Our Current Stories on Environment

Packaging and Product Innovations

Higg Index to Measure Sustainability

Higg Index to Measure Sustainability
Nordstrom is a founding circle member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), a group of sustainability leaders in the apparel and footwear industries, who had come together two years ago to focus on creating an industry-wide index to measure and evaluate products' sustainability. Today, the group's hard work is paying off with the official launch of the Higg Index.

Since 2010 the SAC group, which is now made up of nearly 60 apparel and footwear brands, retailers, manufacturers, suppliers, universities and comprises more than 1/3 of all global apparel and footwear-focused companies, have worked together to develop, test and implement a prototype tool that measures the comprehensive environmental (and eventually social) impacts of apparel and footwear products. Many SAC member companies, including Nordstrom, have been testing the prototype internally over that time within their organizations. The public and other non-member organizations are now able access the tool – currently named the Higg Index.

The Higg Index has already helped us at Nordstrom better understand where our products are in terms of their impacts.
- Linda Peffer, Nordstrom director of Corporate Social Responsibility
Identifying Ways to Reduce Impact

Though the Higg Index – a named inspired by the Higgs boson, which gives all particles mass, thus allowing for the existence of matter - measures current product impact in environmental areas such as water and chemical usage, but that's not its only function. The group's hope is that the Index will also help users identify forward-facing opportunities for global supply chains to reduce that impact and improve long-term sustainability. It will also provide a standard of measurement that SAC believes will improve social and environmental conditions, increase operational efficiency and ultimately inspire better product design.

"The Higg Index has already helped us at Nordstrom better understand where our products are in terms of their impacts," said Linda Peffer, Nordstrom director of Corporate Social Responsibility. "Because of those learnings, we will be able to drive design and manufacturing decisions that reduce those impacts and create long term solutions."

The Future of the Higg Index

Future versions will include social and labor impacts, such as factory conditions and wages. A group of key members is working on drafting the pilot version of that tool and companies will begin testing in the very near future, with a goal of a 2013 public-facing launch.

"We've been involved with this project from the beginning," said Laura Hodgson, Nordstrom Product Group director of Social Responsibility. "We're excited to see that the social and labor tool is making great progress and we're eager to see how we can incorporate it into our current human rights program to make an even greater impact on the important issues that we're working to address."

Eventually, the information that the Higg Index measures could be shared with customers on a label or tag and customers will know more about the item their purchasing. "It's really neat that we've come this far in just two years," said Linda, "and we still have so much more to accomplish, which is exciting too."

Higg Index to Measure Sustainability

other news:

Beating the Bridge to Beat Diabetes

As many as 3 million Americans are living with Type 1 diabetes. At Seattle's Beat the Bridge to Beat Diabetes event, participants aren't only 'racing' to beat the University Bridge before it's raised during the event. They are also 'racing' to help find a cure for diabetes.Read More

Our Restaurants: Local, Healthy & Eco-Friendly

Looking for a restaurant that features both fresh, healthful ingredients and environmentally-friendly practices? You don't have to
look too far. Read More

Higg Index to Measure Sustainability

Nordstrom is part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, a group of apparel and footwear industry leaders, who have come together to create the Higg Index – a new tool for measuring product sustainability.Read More

Making Good Use of Waste

The Nordstrom team at our Fulfillment Center processes thousands of customer orders each day. They also generate a lot of waste, which has a big impact on
the environment.Read More

Saving Energy Reaps Rewards

Customers who visit the Nordstrom Tacoma Mall store might notice a cling on the door as they enter the store that says "This building is an Energy Star building."Read More

Biggest Loser Is a Winner

How much weight can you lose in 13 weeks? That was the challenge presented to employees at our Southern California
distribution center.Read More