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Verification Process – Facility

Please review the following information outlining Higg FEM verification for facilities.

1. Complete and post self-assessment on higg.org

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2. Determine whether a generalist verifier or chemicals specialist verifier is required. If you have advanced to Chemicals Management Level 2 and 3, a chemicals specialist must verify your module.

3. Determine whether you prefer onsite or offsite verification. If you want to communicate your scores publicly eventually, you must select on-site verification. If you prefer business-to-business communication only, you may select off-site verification.

4. Choose a Higg FEM verifier from howtohigg.org/verifiers

  • Only the verifiers on this list are authorized to conduct Higg FEM verifications.
  • Contact the verifier company to hire a verifier and arrange verification via email (do not contact individual verifiers directly).
  • NOTE: This is not a scheduling platform - you need to choose and schedule your verifier offline before selecting them in higg.org.

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5. Your selected verifier must email you a coupon code to use to start a verified module in Higg.org. You cannot start a verified module without this coupon code.

6. On Higg.org, select “My Modules” and click “Verify a Module” – select your verifier from the list and enter your coupon code to activate your verified Higg FEM assessment (vFEM). This automatically invites your verifier as a user into your Higg.org account. 

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7. Prepare for verification using “How this will be verified” guidance in the Higg FEM How to Higg guide

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8. Complete your verification

9/ Within 10 business days, the verifier will fill in your verified module (vFEM) results directly in your higg.org account. Once they have finalized the vFEM, they will notify you via email. All sections of the vFEM should be finalized (as shown by blue bars throughout the vFEM)

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  • There is no corrective action plan associated with Higg FEM verification. Higg FEM verification confirms your current performance levels. A performance improvement plan is recommended as a next step to successfully implement improvements that will be captured in your module next year.

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You have the option to post your vFEM. If you post your vFEM, it will replace your self-assessment as your posted module, meaning anyone with whom you have shared your module will now be able to view your vFEM instead of your self-assessment. Note: After July 15, if you unpublish your vFEM, you will not be able to re-post your self-assessment.

All 2017 Higg FEM verifications must be completed and uploaded by Dec 31, 2018. 

How much does verification cost?

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 including the country of execution, the size of the facility, and the facility's previous verification experience. 

Note: The SAC does not dictate which party pays for Higg FEM verification. 

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

High

Med

Low

< 1,000

3.0

2.5

2.0

1,000 < 2,000

3.5

3.0

2.0

2,000 < 3,000

4.0

3.5

2.5

> 3,000

5.0

4.0

2.5

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). 

Conflict Resolution

The verifier is responsible for discussing any discrepancies and inaccuracies in the assessment with the facility during the verification process and upon its conclusion. The facility has the right to provide additional information if there is a misunderstanding and lack of information to properly verify the answer to an assessment practice. 

If a verification disagreement or grievance between the facility and verifier persists, a facility may escalate this to the Verification Program Manager (VPM), SAC@sumerra.com. If a discrepancy/disagreement is escalated to the VPM, this communication must include:

  • Facility information (name, address, contact information)
  • Verification information (date, who conducted the verification)
  • Details describing the disagreement [the question(s), what the disagreement entails, supporting evidence/documentation, any unprofessional practices/behavior by the verifier, any additional information required to investigate the discrepancy/disagreement]. 

Within two weeks, (14 business days) the VPM will investigate the disagreement and inform both parties of a formal decision.

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