Higg FEM: Scoring and Applicabilities

Higg FEM Scoring System
The scoring system of the Higg Index is designed to drive behavior changes. This means that points are only assigned to "yes" or "partial yes" answers for questions that drive actions, decisions and practices that lead to better sustainability outcomes.
What does my score mean?
FEM is a roadmap for continuous improvement, not an audit. This means that it is up to you to determine how to interpret your score – there is no failing grade! If you score 4 points to start, that is okay – the most important thing is that you can demonstrate an action plan to improve.
With that said, we recognize that having more context about what your score means is useful to help you better interpret your score. To enable this, FEM has an updated results view to demonstrate your level of achievement for each of the seven impact areas assessed (more information on the three levels of achievement is provided below).
After completing the Module, you will be able to have a better understanding of your facility’s environmental performance levels. You are recommended to use the three-level structure of the Module to guide your facility on how to improve environmental management on an ongoing basis. The points are less relevant than your achievement level.
FEM Assesses Seven Impact Areas
The Facility Environmental Module scores a facility on your performance across seven impact areas:
  • Environmental Management System
  • Energy / Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Water
  • Waste
  • Wastewater
  • Air Emissions
  • Chemicals Management

Each Impact Area is Comprised of Three Levels

Questions are built in a three-level structure (Levels 1, 2 and 3) which signifies general thresholds of good, better, best environmental practices:

  • Level 1 - Awareness and understanding of sources and systems
  • Level 2 - Setting targets and tracking progress
  • Level 3 - Leading practices

Sections are Weighted Equally

All sections are worth an equal portion (14.3%) of the total points assigned to the FEM Higg Index score. This is because there is no scientific consensus around how to compare the value of water consumption vs. say energy use.

Levels are Weighted Differently

Unlike sections, levels are not weighted equally. Higg weights Level 2 higher than the other levels because this is the level where actions, targets, and reductions are measured. The purpose of Higg is to drive action and impact. Therefore, we have weighted Level 2 with the most points to incentivize the behavior of taking action by setting targets and making actual reductions. Also, most factories are scoring at Level 1, so we would like to focus points on Level 2 to encourage advancements.

  • Level 1 is worth 25% of the total possible points. (Unless the applicability questions stop you at Level 1, then Level 1 is worth 100% of total possible points.)
  • Level 2 is worth 50% of the total possible points.
  • Level 3 is worth 25% of the total possible points.

Calculating points for each question

The number of points possible varies from question-to-question depending on how many questions are in the level. For example, if water use has five questions in Level 1, then each question will be worth 20% of the possible points for Level 1. If air emissions has one question in Level 1, then that question will be worth 100% of the possible points for Level 1.

You earn points based on your answer to each question:

  • For each “yes” answer, you receive full points.
  • For each “partial yes” answer you receive half points.
  • For each “no or unknown” answer, you receive zero points.

At the end of the module, your total points out of points possible are calculated and your resulting Higg Index score is the percentage of points possible that you achieved.


The new Higg FEM will include qualifier questions to ensure that you only answer questions applicable to your factory type. These questions are called “applicability tests”. You will be asked applicability questions at the start of four sections of the Higg FEM:

  • Water Use: are you a heavy or light user?
  • Air Emissions: do you have sources of outdoor or indoor air emissions?
  • Wastewater treatment: What type of wastewater do you produce and how do you treat it?
  • Chemicals: do you use chemicals in production processes or not?

Water Use Applicability

  • If you are a heavy user of water, you will answer all questions. If you are a light user of water, you only answer questions in Level 1. No matter which applicability category you fit into, your total water score will be 14.3% of your total FEM score.

Air Emissions Applicability

  • If you do not have any sources of emissions to air, you skip this entire section. Air will then be 0% of your total points and all other section weights will adjust accordingly.

Wastewater Applicability

  • Similar to chemicals management, you will not be able to skip the wastewater section. Instead, you will be asked different questions depending on how you treat your wastewater.

Chemicals Applicability

  • If you use chemicals in production, you will be asked all questions in all three levels. If you do not use chemicals in production, you will be asked a subset of questions in all three levels. Your questions will differ, but the scoring approach does not change. This is because chemicals management must happen at all facilities, there is no use case where it’s possible to opt out of chemicals management.

Scores will be presented as percentages of points possible. This is because the applicability tests mean that facilities will not all answer the same number of questions. By showing points in terms of percentage, we enable more comparability between results.


If you have questions or need support, please first review the training materials on  

If you cannot find the answer to your questions, click “Submit a Request” at the top of the page to submit a support request.





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