In a move to improve supply chain methods and broaden its mission, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, starting Wednesday, will open up use of its Higg Index to nonmember small- and medium-sized brands and retailers.

The Higg Index is SAC’s proprietary suite of tools that provides a common approach for measuring and evaluating supply chain impacts. SAC said the decision immediately increases access and adoption of a common measurement standard and basis for improvements within the global apparel, footwear and home textile industries.

These small- and medium-sized companies can take advantage of a special license for full access to the Higg Index at and join the industrywide approach toward increased supply chain sustainability and transparency.

Important features of Higg Index access include universal industry standard assessments of a company’s environmental, social and labor sustainability performance; ability to connect seamlessly with supply chain and industry peers, driving much-needed transparency; best practice sharing through training documents, videos and webinars, and benchmarking of company and supply chain sustainability performance to that of the industry.

In increasing the number of small- and medium-sized companies participating in the Higg Index, the SME Access program will also bolster reporting and impact from a wider spectrum of the supply chain, increasing overall insight and value.

“Bringing small- and medium-sized enterprises together with our existing users on a single platform to increase inclusion and access to the Higg Index is absolutely critical to establishing a common, global approach to measurement and a necessary step toward our 2020 commitment of full industry transparency,” said Jason Kibbey, chief executive officer at SAC. “By providing a special licensing option to smaller brands and retailers, we can present affordable access to tools that unlock greater sustainability measurement and improvement in further tiers of the value chain.”

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition developed the Higg Index 1.0 in 2012 in order for brand companies, retailers, and manufacturers to share a platform of sustainability measurement and consolidate results into one common tool. The SAC released Higg 2.0 in November 2013 to its members and nonmember manufacturers to include more enhanced content and further enable the industry to scale the use of the index through a web-based tool.

As of July 1, 13,427 Higg Index assessments have been posted by 6,319 companies to empower brands, retailers and facilities to measure their environmental and social and labor impacts for a holistic overview of sustainability in the industry.

SAC consists of 180 apparel, footwear and home textile brands, retailers, suppliers, affiliates, nonprofits and academic institutions working to reduce the environmental and social impacts of products around the world.