New & FEM FAQ and Higg FEM Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Sections Covered:

  • Early Registration
  • Registration
  • Payment
  • Account / User Type
  • Module
  • Sharing
  • Training
  • Verification

Early Registration

Early Registration is now closed.

When can I register for

  • September 15 to October 31, 2017 — USD $85 per facility via the early registration form
  • November to December 31, 2017 — USD $100 for existing Higg user facilities via the new platform
  • December — USD $100 for facilities new to the Higg Index via the new platform
  • January 2018 — USD $150 per facility via the new platform

How long does early registration last?

Early registration will be open from September 15 to October 31, 2017. Early registration will end on October 31, 2017 and normal login and tool access will begin when the new launches.

What happens after I submit an early registration?

All account contact and payment information will be recorded, and the individual who submitted the early registration form will receive a coupon code and registration link via email when the new platform launches. The coupon code and link will allow the facility user to set up their account on the new platform without having to go through the payment step again.

What is the coupon code for?

When users register on the new platform, they will be guided through a payment step. At this step, facilities that completed the early registration form or paid after June 1, 2017 will enter the coupon code to confirm that they have already paid for 2017 access and will not need to enter payment information again. Please note that each coupon code is unique to one account and cannot be used multiple times. 

When will I get access to the new after submitting the early registration form?

All early registrants will receive an email with a coupon code and registration link to the new platform in November. 

Will I receive a registration confirmation after submitting the early registration form?

Yes, you will receive your registration confirmation including payment information by email after submitting the form. Please make sure to save this email as proof of payment for your account.


When can I register for

  • September 15 to October 31, 2017 — USD $85 per facility via the early registration form
  • November to December 31, 2017 — USD $100 for existing Higg user facilities via the new platform
  • December — USD $100 for facilities new to the Higg Index via the new platform
  • January 2018 — USD $150 per facility via the new platform

When will registration open for the new

Registration for existing Facility Accounts will run through the month of November 2017. Registration for brand accounts will launch in December 2017 and other account types will follow in January 2018.

How will I know it's time to register for the new platform?

All facilities that have had accounts on in the past will receive an invitation link by email to set up their new account in in November. In addition, SAC member manufacturers and facilities that paid on/after June 1 will receive a coupon code by email, so they do not need to pay upon registering for the new platform. Any new users who have never had a Higg account can request access by visiting in December and clicking "Request Access."


Can I use my old username/password to log in to the new

No. All users will have to set up a new username and password in the new once they register.

What should I enter for "Account Name" in the registration form?

In the new each individual facility will be set up as a separate account. There will no longer be "profiles." 1 factory = 1 account. So please enter the full factory name in "Account name" and make sure the factory name is listed the way it is recognized by your business partners. Please avoid acronyms/abbreviations (or include the full name and the acronym/abbreviation). If you had an existing account, you will be able to search for the facility in the search bar in registration — if you need to edit your account name please contact

How will Parent Companies be set up in the new platform? And will they need to pay?

Parent company will just be a field/tag entered in the registration form for a Facility Account (or edited in Account Settings), and will not be a separate account, therefore will not need to pay. The contacts from the parent company will need to be added to all owned facility accounts (but will still be able to do cross-analytics on all their facilities using the "parent company" tag).

What if I need to register for numerous facility accounts?

You will need to go through the registration process for each facility account. During the payment step you will have the option to pay for multiple facility accounts at once if you prefer. Once you register the first account, you will be able to click "Add Account" to register for the next account.

If I had an existing Higg account before, when can I expect to receive the registration link for the new platform?

The SAC will be sending invitation links throughout the month of November to anyone who had an existing account. We will be sending invites in batches throughout November, so the invitation email may come any time during the month. Existing account users will be able to search for their facility account name in the account search in the registration form.

What if I had an existing Higg account, what information will be transferred?

Your past account name, facility ID number, modules, and connections will be available in the new But you will need to re-enter account details (address, etc.) and set up all users in the account again.

Will the old facility ID number carry over into the new platform?

Yes, anyone who had an existing account in will have the same facility ID number as long as they select the facility from the account search in the registration form.

Why does the "Work Address" field not specify any requirements or standardized selection options? I would imagine this would make for many inconsistencies particularly when it comes to naming conventions.

The field will recognize items like city/country on the back end of the platform and track these in a standardized format.

Is there a one-page guide which can use shared as a resource on how to register?

Yes, there will be training guides for all steps of using the new platform. We will also be translating these guides moving forward. These will be posted on in December. Registration and payment guides will be emailed to all users in October and available on in November. 

Is it correct that SAC member manufactures will not be charged a fee and will be invited to the updated Higg FEM?

Correct, member manufacturers and any facilities they own do not need to pay for access. They will be emailed a unique coupon code for their facility accounts in November 2017. 

How do I know if I am an SAC member?

The definition of an SAC member is a company or organization that has a membership agreement with the SAC and pays annual dues for membership. More information on SAC membership can be found at and a list of all members is listed at the bottom of this page: 

If a parent company (an owner of multiple facilities) is an SAC member, will the fee apply to their additional accounts?

The fee will not be required for SAC Members and all their facilities; SAC will provide coupon codes for each member facility account.

What if a factory works with 10 different vendors. How will you ensure they are not duplicated?

We are addressing this in a few ways:

 a) there will be a facility account search in the registration form to search for existing facility accounts

b) Higg support will be approving all account registrations, so if we see someone is trying to create a duplicate account we will decline the registration and point them to the existing account.

c) If you notice any accidental duplicate accounts in the system please contact

What will happen to the old system?

The old system will be retired and not accessible after October 31 (verification included). However, we will be transferring Excel downloads of past data into the new platform so they will be accessible there (including verified modules). SAC also has a backup master export of all old data in case of urgent situations.

Do I need to become a member of SAC to use the Higg Index?

No, the Higg Index suite of tools are open to all. More than 7,000 facilities and brands already participate in the Higg Index. If you are a member of the SAC then you should have received a coupon code via email to receive free registration for Higg FEM (for all your facility locations).

What is the Higg FEM process?

Start with registration and review the How to Higg Guide. Once familiar with the materials, facilities may start the self-assessment. After completing, the facility should schedule an SAC-approved verification of the report. Once the facility's report is verified they can share it with all their customers (brands) on the platform. The facility can also take this time to learn from their results and start building action plans and strategies to improve their level achievement.

Other brands have asked my company to register. Should I register?

Yes, other brand customers may have asked you to participate in the FEM. This is by design; our industry is aligning on ONE tool that we can all benefit from. By utilizing a common industry tool and information we believe that this will reduce the audit/assessment fatigue and redundant requests from brand customers, giving suppliers the opportunity to invest time and resources into action and programs driving continuous improvement.


What does the facility access fee cover?

The facility access fee covers access for one facility account on the platform to start their 2017 Facility Environmental Module, share the posted module with business partners, and benchmark/analyze their results for the 2017 adoption cycle. The facility will need to pay again when they want to start the 2018 module cycle. 

Why is the facility access fee increasing and what are the dates and amounts of the increase?

With the new release of Higg FEM 3.0, we are improving the tool in order to add greater value to all industry partners, Higg FEM 3.0 will offer new features, increased applicability, and greater functionality on a brand new platform. With these improvements, the price for access will need to increase to continue to enhance, maintain, and support the tool moving forward. In order to continue the momentum on adoption and not create additional barriers for engagement, we will phase a gradual price increase throughout the coming months as follows: 

  • September 15-October 31, 2017 = USD $85 per facility via the early registration form
  • November 1-December 31, 2017 = USD $100 per facility via the new platform
  • January 1, 2018-December 31, 2018 = USD $150 per facility via the new platform

Where can I access the early registration form?

Only available until October 31, 2017:

Is the facility fee a one-time payment or an annual subscription?

A facility pays once every year to start a new module. They pay the first year through registration and gain access to the module, sharing, and benchmarking. Then starting September 1 of the following year, a facility will be able to pay to start their next year's module. They can pay any time after Sept 1 and payment will allow them to start their new module.

When will a facility need to pay again next year?

A facility will have the ability to pay to start their next year's module any time after September 1st of each year. Because payment is per module year, if a facility pays in April to complete their 2017 module, they will still be prompted to pay again to start their 2018 module after September 1.

If my company owns multiple factories, will I need to pay for each facility account? For example, if I own 5 factories, do I pay 5 times?

Yes, payment is required for each unique facility account, so if you own 5 factories you need to pay for all 5. On the registration form in the payment section you will see the option to pay for multiple factories at once by credit card or bank transfer.

Is payment required on September 1 of each year?

No - payment to start the next year's module can happen any time after September 1, but a module cannot be started without payment.

Will I still be able to access my 2017 data and do verification on my 2017 module after Sept 1, 2018?

Yes - access to 2017 data and benchmarking will not be interrupted after Sept 1st, and verification of the 2017 module can continue through the end of the year. On Sept 1st, the option to pay to access the 2018 module will begin (and can be paid any time after that whenever the facility is ready to start its 2018 module).

What payment methods can be used to process the facility access fee?

Upon registering a new account in you will be prompted to pay by credit card. This is the quickest and easiest payment method, and will allow immediate access to the platform. There will be also be an option to download an invoice to pay by bank transfer. Bank transfers will take one to two weeks to process, after which the user will receive a coupon code to enter the platform. There will also be a link to pay for multiple facility accounts at once by credit card or bank transfer. Checks are not accepted.

What if I already paid for facility access in 2017?

Any facility that paid for facility access on or after June 1 will not need to pay again to register for this year. These facilities will be emailed a coupon code in November to register their account without having to pay again. Any facility account that paid before June 1 will need to pay again through early registration (before Oct 31) or standard registration on in November (after receiving a registration link via email) to register and access their 2017 module.

Do facilities have to pay for access to

Facilities do not have to pay to access All the training materials on are free and have open access.

Can the facility post modules for different sites by using the same account? If the facility posts modules for their suppliers by using the facility's account, do they need to pay for each module?

Each factory site needs its own account and only one module can be posted for that account per year. Therefore payment is required for each factory each year to post a module.

Is the USD $85 access fee still valid through November 2018?

The USD $85 is only available via early registration until October 31, 2017. The access fee will increase to USD $100 from November to December 2017. It will increase to USD $150 in January 2018. 

Is there any fee for the verifier to assess accounts?


Why is there a price increase for manufacturers?

There are three reasons for the price increase: 
1. To cover costs associated with ongoing tool development, support and maintenance of new platform with new features, increased applicability, APIs, and greater functionality. 
2. To support development of full package materials: support, translations, How to Higg technical guidance, verifier and training program partners, Impact Knowledge Base,, and other materials and future enhancements. 
3. Fee is in line with other similar platforms

For manufacturers who were using Higg FEM 2.0 and want to stay on board for Higg FEM 3.0, do they have to renew their Higg access?

Payment occurs annually. The regular Higg access fee is $150 per year which allows us to maintain the platform license, maintain, training, and verification services.

Can multiple accounts be paid with one invoice?


Are you able to create and send us an invoice first to make the payment (similar to last year)?

You will be able to generate an invoice and pay by wire transfer, if you are not able to pay by credit card. This process may take a few weeks to process, but once payment is received you will be emailed a coupon code in order to set up your account.

How will refunds work?

Refunds will be provided in two ways: 
1. Credit card refunds will be immediately processed through Stripe (our credit card tool) 
2. Bank transfer refunds will be done manually by contacting SAC support. 

Would parent companies still need to pay to register themselves on the new Higg platform in order for them to link or connect with their factories, even though they will not be posting modules under that parent company account?

Parent companies will not be creating accounts on — they will be featured as a "tag" that connects accounts together, therefore they do not need to pay. The contacts from the parent account will need to register or have access to their facility accounts for benchmarking/analytics. 

Will SAC issue an official receipt for payments of the fee?

All payments for early registration will include a detailed receipt by email once paid. If you do not receive this email, please contact Once the new platform launches in November, an invoice will be generated for all payments and will be sent by email. The invoice will include a chop and signature by SAC.

Our manufacturers already use both the Facilities Environmental Module and Facilities Social & Labor Module. Is there one fee to use both modules or how does that work? Or is there a fee for Higg FEM, and then another fee for using Higg BSLM?

Facilities will pay the fee once (so depending on when they register, $85, $100, or $150) and they will be able to complete and post both the Higg FEM and Higg FSLM, once it's launched next year. They pay the fee per facility for access to both Facility Modules. Note that if they are a larger manufacturer with several different factories/facilities in different locations, they must have a separate account for each separate facility, and they pay the fee per account facility.

ZDHC is giving us 20 invitations to invite our supply chain partners to register on the gateway free, will the SAC also do the same?

The facility fee applies to all non-member facilities in

What happens if I enter the wrong address in the registration form?

The address entered in early registration does not matter. You will be able to re-enter it upon entering the new platform again.

Account & User Type

How are accounts set up in the new

In the new each individual factory will be set up as a separate account. There will no longer be "profiles" as there were in the old platform. 1 factory = 1 account. Facility accounts can be connected together by entering in a "Parent Company" in the registration form or via "Account Settings."

How will Parent Companies be set up in the new platform?

Parent company will just be a field/tag entered in the registration form for a Facility Account (or updated in Account Settings), and will not be a separate account, therefore will not need to pay. The contacts from the parent company will need to be added to all owned facility accounts (but will still be able to do cross-analytics on all their facilities using the "parent company" tag).

Will SAC talk to my IT security team?

We do not have the staff resources to do individual calls. We will instead provide office hours for IT staff that have questions. We encourage specific questions to be sent to us so we can provide answers here.

How do I integrate with my existing system?

All data can be exported into common export formats for integration into your business systems. In the future (2018 and beyond) we will support APIs. 

Will the old facility ID number carry over into the new platform?

Yes, anyone who had an existing account in will have the same facility ID number as long as they select the facility from the account search in the registration form.

How should vendors/agents who do not own facilities set up their accounts?

These types of accounts will select "other" for the account type in the registration form. "Other" account types will not start/post modules but still be able to request/view shared modules from their connections. Please note that "Other" Account Types will not be fully functional until January 2018. 

How do main vendors manage their self-owned factories together and use the connect function?

Each facility should create it's own account since each will be completing a facility module. In the registration form, the facilities can select their parent company. The individuals from the parent company will need to be added to all owned facility accounts (but will still be able to do cross-analytics on all their facilities using the "parent company" tag).

What are the different user roles and permissions?

There are three user roles within an account: admins, editors, and verifiers.
Admins: can manage account settings, invite new users into the account, start/post modules, request and approve connections, access benchmarking, etc. An account can have multiple admins (as many as you'd like)
editors: Can only view and edit an "in progress" module with the account. They cannot change account settings, see/approve connections or access benchmarking.

Verifiers: Can only view and verify posted modules within the account that they're invited to. They cannot view/change account settings, see/approve connections or access benchmarking.

Only the account admins can invite and set these user roles within their account. 

Can users have multiple roles?

Users cannot have multiple roles within one account, but a user can be part of many accounts and have a different role in each account. For example, I can be an admin in Facility A's account but an editor for Facility B's account.

Do the same user role functions still apply for users within brands and retailer accounts, as well as for brand modules?


Will a factory that is not owned by a vendor (e.g. a contractor) be able to be shared with multiple vendors they work with?

Yes, the facility can choose to either set up contacts from each vendor company as users within their account or simply share their posted module with the vendors.

How do we ensure that facilities are not entered in multiple times in the tool?

We are addressing this in a few ways:

a) there will be a facility account search in the registration form to search for existing facility accounts

b) Higg support will be approving all account registrations, so if we see someone is trying to create a duplicate account we will decline the registration and point them to the existing account.

c) If you notice any accidental duplicate accounts in the system please contact

Can a vendor create an account in and create a module for a contracted facility?

No a vendor cannot set up an account for a facility they do not own. The factory must set up it's own account.

What about vertically integrated companies, such as a brand that also owns factories. How should it register?

If you are a brand that owns facilities, you will need to create separate accounts for your brand(s) and facilities. As a user in each account, you will be able to login and toggle/switch between your brand and facility accounts. If all these accounts have the same Parent Company, you will be able to run cross benchmarking/analytics for all your accounts using the Parent Company filter. 

Is it possible to grant access to someone for one facility and not for another?

Yes. Each facility has its own account. 

Can the one factory have multiple parent companies?

Only one parent company can be selected.

What types of user would a brand have that is not a manufacturer?

Brands and facilities will have the same user types available to them: admin, editor, and verifier.

How do you manage an account for an owned factory vs. a contracted factory?

The contracted factory would manage their own account. You would share data through the sharing/connecting feature. For your owned facility you would set up a separate facility account for that particular site, specify the parent company, and complete the module.

Since the new and updated Higg FEM will only allow factories to complete a new module through the end of the adoption cycle (in May), will there be an Excel file available for brands to use and send to suppliers who are newly onboarded to the company, in order to simply become familiar with the Higg Index?

Facilities will only be able to complete and post a module during the cadence cycle, which this year will be from November 2017 to May 31, 2018. After the cadence close (from June 1, 2018 through October 31, 2018) facilities who are in the system will be able to review their module, benchmark performance and connect to customers. New facilities will be able to register in the system and connect with customers, but not start or post a new module until the new module (2018) is available. Right now, we are targeting the new module would be available on September 1, 2018. In Target's case, facilities onboarded during this time could be required to register on the platform and connect with you. Once the new 2018 module is released, they will be notified and can complete and post their module.

I am getting routed to the old site that does not allow me to log in on My concern is that this is what our partner facilities are also seeing when they click on the links.

Facilities will be sent links to start accessing the new platform in November. SAC member brands and retailers will be sent links to access the new platform in December. This will allow time for facilities to set up accounts first, so they do not receive redundant registration requests from both the SAC and member brands and retailers.

If there is a parent company that owns many facilities, should they register under one account, or individually?

Yes. 1 account = 1 facility site. In the registration form, you can set a parent company as a field. Each facility should set up its own account and identify its parent company. This will enable cross analytics across those accounts.


What is Higg FEM? 

The Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM) is a sustainability assessment tool that standardizes how facilities measure and evaluate their environmental performance.

• This facility-level self-assessment tool enables rapid learning through identification of environmental sustainability hot spots, existing level of performance, and improvement opportunities. 

• The Higg FEM informs organizations of their strengths and weaknesses, drives business value throughout the value chain by presenting opportunities for cost-savings and innovation, and catalyzes sustainability education and collaboration. 

At a high level, what are the main differences between Higg FEM 2.0 and Higg FEM 3.0?

The SAC will release detailed training materials about this after launch. At a high level, key changes include:

  • Updated content across all sections
  • Unit conversions
  • Autocalculated reductions from baselines and annual energy/water/waste data
  • Applicability tests for water, wastewater, air, and chemicals
  • Chemicals Management section developed collaboratively with ZDHC and OIA
  • Enhanced How to Higg guidance documentation for each question
  • Full package of resources to support the questionnaire, including translations, upgraded platform, impact materials, trainings, and verification.

Where can I download the Higg FEM 3.0 questions?

Final Higg FEM 3.0 questions can be found on SAC Connect here:

Please note that the SAC will make Higg FEM content publicly available after launch of the new platform. As with any technology development project, we may make small final tweaks in the final weeks before launch. Please do not share these questions outside of your company until the SAC releases the public version on our website. 

How to Higg and verification guidance to support these questions are in final stages of technical review. They will be posted to SAC Connect once available.

Which Higg FEM 3.0 sections have applicability tests?

Water, Wastewater, Air, and Chemicals have applicability tests:

  • Wastewater has 8 categories for various combinations of onsite/offsite treatment and domestic/industrial wastewater. 
  • Water has 2 categories: heavy/high risk water users and light/low risk water users. 
  • Air has 4 categories: no emissions to air, production emissions only, operation emissions only, and both operations and production emissions. 
  • Chemicals has 2 categories: use chemicals in production processes (e.g., leather tanning) and do not use chemicals in production processes (e.g., cut and sew).

Can I receive partial credit for in-progress work in my factory?

Yes. Several questions have "partial yes" answer options. This allows a facility to get credit for making progress. However, we did not allow for partial points where we were unable to objectively define what counts for "partial" achievement. This is because we've received feedback to reduce the number of subjective decisions that are left up to verifiers. All expectations must be clearly defined for both facilities and verifiers to follow.

Do I have to answer all Higg FEM questions or do I start with the basics first?

Facilities will need to satisfy requirements for Level 1 before moving on to Levels 2 and 3. This is because it's critical to have basics in place before moving on to advanced practices. Users gave feedback that the updated Higg FEM should show "where to start" if they are just beginning sustainability improvements. For example, a factory cannot demonstrate a water reduction if its water use is unknown. Or a facility cannot have chemicals traceability if it does not have an inventory. To satisfy requirements for Level 1, a factory must answer "Yes" or "Partial Yes" to a question.

How does this tool relate to other chemicals tools in the industry, such as Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) or the Chemicals Management Module?

The Chemicals Management section resulted from a collaborative effort to converge ZDHC's Audit Protocol and the Outdoor Industry Association's (OIA) Chemicals Management Module into one set of questions. We will continue to collaborate with these organizations to provide additional resources and technical guides to support these questions. 

Will my work on Higg FEM be saved?

Your module will automatically save your answers as you complete the questions. You do not need to click a "save button" to save. This is important to avoid losing work due to slow internet connections.

How does scoring work?

Please see document here:

More FAQs and trainings on scoring will be released during our Phase 2 launch of scoring in January 2018.

Why can I no longer see my score and weights per section as I complete the module?

Based on user feedback, we learned that live scoring motivates users to give answers based on scores rather than reality. We pressure tested the new approach, only showing scores and results once a module is completed. We received good feedback from this approach. Since showing results at the end enables more realistic responses and is cleaner to implement, this was included as a new feature for Higg FEM 3.0.

What is the purpose of the suggested upload?

Suggested uploads reflect requirements for verification. The purpose of these suggestions is to prepare a factory for verification by suggesting supporting documents that will be requested. 

How long does it take to complete a module? Facilities that require a language translation cannot start their assessment until their language is launched. Will they receive an extension for posting completed modules?

Module completion takes 3 to 6 weeks, on average. The SAC provides a 7-month completion timeline allowing sufficient time for module completion in any supported language. 

If a facility in China fills the Higg in Chinese, can the person in the Hong Kong head office read the filled module in English (if they cannot understand Chinese)?

No, we will not provide reverse translations in the first year. We have received feedback that Google Translate would be the best option but does not offer business-quality translations for many languages.

When a facility signs up to use Higg FEM 3.0, will Higg FEM 2.0 details for that same facility be available?

Yes, past Higg FEM data will be transferred into the new account.

Can a facility post modules for different sites?

Yes. One module should be completed for each facility site.

What if two factories are located in the same place and have only one water meter for two factories? Can we have one account for two factories?

Factories should setup one account and complete one module per site.

Definition of Facility Site: A single functional unit of an organization or a combination of units situated at one locality under one ownership, which is geographically distinct from other units of the same organization. Sites may be part of the same organization or independent legal entities. The facility site is: 
• Responsible for the transformation of a raw material into finished apparel and footwear for consumption
• An integral part along the apparel/footwear supply chain by providing and utilizing material for further processing
• Manufacturing, assembling, dyeing and finishing of a material, component, product along the apparel/footwear supply chain
• The facility in which a production or processing operation is taking place, or at which control or ownership of the raw material and products occurs.

Typical examples of activities at facility sites are:
• Apparel: ginning, spinning, weaving/knitting, dyeing/printing, finishing, packaging, etc.
• Footwear: cutting, embroidering, screen printing, lasting, buffing, curing, packaging, etc.

Why can't I select proper units for normalized targets and baselines?

Detailed scoring functionality, including auto-calculations and associated units, will be available in January 2018.

What if I want a language translation that is not on the list? 

The goal is to have all the languages launched by Q1 2018 so everyone has time to complete the Higg FEM and post it. We will prioritize additional languages after that and welcome member volunteers to support translation work.

Will Higg FEM 3.0 be available in Excel format like Higg FEM 2.0?

Higg FEM 3.0 will be available in PDF format for download on the website 

When is the deadline to complete data in Higg FEM 2.0?

The deadline has already passed. There will be no further access to Higg FEM 2.0 to submit old data. 

Are production volume and number of employees mandatory to input in permit sections?

Yes, they are mandatory.

In final question set, “Water Use” question number 4’s hints shows that “We RECOMMEND that you set normalized targets.” It does not specify that target must be a normalized one. However, normalized target will be auto-calculated. Does Higg FEM 3.0 only accept normalized target?

No they have the option to select whether it's a normalized or absolute target. If they select normalized, the tool will auto-calculate using their production unit set in Site Info.

Can facilities freely choose a metric (such as number of piece, length of fabric, weight, etc) to report production volume?

The units available in the Site Info production volume question are: Square yard, meter, kilogram, or unit (piece or pair).

Is production volume the only acceptable metric to normalize baseline, target and reduction? Are other metrics such as floor area and number of workers not allowed to used to normalize?

Normalized baselines, targets, and reduction will only be normalized by production unit for the 2017 adoption cycle. If we get feedback that factories would like these options to be expanded (e.g., to include number of workers or operating days), we can add additional options for the 2018 cycle. One thing to note is that the analytics dashboards will allow users to filter results by production unit, facility type, process, product type, number of workers, number of days, number of employees, etc to enable more granular comparisons.

Is there score deduction for environmental law violation as it is asked in “Site Info” section and it is not scored?

The only score impact is if they answer "No" to "Does your facility have a valid operating license, if required by law?" If they answer "No," they get a zero score for their module. All other permit questions are not scored.

Is OIA integrated in chemical section? What is the role of OIA Chemicals Management Module in Higg FEM?

The Higg Chemicals Management section was developed collaboratively by converging OIA's Chemicals Management Module and ZDHC's audit protocol into one section.

In pre-training, we were told that normalized target and baseline will be auto-calculated by the platform. Are all targets mandated to use the same production volume metric to normalize?

Yes. The factory will set their production unit in Site Info and that will be carried through all normalization questions in Higg FEM.

What information will be available in the platform? Will it allow names & emails from facility accounts that have shared with a brand?

The email will be visible if there is a sharing connection. 

When a module is shared what exactly is shown?

When a posted module is shared, you can see the full module with all the questions. You will be able to download that with an Excel or CSV file in the system.

How were all FEM language translations prioritized?

Translated languages were prioritized based on several factors, including number of users by country, number of requests in certain languages, number of posted modules per country, member feedback, and Higg usage growth in countries in the future.

Who is performing the translations and how are they paid?

We have contracted the translation work to an outside organization that was selected through our standard request for proposal (RFP) process and review and comes out of the SAC approved budget. We will have SAC members also performing an additional quality assurance review for each language to make sure we adhere to content intent.

Is normalization within the factory data or is it industry level normalization?

Factories will be able to enter their own normalized targets, but they will be required to use the production unit set in Site Info. The tool can auto-calculate progress against targets and reductions using tracking and baseline information. We will provide a set of training a materials on this with demonstrations to ensure it's clear. 

Can membership see the normalized calculation of their shared facilities?

When a posted module is shared, you will be able to see all data in the module. This includes normalized information.

What are the drop down options available for production volume. Is this from a list or can we include our own measure of production volume?

The production volume options include: square yard, meter,kilogram, and unit (piece or pair).

Is it possible to post an environment module from January 2018 to May 31, 2018?


What is the difference between a posted module and a verified module?

A posted module is a self assessment. A verified module is one that has been verified by an SAC-approved verifier.

What are the timelines to complete the Higg FEM?

The self-assessment must be completed no later than May 31, 2018.

Do we need to fill out one module for each brand?

No but if you have multiple facilities and environmental management staff for each of your brand customers, you may find it necessary to complete multiple modules. If you have further questions about how many modules you will need to complete please visit or email


How will connecting work on the new platform?

Connecting, which is now called sharing, will be simpler on the new platform. Now that all factories and brands have their own accounts, you can directly send and receive invitations to share modules to other accounts via the sharing page.

Are connecting and sharing the same thing?

Connecting is now called sharing because it refers to sharing modules. Accounts are no longer "connected." Instead, modules are "shared." You can choose to share your module with other accounts each year. You will now have the option to share modules for specific years rather than sharing your entire module history with any account you have accepted.

What information is shown through sharing?

Only your posted modules will be shared. You will be able to view all module answers and scores, as well as any supporting documentation that has been uploaded. 

What if I do not want anyone to see my module?

You can approve or decline any sharing requests. You are in full control of whether you share with another account and will never be forced to share data without your approval.

Will everyone with a login to my account be able to manage sharing?

Only users that are admins can manage sharing. Verifiers and editors will not be able to view or manage your sharing.

If I had an existing Higg account, will my connections remain?

Yes, your connections will be transferred into the new platform for past modules and you will be prompted to confirm you want to share with all those same accounts for the 2017 cycle.

What ways can we search for modules we'd like to have shared with us?

You can search for another accounts' modules by account name, Higg ID number, and/or email address. You will also be able to select which module year you would like shared with you.

Can I request modules in bulk if I work with hundreds or thousands of facilities?

Yes, you will be able to upload a .csv file that lists all accounts to which you would like to send sharing requests. When you upload your list of facilities, will match your list against Higg ID or account name and send a sharing request to all existing accounts. If you upload a factory that does not match an existing account, you will be prompted to send them an invitation to register.

Our account Admin asked me to share our module. Can the Admin grant the editor/verifiers permission to share? 

Roles cannot be edited. To grant sharing permission, the user must be updated to Admin.

Will scores be applicable for a longer period or yearly?

We recommend a yearly review. 


When will the facilities training be ready?

A package of online training materials will be ready on the new Higg training website, in November. This will include step by step guides, videos, training presentation decks, and recorded webinars. These resources are publicly available.

Will the webinar trainings be in multiple languages?

At this time, we will only have webinar trainings in English and Mandarin. 

What materials will be translated?

In December, the platform, FEM How to Higg Guide, and some step by step "getting started" guides will be available in the following 5 languages:

  • Simplified Chinese
  • Vietnamese
  • Turkish
  • Italian
  • Spanish*

*Spanish How to Higg Guide coming January 2018

Additional languages may be added in early 2018 

What is the How to Higg Guide?

The How to Higg Guide will provide comprehensive and detailed guidance for every question in the Higg FEM, including:

  • Intent of the question
  • Technical guidance and definitions
  • How this will be verified
  • Links to other relevant supporting resources/templates/organizations

Will there be demonstrations or videos of different features of the new, such as how to register, share a module, etc.?

Yes, we will post step by step instruction and include short videos on how to user the new platform - these will be available on the new training page at 

When will the approved trainer program launch?

A preliminary list of approved trainers will be posted on in November. These trainers will be able to start doing basic trainings on getting started with the new and Higg FEM, and how to prepare. The list will be expanded in January (posted to and approved trainers will begin to provide more in-depth training on Higg FEM content starting in January.

Will training providers be able to do extensive chemicals management training?

Approved Trainers will be able to train on Level 1 Chemicals Management in the Higg FEM starting in January. A trainer will be able to become a "Chemicals Specialist" by going through the ZDHC ATP program in order to train on level 2-3 chemicals management, and chemicals specialists will be clearly marked on the approved trainer directory.

How much of the training material is public, and how much of that is member only?

All training materials developed by the SAC are available to all Higg users. Some webinars may be live for SAC members only, but will be recorded and shared with all Higg users.

When will the first set of translations become available?

The platform, How to Higg Guides, and some basic "Getting Started" guides will be translated into five languages by December 2017. Additional translations may be completed in early 2018.

When will online trainings be announced?

The first series of training webinars are already scheduled and emailed to all Higg users on October 12, 2017. The training dates are:

  • Nov 7, 8:00pm PST
  • Nov 8, 9:00am PST
  • Nov 14, 6:00pm PST
  • Nov 15, 9:00am PST
  • Dec 12, 8:00pm PST
  • Dec 13, 9:00am PST

Is training available for non-members too?

Training webinars will launch in November for all Higg users to access.

Is fully public or for members only?

It is a public platform. Members and nonmembers can access it for free. 

Will there be training material I can use to train my colleagues or supply chain partners?

Yes, training presentation decks will be shared via that anyone can access.

Will the SAC moderate the cost of training offered by different partner training companies? For example: Suppler 1 = $100 USD / Supplier 2 = $85 USD

We will be working with a Training Program Partner who will help to review and vet costs to ensure that the costs are within market range but will not set pricing for external partners. This will be similar to the verification program. 

What if I run into technical issues when I start using the platform?

The SAC will have "Support" link on that connects users to the Higg support team that can answer any technical support questions.

In addition to How to Higg, what other documents will be translated into these languages?

We will be translating the platform, the guidance documents that allow facilities to better understand how to use the platform (platform guides) as well as the How to Higg reference guide. We also hope to translate a few short training videos if we can, but that may occur in Q1 2018.

Is having only three approved training teams to train facilities within the cadence sufficient?

We will have three approved trainers for November and December 2017, but we expect to have many more starting in January 2018 when the broader trainer program launches. This should suffice for the duration of the cadence.

If we were approved qualified trainers in Higg FEM 2.0, what about Higg FEM 3.0? Do we have to register again?

Yes, all previously approved trainers will need to be approved again. We will review all fees and details in November.

Will Approved Trainer training be in the same online format as Verifier Training?

Yes these processes are aligned.

Will any guidelines and documents be available on later to help factories understand the key difference between Higg 2.0 and 3.0?

Yes this will be outlined in training materials that we launch on the new training website in early November

Is there SAC contact information available for facilities who have questions that is not answered in the FAQ doc? 

Please go to and click "Submit a Request" at the top of the page to submit a support request.

Does the SAC have a program to support a brand's internal training program for employees or suppliers?

The SAC will provide the approved trainer program through a third party. Through this trainer program, you can work with an approved, certified trainer.

If I am a Higg FEM 2.0 approved verifier, do I have to be re-approved for Higg FEM 3.0? 

Yes, the content and criteria for the new tool have changed. We must ensure consistency among verifications. The format for verification is online. It’s a course designed for adult learners. It will take an average verifier 40 hours to complete. It consists of a combination of lecture, with office hours, videos with role playing, offline assignments. Instructors review work and share feedback with attendees. This will help with scalability. Verifiers have access to the system throughout the entire year. 

Can brands become approved trainers?

We’re specifying requirements that approved trainers need to follow; it’s up to them to curate their own services, overall. The approved trainer title is intended for training providers that can provide services throughout the entire cycle on an ongoing basis. Brands and facilities that are interested in going through the training will have this option. They can receive a certificate to certify this.


What is Verification? 

Verification refers to the validation of responses reported in the Higg FEM by a third party SAC-approved verifier, selected and hired by a supplier to a facility site. The verifier is only person responsible for validating the accuracy of the assessment. 


How will verification work? 


The Higg FEM onsite visit shall be ANNOUNCED with a two-week floating window according to the expectations of the organization requesting the verification.

What is the verifier format training, and what will it cover?

See graph above.

What is the timeline for the verifier application, training and functionality on 

See graph above.

How much will verification cost?

In order to ensure the independence of the verification the verification fee must be pre-paid. The total verification price should be negotiated by the company requesting the verification (brand, retailer, or manufacturer). Pricing can depend on many factors such as the country of execution, the size of the facility, and the facility's previous verification experience. 

The verification organization will use the table below to estimate the total duration of the assessment: 

No. of Workers

Man day Duration for On-site Verification (Initial) / Risk Level




< 1,000




1,000 < 2,000




2,000 < 3,000




> 3,000





Complexity Categories of Environmental Aspects 

The number of man days required for the Higg verification are based on three levels of complexity:

High – environmental aspects of significant nature and gravity (typically manufacturing or processing type organizations with significant impacts in most of the environmental aspects).

Medium – environmental aspects of medium nature and gravity (typically manufacturing organizations with significant impacts in some of the environmental aspects);

Low – environmental aspects of low nature and gravity (typically organizations that have low impacts within few environmental aspects);

The result of the applicability test conducted by the facility in the Higg Index FEM Self-Assessment can be used to determine the complexity level under which this facility falls under. The table below provides the link between the three complexity categories above and the facilities’ profiles that would typically fall into that category.

Facility Type / Complexity





Facilities using chemicals



Example: dyeing, printing, Laundry or washing, cementing or gluing, slashing during weaving, fiber extrusion or yarn spinning, electroplating, welding

Industrial wastewater with onsite treatment



Facility with air emissions, NO chemicals used onsite and NO onsite wastewater treatment




Facility without air emissions, withNO chemicals used onsite and NO onsite wastewater treatment






  • Travel time is not included in the table
  • One man day corresponds to 8 hours of effective working time. It excludes lunch breaks and breaks unless required by law in the country of execution of the verification
  • Verification scheduling and preparation as well as report writing are to be carried out off-site and therefore are not included in the table
  • Report writing includes the preparation of the on-line "locked" verification report on Reporting time is estimated to be 0.5 Man days

Verification organizations will, by permission granted by the factory being verified, have access to the facility’s profile and the self-assessment and shall review the scores and document uploads prior to the site visit. Verifiers will review all provided documentation provided by the facility prior to the site visit. 

When will facilities be able to hire/schedule verification?

Facilities can hire verifiers and schedule verification as of the end of January 2018 

We will be able to have verified reports available for analytics by May 31?

Yes - if you schedule your verifications prior to May or in early May (verifiers have 5 days to post reports post verification -- of course the factory has to approve posting them)

Who can conduct verification?

Only SAC approved verifiers. These are individuals who meet strict criteria, training, and performance requirements set by SAC. They must apply and be selected by SAC's Verification Program Manager -- an external organization that manages the implementation of the FEM Verification Program

When will verifier applications be accepted?

Instructions for how to apply will be sent out to interested parties in November and of course available on SAC Connect. 

If I was a Higg FEM 2.0 verifier do I need to reapply?

Yes. Your experience as a Higg FEM 2.0 verifier can help you meet the criteria outlined in the application to become a Higg FEM 3.0 verifier

How long does my SAC-approved verifier status last?

One year. To renew, you must pass ongoing training and meet the min. requirements of conducting 20 Higg verifications in the past calendar year

How much will it cost to become a verifier?

The application fee is still TBD and will be announced with the applications in November.

How much will verifier training cost?

The training fee is still TBD and will be announced with the launch of the training in January 2018.

For verifier, if they are external, they must be registered to right?

Tool will have a pre-populated list of all verifiers that have been invited and approved. You won’t be able to invite any random person, you must choose from our list of approved verifiers.

For Higg FEM 2.0, the SAC had arranged verifier training for the brands and third parties, can you elaborate the plan for Higg FEM 3.0?

SAC will again be providing verifier training. Pre-qualified verifiers (verifiers that qualify against SAC's criteria and pass the SAC vetting process) are required to pass a 40 hour training and exam to be listed as an SAC Approved Verifier. They will also be required to perform a minimum of 20 FEM verifications during the 2018 calendar year to stay approved. Beginning in February 2018, that same detailed training will be available to anyone else interested in participating in the training, but not interested or qualified to become a verifier. The training, for both verifiers and non-verifiers, will be offered at a fee on SAC's new Learning Management software. Details will be announced in early January. 

Should the verifier be from a third party?

Verifications used for consumer-facing communications MUST be conducted by a verifier that has no business relationship or influence with the factory he/she is verifying. A strict Conflict of Interest policy and the Higg Terms of Use will govern this work to ensure uninfluenced and credible results are communicated. These policies will be specific about boundaries related to business relationships and influence.

If a supplier does not post their verification before October 31, will they be able to post it on the new site?

They will not be able to upload Higg FEM 2.0 verified reports.

Parent companies will not be creating accounts on - they will just be a tag that connects accounts together, therefore they do not need to pay. The contacts from the parent account will just need to register/have access to their facility accounts for benchmarking/analytics.

When a verified module is shared, are verifier comments visible?

We are still in the development of the Verification technology. We will make this request of our partner and release updates as we receive them.

Can a member from a manufacturer facility be verifier too?

As long as an individual meets the verifier criteria, they are able to become a verifier. Verifier Critiera will be released at the same time as we launch the verification application process in mid-November.

Any update on who the verification program manager will be?

We are finalizing the contract now. We will announce this in the November SAC Newsletter.  

Should a brand have a verifier? And who should that be?  

Please got to, click "Submit a Request" to submit a support inquiry regarding verification. 

If I am a Higg FEM 2.0 approved verifier, do I have to be re-approved for Higg FEM 3.0?

Yes, all Higg FEM 2.0 verifiers will need to be re-vetted for the Higg FEM 3.0 verification program. This is because the content and criteria for the new tool have changed. We must ensure consistency among verifications. The format for verifier training is online. It’s a course designed for adult learners. It will take an average verifier 40 hours to complete. It consists of a combination of lecture, with office hours, videos with role playing, offline assignments. Instructors review work and share feedback with attendees. This will help with scalability. Verifiers have access to the system throughout the entire year.

Will payment of verification be done in the same way?

Verification payment will be made to the verification organization that is chosen by the facility or brand to conduct the verification.

Can a verifier improve its status to be a trainer or both?

Yes, Verifiers may also be trainers as long as they meet the criteria for a trainer and vice versa.

When do we have a plan to launch the verifiers training?

Verifier training will be available in January 2018.

Will the Approved Trainer training be in the same online format as Verifier Training?

Yes these processes are aligned.

Is the verifier training country specific?

The verifier training is not country specific. However, we do ask through the application process how the verifiers keep up to date with local laws and regulations.

Do you have a target (estimate) of the number of verifiers by countries?

We anticipate the highest number of verifiers to be located in the countries where the most verifications have been conducted in the past. These countries include, China. Vietnam, India, and Bangladesh. Each verifier must conduct 20 verifications per year in order to retain approved verifier standing. We will make exceptions for countries where fewer verifications are conducted.

Can verifiers complete on-site verification for different facilities as well as verification of their own facility, similar to a third party?

If an individual qualifies as a verifier, they can conduct verifications at any site. However, the terms of use will dictate how that information is shared.

How much chemical knowledge does a general verifier need?

A general verifier will need to have the chemical knowledge of all of the level 1 questions in the FEM chemical management section.  

Is Verification closed for the 2016, 2.0 platform?

The 2.0 online platform has closed for the 2016 Verification Cycle. This means we no longer have the ability to reset passwords nor upload FEM 2.0 verified reports. Verified reports for FEM 2.0 can be sent to We will track these outside of the database.

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