Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM) Version 3.0

The Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM) is a sustainability assessment tool that standardizes how facilities measure and evaluate their environmental performance, year over year.

The Higg FEM is designed to:

  • Measure and quantify the sustainability impacts of a facility
  • Reduce redundancy in measuring and reporting sustainability performance
  • Drive business value through reducing risk and uncovering efficiencies
  • Create a common language and system to communicate sustainability to stakeholders

The Higg FEM Measures:

  1. Environmental Management Systems
  2. Energy / GHG
  3. Water Use
  4. Wastewater
  5. Air Emissions
  6. Waste
  7. Chemicals Management

 Higg FEM Consists of three sections:

  1. Continuous Improvement Sections:
  • Know your sources
  • Know major drivers of use
  • Baseline your performance
  • Set targets and action plan
  • Demonstrate reductions
  • Demonstrate leading practice
  1. Pollutant Limits
  • Know your sources and volumes
  • Know quality of pollutants (permit/standard)
  • Control quality / take specific actions
  • Demonstrate leading practice (best available
  • equipment, aspirational standard)
  1. Management Sections
  • Have right staff in place
  • Adhere to the rules (regulations, laws, brand requirements)
  • Have long-term, holistic strategies and action plans in place
  • Take specific management actions (e.g., storage, handling, maintain equipment, etc.)
  • Demonstrate leading practice (e.g., engage upstream and with community, innovation, deep traceability)

The Higg Environmental Management System (EMS) section requires you to:

  • Identify staff responsible for coordinating environmental management activities and ensure technical competence
  • Identify significant environmental impacts associated with current operations
  • Set a long-term environmental management strategy
  • Develop a system to ensure compliance with all laws, regulations, standards, codes and other legislative and regulatory requirements
  • Continuously maintain all factory equipment
  • Engage facility leadership and workers on environmental strategy and performance
  • Engage with subcontractors and upstream suppliers on environmental performance using the Higg Index
  • Engage with local stakeholders on environmental performance improvements
  • Mostly Yes/No questions
  • Some “Partial Yes” answer options in this section (guidance in the question hint and How to Higg guide)
  • Some supporting documentation uploads are required for answering “Yes” or “Partial Yes” to a question – required uploads will be marked with:

The Higg Energy and GHG section requires you to:

  • Track all energy and fuel sources and report quantity used in the last calendar year
  • Identify which factors contribute most to energy use on site (e.g., machines, processes, or operations that use the most energy)
  • Set a normalized baseline for energy use, such as “80 MJ per unit of production in 2016”
  • Set normalized targets for energy reduction, such as “Reduce energy used per unit of production by 70% in 2020.”
  • Set an action plan with specific actions and strategies to achieve energy reduction targets
  • Demonstrate energy reductions against the baseline, such as “Last year we used 60 MJ per unit of production which is a 25% annual reduction.”

The Higg Water section requires you to:

  • Track all water sources and report quantity used in the last calendar year
  • Identify which factors require the most water use on site (e.g., machines, processes, or operations that use the most water)
  • Set a normalized baseline for water use, such as “20 cubic meters per unit of production in 2016”
  • Set normalized targets for water reduction, such as “Reduce water used per unit of production by 70% in 2020”
  • Set an action plan with specific actions and strategies to achieve water reduction targets
  • Demonstrate water reductions against the baseline such as “Last year we used 15 cubic meters per unit of production which is a 25% annual reduction.”

The Higg Waste section requires you to:

  • Track all hazardous and non-hazardous waste streams
  • Report the volume generated and disposal method for all waste streams
  • Segregate, properly store, and train workers to handle all hazardous and non-hazardous waste streams
  • Forbid open burning and dumping of waste on-site and properly control any onsite incineration
  • Set normalized baselines for waste generated (e.g., generated 20 kgs of domestic waste per production unit in 2016) and disposal methods (e.g., landfilled 80% of domestic waste in 2016)
  • Set normalized targets for waste reductions and improvements to disposal methods
  • Set an action plan with specific actions and strategies to achieve waste reduction targets
  • Demonstrate waste reductions against the baseline such as “Last year we generated 16 kgs of domestic waste per unit of production which is a 20% annual reduction since 2016.”
  • Leading practice: Divert at least 90 percent of all discarded materials from landfills, incinerators and the environment
  • Leading practice: Upcycle waste by transforming waste materials into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.

The Higg Wastewater section requires you to:

  • Track quantity of wastewater generated from industrial and/or domestic operations (not applicable for factories with only domestic wastewater)
  • Report all wastewater quality parameters that were found to not meet permits or industry standard(s), such as the ZDHC Wastewater Guideline, in the most recent quality test
  • Report name and quality results from the offsite wastewater treatment plant (if applicable)
  • Describe backup process if regular treatment fails (if applicable)
  • Ensure proper sludge disposal (if applicable)
  • Report whether your site reuses and/or recycles process wastewater as process water (if applicable)

The Higg Air Emissions section requires you to:

  • Track quantity of emissions from facility operations and refrigeration
  • If you use refrigerants on-site you will be asked to specify which refrigerants are used. These refrigerants will factor into your GHG emission calculations.
  • Track quantity of emissions from production processes
  • List control devices / abatement processes and monitoring frequency for operating and refrigeration emissions.
  • List control devices / abatement processes and monitoring frequency for production emissions.
  • Specify achievements of advanced performance in Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Sulfur Oxides (SOx) and Particulate Matter (PM)
  • Specify whether your facility has a process for modernizing equipment to improve air emissions.

The chemicals management section will ask about basic and advanced practices in the following areas:

  • Chemicals management policies, compliance procedures, and commitments
  • Employee training and communication
  • Chemical procurement and purchasing practices
  • Chemical handling, use, and storage practices
  • Chemical inventory management
  • Emergency Response Plan (ERP), accidents and spills remediation plan
  • Product quality and integrity
  • Chemicals and process innovation