3. Higg FEM Verifier Training

Policy Title: Higg FEM Verifier Training

Policy Number: VPM - 003

Issue Date: December 12, 2018 Authorization: SACVicePresident_HiggIndex

Distribution: Internal – All
                     External – All potential and current FEM Eligible Verifiers


Table of Contents

  1. Introduction

  2. Training Details 

  3. Trainee Expectations

  4. Exam

1.  Introduction                                                                                          

The purpose of the Higg Index is to drive performance improvement with the footwear, apparel, and home textile value chains. The Higg Index Facility Environment Module (FEM) is one tool within the suite of Higg Index tools. It is a self-assessment conducted by Facilities, to evaluate their level of environmental performance from basic compliance and awareness up through aspirational practices. These self-assessments may be verified by an external FEM Eligible Verifier and shared via the platform. Over time the factory can demonstrate improvements to their environmental programs by posting successive FEM scores.

Correctly verifying the Higg Self-Assessment requires verifiers to understand the expectations and requirements of SAC's FEM Verification Program. To ensure Verifiers have in-depth knowledge of the program, SAC has created a Verifier Training Program and Exam that verifiers must pass in order to be Eligible for conducting FEM Verifications.

2. Training Introduction and General Information                        

1. Training Purpose

    1.1. Provide education to Verifiers, so that they have the knowledge an ability to provide verification to Facilities
    1.2.  Test Verifiers knowledge with a final exam post training
    1.3.  Recognize Verifiers who have successfully passed the application criteria, Training, and Exam as Eligible Verifiers on the FEM Eligible Verifier List. This list is utilized by Facilities for identifying an Eligible Verifier to conduct Verification at their facility.
    1.4. Ensure Facilities have confidence in the Verifiers they select to conduct their verification

2. Training Requirements
    2.1. Verifiers must meet minimal requirements, including having proper experience and a base knowledge of environmental topics in order to be able to take the Training
    2.2. Verifiers must have the ability to access the online Learning Management System
    2.3. Verifiers must successfully complete a learning plan (hereafter “the Training”) facilitated online that consists of a combination of topic specific courses and a proctored exam           
       2.3.1 Training will result in up to 40 total contact/activity hours
       2.3.2.The Training covers all Higg-related topics
    2.4. Verifiers must pass the associated exam

3. Benefits of completing the Training
    3.1. Becoming listed as a ‘SAC Eligible FEM Verifier’ on the SAC Eligible Verifier list
      3.1.1. This list is available to:
  SAC Member Companies
  Facilities wishing to utilize an Eligible Verifier to verify their posted FEM self-assessment score
      3.1.2. SAC Member Companies and Facilities may only utilize Eligible FEM Verifiers in order  for results to be considered Verified and shareable according to the Terms of Use.
    3.2. Receiving an official SAC Certificate of Attendance for Verifiers that can be used to market your verification services with customers

4. Benefits of an online Learning Management System facilitation for the Training:
   4.1. Attendees can complete the Training when and where it is convenient for them
   4.2.  Attendees can go through the Training at their own speed, allowing attendees to move quickly through concepts that they already know and spending more time on new concepts
   4.3.  Attendees can interact with ‘Instructors’ and ‘Tutors’, asking questions receiving feedback
   4.4.  The training is cost efficient, as travel costs are not required
   4.5.  Attendees always have access to the latest training while they are an SAC Eligible Verifier. They can refresh their knowledge on any topic whenever they need.
   4.6.  Attendees can ask or review answers to FAQs or discussion topics posted in the verifier  forum

3. Training Details                                                                                    

1. The Training is facilitated through an online learning management system or LMS, and can be found at
    1.1. To successfully complete this training, Attendees must provide or have access to:                       1.1.1.Internet:
      Internet Access at sufficient speeds and quality to view the training
      Webcam (for proctored exam)
      The ability to view photos, videos, documents, etc.
         1.1.2. A unique Email address
         1.1.3. Time – Completion of the Training is estimated to require up to 40 hours of contact/activity time
       NOTE: The Training can be spread out and is not required to be completed all at once
         1.1.4.Suggestions for Attendees:
       Location: Learning is best accomplished in a quiet place so that attendees can focus on the materials
       Time: Set aside a block of time to focus on the Training, rather than multi-task through the Training, allowing a focus on the materials
       Have available Higg reference materials (especially when technical topics are discussed)
       Utilize the instructors:
         Use the Forum to ask questions and to research answers given to previously asked and answered questions
         Attend ‘Office Hours’ in which Instructors are available to answer specific questions from attendees
2. The FEM Higg Verifier Training consists of a Learning Plan with multiple Courses; these courses include:
2.1. Introduction to the SAC and Higg
2.2. Using
2.3. Environmental Management Systems
2.4. Energy and Greenhouse Gas
2.5. Water Use
2.6. Wastewater
2.7. Emissions to Air
2.8. Waste Management
2.9. Chemicals
2.10. Advanced Chemical Specialty (required for verifiers with a Chemical specialty)
2.11. Conducting Verifications
3. The Training includes:
     3.1. On-line learning modules, including:
        3.1.1. ‘Lectures’ and Reading
        3.1.2. Activities such as matching, ordering, listing, finding, etc.
     3.2. Outside activities and ‘homework’ (activities done while not online or done within the      course itself)

4. Training Completion:
     4.1. Approval as a verifier is only provided when the Training is completed in its entirety
          4.1.1. There are no refunds for unfinished courses or learning plans
          4.1.2. All courses in a designated learning plan must be completed to move onto the final exam
     4.2. Timeline for Training completion:
         4.2.1. It is the duty of the Attendee to complete the Training – the VPM will not force Training completion
       NOTE: The VPM may send reminders to attendees if there is(are) uncompleted course(s) or learning plans
        4.2.2. The Training must be completed within 3 months of approval to start the course
       NOTE: The Verifier is not placed on the Eligible Verifier List until the Training is completed and the final exam has been passed
       If the Training is not completed within 6 months:
            The user is un-enrolled from the Training and that applicant is no longer permitted to complete the designated courses in learning plan.
            If the applicant wants to become Eligible, they must re-apply and go through the vetting process again (including paying another application fee) 

4. Verifier Trainee Expectations                                                          

1. Verifier Trainees are expected to:
   1.1. Devote the time and energy required to learn the materials so that verifications provided  to Facilities is effective and Facilities can learn and meet expectations
   1.2. Utilize all available resources to help themselves learn the materials; resources include:
       1.2.1., including
    Resource materials
    ‘How to Higg’ guidance document
        1.2.2. Previous experience
        1.2.3. Co-workers and/or other knowledgeable individuals
        1.2.4. Course Instructors and Tutors
        1.2.5. Information contained within the course
        1.2.6. Additional information contained on the Course Site
   1.3. Fully complete each assignment, either in a course (meaning, while on-line and going through the e-learning course) or with off-line assignments
        1.3.1. Partially completed assignments may be returned for completion
        1.3.2. Inaccurate assignments will not be accepted as complete and will be returned for improvement

2. Ethics and Honesty
   2.1. It is expected that attendees are honest and ethical while in training; this includes:
        2.1.1. The person completing the Training is the one who receives the certificate and actually is providing the verification (i.e. a person cannot have another individual take the course or exam for them)
        2.1.2. The individual taking the course must learn the materials for themselves, but are encouraged to reach out to the instructors, tutors and peers, reachable through the LMS, to ask questions and gain more knowledge.

5. Exam                                                                                                     

1. VPM exams:
   1.1. Are expected to take between 1-3 hours, with an average of 2 hours.
   1.2. Are remotely proctored, meaning exam takers will be monitored through the exam.
2. Applicants are required to follow the exam rules, as provided before and during the exam
3. Suggestions for taking the exam include:
   3.1. Set aside enough time to complete the exam
   3.2. Ensure the area is proper for completing the test (quiet, where there are no disruptions etc.)
   3.3. Ensure the technology is ready (including internet access)
   3.4. Ensure all reference materials are ready
4. Individuals who are taking the exam must be honest during the exam process
   4.1. This includes, but is not limited to:
        4.1.1. Exams must be completed by the Applicant
        4.1.2. There is to be no assistance during the exam by others
   4.2. If cheating or dishonestly is suspected, at the request and under the direction of the VPM:
        4.2.1. The individual may be asked to verify their honesty during the exam – this may include:
     Signing a statement of honesty
     Providing additional responses to specific questions or concerns discovered                                  through proctoring process
     Retaking the exam, either in whole or in part
   4.3. If cheating or dishonesty is confirmed, the Applicant will be banned from conducing Higg  related work.
5. Exams must be completed in full – there is no partial credit is given nor is the exam scored until it is fully completed and submitted
6. The Exam must be done within 1 month from completing the training
7. Exam Failure and Retake:
   7.1. There is one final exam retake if the first exam is not passed
              7.1.1. Should the Applicant fail the retake exam, or not complete the retake exam within one month of the first exam, they must wait 6 months to reapplying as a Verifier (including paying all fees)
   7.2. An exam retake must be completed within one month from the date of the last failed exam
   7.3. Exam fees apply for retaking the exam
   7.4. Exam fees are nonrefundable 
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