We consider the direct impacts of our product manufacture, as well as the indirect impact throughout the whole lifecycle of their development and use. As a result, we are increasingly using recycled and sustainable materials in our product development and increasing the proportion of recycled material used in our packaging. The average proportion of packaging made from recycled materials rose to 57% in 2015, up from 51% in 2014. For some of our packaging this proportion rises to over 70%. Check out our case study for more information.
For industrial use, we have developed threads and zips made from recycled polyester under the EcoVerde brand.
We are committed to the responsible sourcing of all raw materials that go into our products and of all the finished goods that we buy. ‘Conflict Minerals’ are those minerals mined in conditions of armed conflict or human rights abuses, where the proceeds of sale can often be used to support war and cruelty. This is most prevalent in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and adjoining countries. Coats does not tolerate such abuses and has a strict policy against the purchase of Conflict Minerals.
To ensure that our products remain conflict-free, and to meet our own supply chain standards, we follow best practice as defined by the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative and meet the requirements of all legislation with regard to this issue, specifically the Dodd-Frank Act in the USA.
We are committed to ensuring the safety of our end consumers when using our products. As a result we continually take feedback on product performance and are working with our suppliers to ensure the safety of our raw materials and product components. We maintain a Restricted Substances List (RSL) which incorporates the requirements of all the major internationally recognised environmental standards (for example REACH, OEKO-TEX®, CPSIA). It is rigorously enforced and, where necessary, extended to reflect tightening commercial and legal limits for dangerous substances. We believe this is the most comprehensive RSL in the textile industry and it has been referenced by other organisations as best practice.
Our aim is to maintain zero incidence of product safety related issues. Out of over 24.6 million order lines during 2015 we had one justified health and safety related complaint involving contaminated thread. That’s equivalent to 0.004 complaints per hundred thousand order lines. The issue was picked up during factory testing and did not make it into any consumer products and so no harm was done. Having said that we continue to review the risks associated with our existing and new product lines and take account of safety issues in new product development.
We have also worked with partners to develop new products to enhance the health and safety of our end consumers. At the beginning of 2014 we launched Insectiban, the world’s first anti-bed bug sewing threads and zips. These threads and zips are treated with a chemical based on naturally occurring, durable plant extracts and oils. The innovative treatment, developed in Coats laboratories in Turkey for threads and in Germany for zips, is harmless to humans and pets, but fatal to bed bugs. Later in the year we took this a step further and began to look for complete products to help protect the end consumer from bed bugs. Coats is working with a mattress manufacturer to look at mattress encasements for the domestic and institutional markets, especially hotels and hospitals. Together we are developing a zip and seam structure that provides a physical barrier as well as an insecticidal barrier – ultimate protection!
Read more about this in our case study.
Product provenance and traceability
We have strict controls over raw material and product distribution across our sites. We commission independent testing of our end products according to the OEKO-TEX® Standard 100, checking for harmful substances which may have entered the production process at any point in the supply chain, not just in our own facilities. The OEKO-TEX® tests are tailored to meet the intended end use of the material. The more intensively a textile or thread comes into contact with the skin (and the more sensitive the skin), the higher the human ecological requirements are to be met.
Successfully tested products are allocated to four different product classes. Coats products are tested to the highest levels and fall into the most stringent classes I or II:
- Product class I: Textiles and textile toys for babies and small children up to the age of three, e.g. underwear, romper suits, bed linen, bedding, soft toys etc.
- Product class II: Textiles which, when used as intended, have a large part of their surface in direct contact with the skin, e.g. underwear, bed linen, terry cloth items, shirts, blouses etc.
93% of our Apparel & Footwear thread (A&F) facilities produce OEKO-TEX® certified products. During 2015, 38 out of 41 of our A&F facilities were re-certified by OEKO-TEX®, and 37 of these A&F facilities (90%) produce OEKO-TEX® Class I products.
We are committed to ensuring that no animals are caused unnecessary pain or suffering in the creation of our products and raw materials. We expect high standards of animal welfare and will only work with suppliers throughout our supply chain that have a good track record in this area.
Our Animal Welfare Policy covers all products and raw materials we buy, but special attention is given to Angora and Merino wool as they can raise specific ethical concerns.
All Coats suppliers, and their suppliers, are expected to meet the standards contained in both our Supplier Code and this Animal Welfare Policy. If we find that any of our suppliers do not meet these standards, we are committed to finding alternative sources, or working with the supplier to find alternative husbandry techniques.