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Case studies

We are committed to our CR programme and around the world our business units are undertaking initiatives and projects that support this.

The case studies below explain some of the activities under way and demonstrate how we are meeting our corporate responsibilities and developing best practice that we can share across our global operations.

Our Products

Coats’ Product Safety programme ensures that all products supplied to the customer are safe to use and do not contain any potentially allergenic or harmful substances.  The programme is underpinned by rigorously enforcing our Coats Restricted Substance List (CRSL), which is now in its twelfth year of operation.

Our CRSL is drawn from the current legal regulations and directives in all of the countries in which we operate, as well as our customers’ and brands’ own restricted substances lists.  It extends to some 800 chemicals and 160 restricted dyes and all of our suppliers are required to comply with it.

800+ chemicals covered by our CRSL

In 2016, we split the potentially hazardous substances into two separate lists to make our requirements clearer for our suppliers and thus make our Product Safety program more robust:

  • A Coats Product Restricted Substance List (CPRSL), which states the absolute concentration limits that cannot be exceeded in our final products.
  • A Coats Manufacturing Restricted Substance List (CMRSL) which defines the limits which our raw materials and process chemicals must meet before entering our manufacturing process

We also introduced a more restricted version of the CRSL for industrial products that don’t have end consumer contact, which focusses more on safety of our operators and those of our customers and environmental impacts.

In September we wrote to all of our chemical and raw material suppliers asking them to confirm compliance with the updated CMRSL, setting out the substances that are restricted or banned from all goods and materials sourced by Coats.

We have also taken on board the ‘Joint Roadmap to Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals’, published in November 2011 by several leading fashion brands and retailers such as Nike, adidas, Puma, Li Ning, C&A and H&M.

One of the goals set by this group is to have all 11 ‘priority chemicals’ eliminated or substituted from members’ products and their manufacture by 2020, and we are taking steps towards achieving this goal:

By 2012, we had placed a ‘Usage ban’ in our CRSL on all of these 11 hazardous chemicals.  We worked with our suppliers who used some of these substances in the production of our process chemicals to first of all identify them in their base chemicals and intermediates, and then systematically purge them from their supply chain.

For example, in June 2012 we found very low, but detectable levels of one of these ‘priority chemicals’ – an alkyl phenol ethoxylate (APEO) – on one of our thread products.  APEOs, although commonly found in washing and cleaning products, are becoming banned since they are endocrine disruptors in humans and animals.  Even though the measured amount of APEO in this thread product was well below the current industry limits, we immediately tracked down the APEO source and worked with the raw material supplier to replace the non-compliant spin finish with an APEO-free alternative.

In 2014 we embarked on a project to replace all long chain perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) used in our water resistant products with less harmful ‘C6’ perfluorinated chemicals.  Extensive trials were carried out on a number of products to achieve optimal performance and with no deterioration after prolonged use.  We completed the progressive transition from C8 to C6 to C4-based PFCs before the end of 2015, thus, we have eliminated from our supply chain all traces of two of the most persistent carcinogens associated with water resistant textile finishes - Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

Now all of our thread and zipper products are APEO, PFOS and PFOA-free and there will be none detected in effluent from our facilities.

These are just some of the ways our CPRSL and CMRSL are setting industry standards.

Recently launched by the Speciality team, Coats Vulcon is a non-toxic and environmentally friendly treatment which provides excellent adhesion to rubber and can be applied to a variety of raw materials, including polyester, nylon, aramid and hybrids.

An alternative to RFL (a chemical coating), Coats Vulcon uses a unique nano-reinforcement protein platform technology which is safe (non-toxic) and resilient. It is mainly based on a synthetic protein, carbon black and synthetic latex and is water based.

The protein was originally extracted from aspen trees, but modified versions of the protein are now produced by industrial fermentation and hence no trees are cut down in the process.

The proteins can be modified to adhere to a variety of materials, for example rubber on one side and textile on the other.  Coats Vulcon is therefore an adaptable technology that can easily be modified for different applications and markets. It can be used in the production of industrial and automotive hoses (pictured), tyres and power transmission belts. Its benefits include an extended shelf life (can be used after months in storage), high UV resistant adhesion, low energy consumption during the production process, it maintains original yarn flexibility and it is cost friendly when compared to other eco-friendly treatments.

www.coatsindustrial.com/en/products-applications/engineered-yarns/vulcon

Coats is a world leader in developing innovative industrial thread and consumer crafts products.  In 2014 we launched our latest pioneering product – Coats Insectiban, the world’s first range of sewing threads and zips that helps protect against bed bugs.

Insectiban 1Bed bugs are an increasing problem. They typically live in the seams and tape edges of mattresses and upholstered furniture, where they hide and lay their eggs.  Their bite is painless but their saliva is an irritant and can cause inflammation and secondInsectiban 2ary infections from scratching.  We are proud to create a product that helps combat a public health issue.

In addition, we are currently working with a mattress manufacturer to produce mattress encasements with an enclosed zip and seam structure.  These will provide a physical barrier to bed bugs in addition to the insecticidal barrier.

How does Coats Insectiban work?

Our treated sewing threads and zips help control an infestation of bed bugs, even if other parts of the bedding have not been treated.  The treatment is an insecticide, which (like any ‘biocide’) suppresses the harmful organism – in this case, bed bugs.  However, while other biocides can be hazardous to humans and harmful to ecosystems if released into the environment, the treatments we use are based on naturally occurring durable plant extracts and oils.

Therefore we see Coats Insectiban as a triple win: a health win for the consumer, a health win for the environment, and a commercial win for Coats.

For more information about Coats Insectiban, please go to our dedicated page here.

Recycling is becoming increasingly important in a world coming to terms with the challenges of environmental and climate change.  At home we are all learning to recycle glass, paper and plastic and for many of us recycling has become a part of our lifestyle.  At Coats we also take this issue very seriously and have developed products made from recycled raw materials in our Industrial division.  

EcoVerde sewing and embroidery threads  

Ecoverde We recognise that consumers increasingly want to know more about the sustainability of the products they buy and how they are made.   Coats EcoVerde is the umbrella brand that we use for our range of environmentally friendly products which are intended for the garment industry.  Coats EcoVerde recycled polyester, the first of these products to be launched, is a sewing and embroidery thread range made from recycled plastic (PET) bottle flakes.    The PET bottle is a very useful container but it is a problem for the environment as it is non-biodegradable.  With millions of such bottles being produced daily around the world, the disposal of the used bottles has become a major concern, but the EcoVerde range gives them a new lease of life!  The bottles are collected, washed, sorted, and ground into flakes which are then depolymerised back into their original components.  When this material is re-polymerised into chip form, extruded and drawn, it becomes a purified filament yarn from which EcoVerde recycled polyester sewing and embroidery threads are made.    

Ecoverde 2      

Three versions of the thread have been produced: two designed for use in lockstitch and chain stitch and a trilobal version of EcoVerde recycled polyester, which has heightened lustre, for use in embroidery.  

EcoVerde Zips  

Ecoverde 3To extend its commitment to sustainability further along the apparel supply chain, Coats Opti has pioneered the development of Opti S EcoVerde.  This is a unique spiral zip made from polyester multifilament and monofilament yarns manufactured from polymer generated from recycled plastic bottles.   Opti S EcoVerde delivers the twin benefit of reducing the amount of landfill space needed to breakdown the bottles after use as well as avoiding the use of finite fossil resources to produce the yarns.  

At Coats we consider the direct impacts of our product manufacture and the indirect impacts that occur throughout the lifecycle of our products’ development and their use.  In light of pressing environmental and climate challenges, we are looking for ways to reduce our environmental footprint and at the same time lower our costs.  Recycling and reusing materials are great ways to achieve this. 

Our packaging can be made of a number of different materials.  There is cardboard, paper and plastic for our cones, and poly bags, labels and packaging materials for shipping the finished goods.  We follow the Reduce-Reuse-Recycle mantra to minimise our waste.  We try to reduce the volume of virgin materials in our packaging, we reuse materials where we can, and we try to recycle materials as much as possible.

Since 2011, we have made great progress in increasing the amount of recycled materials in our source packaging.  Six years after starting this initiative, on average more than half of our packaging now comes from recycled materials.

In 2016, on average 58% of our packaging came from recycled materials – that’s 2% more than in 2015!  We are doing particularly well in using recycled materials for cardboard and paper cones, and packing/shipping supplies.  88% of our cardboard comes from recycled materials, while 77% of our paper cones are recycled and our packing/shipping supplies are at 89%.

Coats is working hard to find more ways to reuse our materials and purchase from recycled sources so that our packaging becomes more ever more sustainable.

 

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