22 June 2022
The article published in the New York Times (NYT) last week questioning the methods and accuracy of the Higg MSI has not only stirred up controversy, but also sparked demands to have the index suspended immediately. The Natural Fibres Alliance (NFA), in reaction to the NYT article titled ‘How Fashion Giants Recast Plastic as Good for the Planet’ did not mince their words when demanding the suspension of the Higg MSI that is part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC). The NFA feels that legislation and effective regulation are the only clear path forward. It is forecast that synthetic materials will increase their market share from 69% to 73% in the next ten years. The NFA also stated that the culture of fast fashion is consumer driven as it is a direct result of corporate greenwashing. The results obtained from the Higg MSI giving polyester, for example, a more sustainable score than wool, silk or leather, is completely misleading. Synthetic materials are fossil fuel based, are not biodegradable and when washed shed microplastics that are polluting the planet. In a further blow to the use of Hjgg MSI data on consumer labels, the Norwegian Consumer Authority (NCA) declared such data illegal and ordered such labels not to be used on clothing after August 14, as misleading data would be in breach of Norway’s Marketing Control Act. The Higg MSI effectively promotes the use of synthetic fibres and long term this will simply result in more environmental pollution. Non-biodegradable plastic-based materials will have unpredictable consequences for humanity and the planet.

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