Why Change is Needed
Between 2019 – 2022, Higg FEM verifications grew at an exponential rate. While this growth has helped the industry to embrace a unified environmental assessment tool for their supply chains, it has also brought challenges. Verifications are conducted in more than 80 countries worldwide, and the rapid growth rate has underscored the imperative need for improvement in data quality.
The SAC is committed to upholding the highest data quality standards, and in evaluating the current process, it is clear that there cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach. We spoke with several members to identify what needs to change and have evolved the verification process to be more credible, flexible and scalable to better fit the needs of our members, and the industry.
Core Verification in CY2024
The CY2024 Higg FEM verification cycle will be narrowed to a core set of questions covering Foundational Environmental Performance and Essential Quantitative Metrics. Through introducing the core verification approach, we aim to ease the transition to next year’s verification cycle by mitigating cost increases, maintaining verifier availability, and addressing quality concerns.
Foundational Environmental Performance
“Foundational Environmental Performance” refers to the essential good practices that a business must demonstrate in order to operate responsibly and sustainably. The specific criteria for including FEM questions in the Foundational Environmental Performance subset are:
Critical legal requirements: the regulatory compliance requirements that are common across most jurisdictions, and
Basic and foundational management practices: the foundational elements of a management system necessary to identify and prevent the most critical environmental risks.
Essential Quantitative Metrics
These are questions or REFIDs which provide data points that help to calculate a facility’s total GHG emissions and water consumption.
Verification Program Fees
Until May 2023, Worldly had collected the fee associated with the Higg FEM verification. Manufacturers could purchase both the FEM module for completion and the vFEM directly on Worldly’s platform. However, to better align with standard industry processes, Worldly has transferred this responsibility to the SAC. From now on, verification bodies will manage the collection of this fee on behalf of the SAC. It's important to note that this isn't the introduction of a new fee; instead, we aim to apply this existing fee in a more transparent manner. The amount of this fee will remain unchanged at $300 USD.
It is also important to note that this change also affects the equivalent vFSLM module fee, which will no longer be charged on the Worldly platform and is not transferred to the SAC, resulting in net savings for facilities undergoing FSLM verification.
Verification Outcome: Verified Scores
With FEM verification now only covering only a subset of the full FEM assessment, verified FEM scores will become only partially verified FEM scores. The SAC is assessing alternative metrics that align with the proposed core verification approach that could potentially support the brand's internal processes. Please stay tuned for more details.
Found an error or think something is missing? Let us know so we can enhance this article. Your feedback is valuable to us!