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A New Platform of Sustainability Data Helps Companies Reduce Emissions

Higg works with more than 30,000 factories to collect information on environmental and labor performance.

A steel factory in Jilin province, China.

A steel factory in Jilin province, China.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

Higg Inc., a California-based startup, is collecting and standardizing supply chain sustainability data so that companies can reduce emissions faster. The software provider has already built a factory database with more than 30,000 sites, most of them serving the apparel industry and almost half of them in China. Executives and investors say their data platform can help bring transparency—and consequently decarbonization—to factories located in developing countries. Higg announced a $50 million Series B round on Wednesday, with support from Titan Grove, investor and activist Tom Steyer’s Galvanize Climate Solutions, Silversmith Capital Partners and Buckhill Capital.

China and India account for 38% of global CO₂ emissions, though much of that pollution is emitted in the production of goods that Americans buy. When Titan Grove’s Jeff Tannenbaum met Jason Kibbey, Higg’s CEO, he said he realized the company’s software “could be an incredible tool to stem the reduction of emerging market emissions.” A 50% reduction in apparel industry factory emissions—itself perhaps 5% of global CO₂—would be the equivalent of installing 5 kilowatt solar panels on all U.S. homes, he calculated.