The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) will halt the use of consumer-facing Higg labels worldwide after Norwegian authorities determined that they were deceptive to consumers. As it works with the Norwegian Consumer Authority (NCA) and other industry stakeholders, the SAC will suspend the use of Higg Index Sustainability Profiles and the Higg Index Materials seal on products.
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and two of its members, H&M and Norrna, have announced that they will suspend their use of the Higg Index following a report by the Norwegian Consumer Authority (NCA) that found it to be misleading consumers.
According to Amina Razvi, CEO of the SAC, the organization will collaborate closely with the NCA and other stakeholders and regulators to “better understand how to substantiate product level claims with trusted and credible data.”
Furthermore, Razvi stated that the SAC will conduct a third-party review of the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) data and methodology, which was last evaluated in 2016, and will collaborate on a program to update its data with other organizations.
“As an organization focused on driving positive environmental change in the fashion industry, we take the NCA notification extremely seriously,” Razvi said in the statement. It is critical that we seek to understand how to improve this work and act quickly and decisively to ensure that the necessary changes in the industry and at the consumer level are accelerated rather than stifled by a lack of harmonised legislation and clear guidance from regulators.”
Following a report from the NCA that found the system appeared to have broken guidelines under Norway’s Marketing Control Act, which targets green claims made by businesses, criticism for the Higg Index has increased, and it could potentially be banned from use throughout Norway.
The tool is “not sufficient as a basis for the environmental claims they have used in marketing,” according to Norwegian authorities, with its director, Trond Rnningen, stating that it can ultimately be misleading to consumers.