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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 Higg.org 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: http://community.apparelcoalition.org/viewdocument/facility-environmental-module-conte

Please note that the SAC will make Higg FEM content publicly available after launch of the new Higg.org 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: http://community.apparelcoalition.org/viewdocument/facility-environmental-module-scori

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 apparelcoalition.org 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?

Yes.

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 www.howtoHigg.org or email support@apparelcoalition.org.

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