Responsible sourcing of materials for our products
Our success in the marketplace relies on responsible behaviour and good corporate citizenship. One of these responsibilities is the maintenance of high environmental and social standards within the supply chain. We continually review our approach to ethical and sustainable supply chain management since it is vital that our relationships with business partners and suppliers are aligned with our approach to CR. We have developed a detailed supplier code of practice which has been rolled out world wide. For more information see Our Partners section of our CR reporting.
Not only do we consider the direct impacts of our product manufacture, we also look at the indirect impact throughout the whole lifecycle of their sourcing, 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 58% in 2016, up from 56% in 2015. For some of our packaging this proportion rises to over 85%. Check out our case studies 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 Coats Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (CMRSL) 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.
In September 2016, we contacted all our chemical and raw material suppliers asking them to confirm compliance with our updated CMRSL, setting out the substances that are restricted or banned from all goods and materials sourced by Coats. We rigorously apply the CMRSL to all consumer products, to ensure that all products we supply to our customers are fit and safe for the required end-use and are within predetermined limits of any potentially hazardous substances.
Our aim is to maintain zero incidence of product safety related issues. Out of over 23.4 million order lines during 2016 we had no justified health and safety related complaints involving our products. 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 2016, 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.
Coats commits to ZDHC Programme
In May 2016, we joined the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Programme which aims to scale efforts to eliminate hazardous chemicals from the global footwear and textile supply chain. Launched by six leading brands in 2011, the Programme has since grown to 22 signatory brands, four value-chain affiliates and three associate contributions. Coats is a value-chain affiliate.
Animal welfare and broader supplier standards
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.