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Our Manufacturing

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In 2017, we used over 138 thousand tonnes of materials, which was 5% less than in 2016, despite an increase of 3% in production volumes.  This includes polyester, cotton and acrylic fibres, polyester and nylon filament, grey thread, dyes and chemicals, as well as packaging materials.  We measure and monitor how effectively we convert materials at each step of the manufacturing process to ensure that we keep the amount of waste we produce to a minimum.

We have continued to widen the scope of our waste reporting, and as a result the waste that we generated as a proportion of the primary raw materials was 8.1%, up from 4.5% in 2016 and 5.3% in 2015.  The figures include only our own generated waste, and hence exclude packaging waste received from our suppliers, but do include all elements of our own waste, including solids extracted from effluent treatment plants.  75% of the total waste is reused or recycled because they are lighter.

In China, for example, successful zip engineering has meant our Opti S series is now made with less material, whilst maintaining the superior strength and reliability which defines this range.  In addition to saving valuable resources in production, the zips have further potential to reduce their environmental impact after they leave our factory.


We also seek to reduce our packaging, particularly through eliminating or minimising the amount of materials we use.  Coats is an advocate of the Reduce-Reuse-Recycle waste hierarchy – first we try to reduce the volume of virgin materials in our packaging, what we cannot remove we try to reuse, and what we cannot reuse we try to recycle.

Between 2012 and 2016, Coats Honduras, for example, ran a plastic cone recovery and reuse programme. They successfully reused 6.8 million cones, saving over 160 tonnes of plastic. In addition, we are increasing the proportion of recycled materials in our packaging.  In 2017, 57% of our packaging was made from recycled materials.


In 2017 we used 823 million kWh of energy (electricity and fossil fuels) in manufacturing our products, which equates to 11.5 kWh per kg of dyed goods.  This is an overall reduction of 1% in total energy use from 2016 (829 million kWh).  Our energy use per unit of production has decreased even further, 3% from 2016 (11.9 kWh per kg of dyed goods).

The reduction to date has been achieved through a combination of investment in energy efficiency – such as utilising better manufacturing schedules, regular maintenance and optimising building management – as well as in new technology.

We are continually seeing an increase in the amount of energy taken from renewable sources, particularly solar, hydro and wind power, and also an increase in the amount of energy produced at our sites through, e.g. biomass or solar generation.  We have increased energy use from renewable sources by 25% in the past 5 years.  Following the 2013 installation in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in 2014 we set up a number of new biomass steam generation plants, such as in Hanoi, Vietnam and India, as well as heat recovery systems in Mexico and Indonesia.  In addition to these large scale initiatives, some smaller modifications are giving us rewards too. 

Energy use (Kwh per kg of dyed product)   


Renewable energy (% of total energy used each year)



Water is another vital resource.  In some of the locations where we operate, water is often scarce, and so we have a responsibility to use it in a clean and efficient way.  In 2017, we reduced our total water consumption by 3%, 8.04 million cubic metres (compared to 8.2 million cubic metres of water in 2016).  This equates to 112 litres per kilo of dyed product in 2017, which is 5% down from 2016.  A significant proportion of this water is re-used or returned to the natural environment after suitable treatment.

Over the past few years we have focused particularly on our water consumption and encouraged further use of reusable sources.  Reverse osmosis plants improve the quality of water we use, giving us alternatives to using water from municipal supply or to recycle water to a sufficient level that can be re-used in our manufacturing processes.  In addition to this, some of our sites are now implementing Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) systems, whereby the remaining effluent is dried to make for easier disposal of the residue.

Check out our water saving case study for more information on our activities.


Corporate Responsibility case studies

Integrating our approach to Corporate Responsibility across our business operations

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