-encompassing industry tool is an important aspect of creating a platform for faster and more efficient integration.
In addition, we will continue our active participation to support further innovation, development and evolution of the SAC.
We are proud to be creators in this space. In 2012, Nike created the original Materials Sustainability Index before sharing it with the SAC to be used as an industry tool. For nearly a decade, Nike has used material scores from its original version of the MSI in the company’s internal product line management system, a way of scoring all the material we use. This helps product creation teams choose better materials based on a single number.
Annually we assess the environmental footprint of our entire value chain, from raw material extraction to logistics, owned and operated facilities, and end of life (disposal of shoes and apparel).
Historically, we used a variety of databases and tools to get the data for the raw materials and materials processing analysis. We’re now planning to use Higg MSI to describe environmental impacts of materials in all our reporting. We believe the Higg MSI provides more consistent quantifiable material environmental impacts. It also articulates the differences in material creation including the raw material content and method of make (e.g., yarn or fabric formation). For example, the Higg MSI describes the environmental impacts of different types of raw material sources for polyester fabric including virgin polyester from fossil fuels, chemically recycled polyester from used textile material, and mechanically recycled polyester from plastic bottles.