Global responsibility – down to the last detail
Globalization also has a dark side. It often goes hand in hand with environmental pollution and unfair working conditions. The outdoor outfitter VAUDE – with production involving the global supply chain – is convinced that companies both can and should make a positive contribution toward meeting these challenges. With this in mind, the company not only implements sustainable goals at its headquarters in southern Germany, but also at the production facilities that manufacture products on behalf of VAUDE throughout the world. As a pioneer in the field, VAUDE is taking this process one step further and has also started working with its suppliers to achieve high environmental and social standards. The company wants to ensure that VAUDE products are manufactured ecologically and fairly – throughout the entire global supply chain.
One year ago, VAUDE launched the project "Environmental Stewardship in the Supply Chain", to raise its suppliers’ awareness of environmental and social issues and to provide them with the know-how they need to implement change. Over the next two years, VAUDE will offer training sessions for the suppliers of its product materials in Asia. Knowledge and experience will be shared enabling local stakeholders to make progress toward their own sustainable development – a pioneering approach with great potential as a model for future projects.
An outdoor jacket consists of approximately 50 components, such as linings, membranes, laminates, zippers, drawcords, buttons, thread and labels. These items are manufactured by many different and delivered to production facilities which then use them to assemble jackets for VAUDE.
Supporting and challenging
VAUDE maintains direct business relationships with its production facilities and has long worked to ensure that they are operating in accordance with strict social and environmental standards. One example – VAUDE so consistently pursued Leader Status in the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF), that 99 percent of its production volume is now made in facilities that have been audited under the strict criteria of the FWF. Approximately 80 percent of the VAUDE Apparel Collection features environmentally friendly production that meets the Green Shape criteria – made from sustainable materials as well as resource-conserving and fair production. In addition, the majority of its material suppliers are already certified in accordance with the bluesign® System, which is like an "Ecological Purity Law" – permitting only approved materials. Now VAUDE is going one step further and is committed to implementing comprehensive environmental and social standards among the suppliers of its materials and components. The aim is to ensure clean production processes and safe workplaces for these suppliers as well, and to avoid environmental pollution of local areas.
As a pioneer, VAUDE is providing concrete assistance to its suppliers, thereby creating not only more transparency, but also promoting sustainable development. The company is voluntarily committed to offering consumers a scrupulously clean and fair product.
Helping people help themselves
VAUDE, together with external experts for environmental, chemical and job safety management, is addressing this self-imposed task at the local level. With training courses and workshops, VAUDE is working together with the major suppliers of its production operations to develop viable solutions. In addition, the facilities are receiving concrete assistance in implementing measures for environmental protection and occupational safety as well as social standards and the efficient use of resources in their operations. At the same time, suppliers are also recognizing that such measures can often reduce operating costs, which is a further incentive for management.
Role model as a result of consistency
Thanks to the voluntary participation of suppliers, 80% by volume of the primary and lining materials that VAUDE processes have already been included in the project. The goal is to roll out the project over the next few years for all material suppliers. But the matter doesn’t end here; as a founding member of the "Alliance for Sustainable Textile" VAUDE is using this project to act as a role model for best practices, which could provide momentum for the entire textile industry. VAUDE is a founding member of this alliance, which brings together industry associations, civil society, government and many manufacturers of the textile industry. The project "Environmental Stewardship in the Supply Chain" is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) within the "develoPPP.de" program.
VAUDE’s ecological and social commitment in the Sustainability Report: http://csr-report.vaude.com/
More on the pilot project:
Share this article with a friend: