This guidance is for the approved verifying bodies (VB) and verifiers to complete verification of the Higg Facility Environment Module (Higg FEM).
Verifying Body Operation Process
1. Verifying body (VB) account set up and approved verifier joining the VB account in Higg.org
1) The Verifying Body (VB) must create your organization account in Higg.org.
- The third-party VB make sure choose the account type as “Verification Body” and organization type as “Service Provider”.
- The second-party VB will create its account as a normal brand account. Make sure choose the account type indicates “Brand” and the organization type indicates “Brand/Retailer.”
- The SAC support team will enable the verification functionality for your account. Please refer to the account registration guidance here.
2) All approved verifiers must be invited to (or join) the existing VB account. If the verifier wants to join the VB account, please refer to the guidance here. If the VB owner/admins want to invite a verifier to its account and set up roles (admin/editor), please refer to the guidance here.
2. Verifying body owner/admins accepts sharing request from the facility
1) The facility must contact and confirm with the corresponding VB organization before selecting you as the VB. After the facility selects you in their Higg vFEM, the owner and admin(s) of VB account will receive an email notification.
2) The owner/admins of VB account logs in to Higg.org and accesses the Higg FEM module list page. Click “Accept Share” to accept the sharing request from the facility account who has selected you as the VB through “Pending Share Approval” tab.
3. Verifying body owner/admins assign the verifier(s) to the FEM verification
1) The owner/admins will go to the “Share with me” tab to assign the verifier(s) to verify the facility’s shared Higg FEM assessment.
- Find the corresponding facility account and make sure its Higg FEM status is ASC so that you can assign the verifier(s).
- Click the "Manage verifiers" and select checkbox to assign the verifier(s).
- If you want to change a verifier, you can unselect the checkbox in front of that verifier and select another verifier.
- If you want to select multiple verifiers, you can multiple select the checkboxes. Then on its Higg FEM home page, the facility will see the selected VB and verifier(s) too.
- Reminder: The approved verifiers must be invited in your VB account and their FEM verifier toggle must be turned on in their user profile in our platform. If any approved verifiers have been invited in your account but you don't see them on this select verifier list, please contact SAC@sumerra.com for help.
2) If the owner/admin is the assigned verifier, you can view these options below.
- Manage verifiers: assign or cancel the verifier(s)
- Remove access: remove the access to this verification
- Excel: export the Excel file of Higg FEM/vFEM data. This file can be used for verifiers to conduct verification offline
- CSV: export the CSV file of Higg FEM/vFEM data
- View: access the shared Higg FEM/vFEM online
3) If the VB owner/admins are not the assigned verifier, they can only view the facility’s FEM assessment and won’t be able to access the verification.
- To view the FEM assessment, VB admin goes to the Higg FEM section and clicks “Modules.” Click the “Shared with Me” tab and then click "View" to access the factory’s FEM assessment (as above screenshot). VB owner/admins can view all facilities' FEM assessments.
Verifier Operation Process
1. Verifier logs in to his or her account on Higg.org.
Verifiers with multiple accounts must select their organization’s account (e.g. if you are a second-party verifier and work for a brand, you must choose the brand account, such as Target; if you are a third-party verifier, you must select the account of the service provider you work for, such as SGS).
2. Verifier accesses the verified FEM in "Shared with me" tab in their account.
- Go to the Higg FEM section, click “Modules.” Click the “Shared with Me” tab. You will see the new assigned FEM verification and the vFEM status is ASC.
- Click the "View" to access the factory’s Higg vFEM. This way will allow the verifier to conduct the verification online.
- When the VB accepts the share request, this should grant the verifier access to the module as well. There may be cases in which the share request is not accepted. If the accept share button indicates “Pending share approval,” you can click this button to access the module.
Verifier offline verification tool
Verifier also can conduct the FEM verification offline through an offline excel file tool.
- Click the "Excel" next to a verified FEM module in order to export the assessment into an excel file.
- You can correct the verified responses in the excel file for the questions are inaccurate but you can't put verification notes, make selection for the response and flag any questions in this offline tool currently. Then upload the verified module back into the platform.
- We actually don't suggest this offline option for verifiers because verifiers will almost have to re-do the verification online after importing the offline verification excel file. But we are developing the offline excel file verification tool with full functions and will be launched once it is ready.
3. Begin Verification
- Click "View" for the vFEM on the module sharing page. You will access the assigned vFEM online.
- Click the “Begin Verification” button at the bottom of the left navigation column no matter if you want to do the verification online or offline. The Higg FEM assessment status will become from ASC (Assessment Complete) to VRP (Verification in Progress).
- If you don't see the "Begin Verification" button, you might want to check the vFEM module status. It might be the ASI (Assessment Initiative) not ASC, which means that the facility hasn't submitted their FEM for verification yet. So you need to contact the facility and ask them to submit the FEM for verification.
Before conducting the verification at a facility, the verifier must confirm:
- His or her account is set up on Higg.org
- He or she can access the shared Higg FEM
- He or she can see the “Begin Verification” button on the FEM assessment
If any of these is not accessible, please contact the SAC Support team to fix the issue before the verification starts.
4. Conduct the Verification online
1) Verifier can start the verification after clicking "Begin Verification" button.
2) Verifying each question in each section.
- Select “Accurate/Inaccurate/No-response” in the dropdown list for each question in the Higg FEM verification based on the actual situation for each question.
- Accurate: green. When you choose this selection, it means that the facility's original response is corrected. You are not required to provide verifier comments for any accurate questions.
- Inaccurate: red. When you choose this selection, it means that the facility's original response is in-corrected. You MUST correct the response and provide verifier comments for all inaccurate questions. Otherwise, you can't complete and submit the verification. You must keep this selection as "inaccurate" and DO NOT change it back to "accurate" even though you will need to correct the response for inaccurate questions because it reflects the actual verification status for this question.
- No-response: yellow. When you choose this selection, it means that the facility didn't answer this question and their original response is empty. You are required to provide verifier comments for all no-response questions. Otherwise, you can't complete and submit the verification.
3) Flagging the question if needed.
- Verifiers also can flag the question if needed so the facility will pay attention on it. Just click the "Flag" icon next to the verification selection in a question (refer to above screenshots)
4) Uploading the supporting documents
- For some questions, you are required to upload the documents.
- For some questions, you are optional to upload the documents.
5) Using the filter to check the completion of verification
- There is a filter tab "Additional Filters" available on the top of the vFEM page.
- The verifier can filter by Accurate, Inaccurate, No-response, Missing Notes, Unverified, Required and Complete sections. The verifier also can have inclusive filters. For example, filter both Accurate and Inaccurate.
Filters: clicking that filter row, it will take you to the page that will show the filter result.
- Accurate: see all questions that verifier has verified as accurate.
- Inaccurate: see all questions that verifier has verified as inaccurate.
- No-response: see all questions that verifier has verified as “no response”
- Unverified: all questions that have not been verified. Once the question is verified as accurate/inaccurate/no response, it will be removed from the “unverified” view and moved to the related section based on its verified result before the verifier adds the verification comments. Please remember to input your verification information before selecting the verified result. You must filter both “Unverified” and “Inaccurate” sections to verify the response before inputting the verification information.
- Required: questions are required to be verified.
- Missing Notes: questions are required to provide verifier comments but verifier didn't provide - inaccurate and no-response questions.
- Complete: questions are verified completely.
6. Table questions verification
- If the data in each cell of the whole row is accurate, you can click “Confirm Accurate” button at the end of that row to confirm the whole row’s data accuracy. Then the row in the table will be indicated as green.
- If the data in at least one cell of the whole row is inaccurate or has no response, you will need to verify each cell in that row. You can click each cell which will populate a bar with 5 icons.
- 1st icon is accurate, 2nd icon is inaccurate, 3rd icon is no-response, 4th icon is providing verifier comments and the 5th icon is to flag this cell.
- If any cells are verified as "inaccurate", the verifier needs to correct the response and provide verifier comments.
- If any cells are verified as "no-response", the verifier needs to provide verifier comments.
The selection cells in the table must be verified too. Lots of verifiers might miss this cell.
5. Conduct the verification offline (Note that it is not required that you use the offline excel and the import features, as you may still complete the entire verification process online if preferred.)
1) After downloading the excel file offline tool, the verifier can use this file to do the verification offline.
2) During the verification, the verifier can only correct the verified responses in the excel file for the questions are inaccurate but can't put verification notes, make selection for the response, flag any questions and upload documents in this offline tool currently because the current excel format of offline tool doesn't support these functions.
3) Go back to Higg.org platform and access this vFEM online in verifier's account. After click "Begin Verification" button, the verifier(s) can start the verification and then see the button "Import Module" which allow them to import the offline Excel file to the shared Higg FEM assessment in their account.
4) After importing the excel file tool, the verifier must still complete the following in the online version of the vFEM before the verification is considered completed: 1) make an selection (accurate/inaccurate/no response) for each question 2) provide verification notes for inaccurate questions 3) Update/Enter information for any tables 4) flag questions (if needed) in verification information pop-box, 5) upload the documents (if needed) on the online platform.
6. Submit verification
- Once the verification is complete, the verifier will click “Submit Verification” on the bottom left navigation panel. Then the Higg FEM assessment status will become VRC (Verification Complete).
- If any questions verification is not complete, when the verifier click the "Submit Verification" button, it will populate a list which shows all questions are not completed yet in which sections. The verifier can check this list to find those questions and complete the verification.
- Once the verification is completed and submitted, the vFEM status becomes VRC (Verification complete). The verifier still can edit the vFEM under VRC status.
7. VB Admin(s) and Verifier(s) Check the FEM Status
1) Once the verifier submits the verification, the facility will receive an email with a notification that the verification is ready for review.
2) If the facility disputes the verification, the verifier(s) and VB admin(s) will receive an email with a notification of the dispute. The verification status will then indicate “VRD” (Verification Disputed) in the “Module Status” section on the Higg FEM module list page.
3) If the facility finalizes the assessment and the vFEM status will become VRF (Verification Finalized). The VB owner/admins can see all vFEM modules with VRF status in their account. The VB editor won't see the vFEM modules with VRF status in their account because they will only see the vFEM modules with ASC/VRP/VRC/VRD status.
The view for verifier who is an editor
8. To be released:
- We are working on developing a full functionality of excel format for the offline verification tool so the verifier won't need to make selection and provide verification notes online again after they import the excel file with verification data.