What polyester and other petroleum-based textiles do have going for them is that they can be remarkably cheap to produce, allowing the fashion brands that favor them to keep costs low and profits high. So perhaps it’s not surprising that Tabuchi’s reporting followed a rebuke of the Higg Index by Norway’s Consumer Authority, which monitors greenwashing claims in consumer marketing.
According to The Intercept, the Higg Index reportedly now faces a ban in the Nordic country. Update: On June 16, Business of Fashion reported that the Norwegian Consumer Authority has required H&M and sportswear brand Norrøna to “change or remove its marketing referencing data from the Higg Index” by September 1 and August 14, respectively, citing the information as misleading to consumers.
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition was also warned by the watchdog group against further use of Higg data in consumer-facing marketing in Norway.
“Their approach has been shrouded in a lot of secrecy. It’s not a transparent system,” says former Coalition board member Linda Greer, who told the New York Times that she resigned from her position this year due to the organization’s “lack of progress” on environmental and climate policies. “This industry, maybe more so than any other sector, is very big on talk, very big on the next exciting thing—almost as if it’s a fashion show, the season’s latest.”