- California-based sustainability platform Higg Co has rebranded as Worldly, according to a news release.
- The newly named platform will host the Higg Materials Sustainability Index, which came under scrutiny last year when its consumer-facing pilot transparency program was flagged by the Norwegian Consumer Authority for greenwashing claims.
- The index was initially developed by the nonprofit Sustainable Apparel Coalition to measure the sustainability of a garment, but its consumer facing program was paused last year, and is currently undergoing an independent review.
The NCA scrutiny came after claims that fast fashion retailer H&M and outdoor brand Norrona were “greenwashing” their environmental credentials on their clothing products, because the Higg data didn’t fully measure a garment’s lifecycle, and only accounted for a small portion. Both companies stopped using the program after NCA threatened sanctions.
In the meantime, SAC hired independent agency KPMG to review and give recommendations on how to better understand and process its data, because the program had not undergone a review in five years. Those recommendations are expected to be made public sometime later this year.
Worldly now says it is strictly a software platform for the SAC’s Higg Index. In announcing its name change and continued support of Higg, Worldly also launched a new tool it says will speed up the process of more clearly identifying environmental impact data from the three tiers of apparel manufacturing.
A company representative for Worldly acknowledged that its rebrand was two-fold in nature.
“We rebranded because we are expanding beyond our origins and our former brand name, Higg, was shared with SAC’s proprietary methodology, the Higg Index, which we license,” said the spokesperson in an email. “Our new name should also help clarify confusion; either between the two organizations or between the platform and the Higg Index tools, which are part of our platform offering.”
Worldly’s platform hosts data on supply chain, products and operations, which the company says helps users understand their impact and compliance position. It is the exclusive licensee of the Higg Index.
“Traceability in fashion remains nascent, especially beyond tier 1 suppliers,” according to an email from Kearney consumer and retail partner Brian Ehrig.
About half of the world’s 250 largest fashion brands disclose their tier 1 suppliers, 30% disclose their tier 2 suppliers, and 12% disclose select raw material suppliers, according to the report.
Ehrig said fashion brands stand to benefit from the expansion of services being touted by Worldly. “In my estimate, nearly every apparel business that cares about sustainability has been involved with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and a huge number have adopted the Higg Index, so it makes sense for Worldly to leverage those relationships and its history to pursue something new. This kind of access could really be an accelerator for them.”
As of last August, there were more than 150 SAC members using the Higg Index, including major brands such as Lululemon, New Balance, Nike, Patagonia, Puma, Under Armour, Tommy Hilfiger, H&M and ASOS.