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San Francisco-based tech company Higg Co has revealed plans for its new Open Data Portal, which is designed to bring transparency to the growing sustainable fashion segment of the apparel industry. Slated to launch next year, the portal on the Higg platform will provide data behind the social and environmental responsibility claims made by brands, retailers and manufacturers, giving consumers the ability to validate the truth of companies’ statements for the first time.
Introduced at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit last Tuesday (October 13), Higg Co, the tech company built by over 250 fashion industry stakeholders, will be launching a new portal aimed at validating product sustainability claims by companies across the apparel supply chain. Developed in partnership with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), the Open Data Portal offers access to real data behind statements made about a product’s environmental and social impact – data that consumers and third-party users will be empowered with for the first time.
The new tool is powered primarily by the Higg Index, a platform that accurately measures and scores a company or product’s sustainability performance. It will also be integrated with other data providers to build the most comprehensive view of a product’s real impact that is available to the public.
As a consumer, you’ll soon be able to go on that journey for the first time. As an NGO you’ll be able to explore the detail behind claims and as a research or data scientist, you’ll be able to access new data sets.Jason Kibbey, CEO of Higg Co
“For years, we’ve heard that consumers want sustainability information they can use to shop in a way that aligns with their personal values. As a consumer, you’ll soon be able to go on that journey for the first time. As an NGO you’ll be able to explore the detail behind claims and as a research or data scientist, you’ll be able to access new data sets,” explained Jason Kibbey, CEO of Higg Co.
Despite shoppers indicating strong interest in more sustainable products on the market, they have rarely been offered verifiable information and facts to make the most informed decisions.
“Data like this has never been available at this scale. Whether customers want to support brands that prioritize wages for workers or focus on reducing water consumption or lowering carbon emissions, meaningful data is essential to making better choices and incentivising industry change. The Higg Open Data Portal is an important first step in delivering sustainability transparency publicly at a global scale,” said Kibbey.
“Seeing Higg transparency on product level pages will become the signal of a brand or retailer’s commitment to sustainability and transparency and the gateway to data that invites accountability and trust,” added Amina Razvi, the executive director of the SAC.
“The goal of the Higg Index is to provide tools that everyone can engage with, to improve their performance and scale up transparency regardless of your budget or available tools. Accelerating transparency efforts allows us to accelerate action on the industry’s most pressing issues.”
The goal of the Higg Index is to provide tools that everyone can engage with, to improve their performance and scale up transparency regardless of your budget or available tools. Accelerating transparency efforts allows us to accelerate action on the industry’s most pressing issues.Amina Razvi, Executive Director of the SAC
Higg Co recently partnered with some of the biggest leaders within the apparel industry, including Europe’s largest e-commerce fashion retailer Zalando, who has made the Higg Index survey mandatory for all its brands, from Calvin Klein to Alexander McQueen. Giants such as H&M and PHV have also tested the consumer-facing Higg Index.
Looking ahead, the Higg Co chief executive says that the Open Data Portal will continually evolve after its launch in 2021. With digitalisation making it possible for the company to see how consumers and third-parties interact with the data available, Higg Co believes it can gather insights to make gradual improvements in line with user demand, such as whether there is greater interest in a specific aspect of sustainability by fashion brands.
“We have so much to learn and fully expect that the platform will evolve as we better understand user needs, as the data improves, and as new data becomes available,” Kibbey said.
Lead image courtesy of Zalando.