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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 Partners

As the leading global manufacturer of threads, zips and related products, Coats plays a key role in the apparel and footwear supply chain. Our success in the marketplace relies on responsible behaviour and good corporate citizenship. We also want to extend this to our customers and suppliers.

In 2015, Coats developed a detailed Supplier Code. The Code describes the standards and values we expect from our suppliers in terms of labour practices, environmental management, responsible sourcing and business conduct.

Coats China programme:

During 2015, Coats China successfully rolled out the Code to 75 of its key suppliers (pictured).  Out of a total of 880 different suppliers, these 75 are strategic to Coats’ business in China because between them they represent over two-thirds of Coats’ purchases of goods and services there. The suppliers were invited to one of four workshops at different sites in Shanghai, Shenzhen (2) and Tianjin.

Global rollout programme

In 2016, following the success in China, the Code was rolled out globally, to all of our suppliers located in our primary markets. The Coats team ran a total of 20 one-day workshops across 15 different countries. In addition to the events that took place in China in 2015, there have been Supplier Code workshops in Turkey, Vietnam, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Brazil, Mexico, Sri Lanka, India, Hungary, Germany, Italy and the USA.

During the workshops our team presented the Supplier Code and explained the background to the initiative. In breakout sessions the attendees learned how to apply the Code in their own organisations. After the workshop sessions the suppliers were asked to assess their own CR performance and review how closely they currently comply with the Code. If they found any compliance failures, Coats asked suppliers to map out an improvement plan. Coats will provide ongoing support to help them fully comply with the Code and align their CR performance with our values.

Coats representatives from our secondary markets attended those workshops to, in turn, roll out the Code in their own country and any other neighbouring countries. All of the secondary and tertiary markets have now rolled out the Supplier Code to their own suppliers and so far more than 80% have been engaged.

Feedback from the 592 suppliers who attended a workshop was very positive. This was reflected in the high levels of interest and engagement seen throughout the workshops.  Anonymous feedback from the events suggested that 67% of suppliers who attended the event ‘Strongly agreed’ that the Coats Supplier Code will be a useful tool for their organisation to improve in the areas of business ethics, safety, environmental management and labour practices. 71% also ‘Strongly agreed’ that the workshop was a worthwhile use of their time.

Coats is committed to working closely with its partners to develop responsible business practices. We are constantly looking for ways to improve our standards of environmental and ethical supply chain management.

Next steps are to follow up with specific half-day events in certain countries to focus on particular areas of the Supplier Code, where Coats feels that suppliers require more help in their understanding of the Code and compliance to it.


Project 24 is an exciting initiative that was launched by a non-profit organization named Planet Water, on World Water Day, to bring clean, safe water to 24,000 people in 24 hours in 24 communities across the world.

In July 2016, as part of Project 24, Coats Phong Phu, together with its joint venture partner Phong Phu Corporation, sponsored the installation of a water tower at a school in an impoverished part of Vietnam. The tower will bring clean water to 2,700 people in My Hiep village in the Ninh Thuan province of South Central Vietnam. This is the second project that Coats has supported in this area.  During 2015, Coats sponsored a water tower at a primary school in Cambodia.

Bill Watson, Managing Director, Coats Phong Phu said ‘We are proud to sponsor this project and make a dramatic improvement to the quality of life and health of this local community. The villagers currently drink untreated water directly from contaminated wells, so the benefits of fresh, clean water provided by the new water tower are immeasurable.’

At Coats, we take our responsibility for employee safety very seriously, and if our work involves driving, that responsibility extends to the roads.

Road accidents are a major cause of occupational death and injury around the world.  The World Health Organization estimates that 1.24 million deaths are caused by road traffic accidents each year, and between 20 and 50 million people suffer non-fatal injuries.  90% of the deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, like Indonesia, and a significant proporation occur during working hours.

Early in 2013, Coats Indonesia’s HR department ran two road safety awareness and vehicle maintenance training sessions, in partnership with their rental car supplier, TRAC Astra Rent a Car.  31 company drivers and employees from the Sales Department attended.

The training was very well received and we anticipate the training will reduce the number of accidents and incidents in the future.

TRAC is running regular refresher sessions to ensure Coats employees always drive with caution and maintain their vehicles.

The photographs below show the 2013 training sessions and participants.

Road Safety Training  Indonesia

Road Safety Training indonesia

Road Safety Training  Indonesia

At Coats, we strive to build strong, lasting relationships with our customers.  One of the ways we do this is by helping them solve challenging problems.  Satisfied, well-managed customers mean healthly and enduring business partnerships for Coats.

Inaccurate purchasing is one of the key problems in the textile supply chain – it has an impact on the environment and it also erodes profitability.

Coats has discovered that the factories which buy our thread typically order 15% more than they need for their manufacturing.  The excess tends to accumulate in warehouses and is then sold at heavily discounted prices or simply discarded.

To help address this problem, Coats developed a tool called StockMatch.  StockMatch uses a simple to use hand-held device which keeps track of thread volumes held in storage.  It also accurately pinpoints where each type of thread can be found in the warehouse so that if stock exists, it can be located quickly and easily instead of having to order more.

To date customer feedback on the tool has been very positive and in six months we have helped them use over 165,000 cones of excess thread, reducing waste, and saving them money.

Stockmatch tool

Working in partnership on matters that impact our business and the communities where we operate is very important to Coats.  Because we are located in so many different places, it is vital that we connect with local organisations who can help us respond in a way that is best suited for their particular culture.  

In Colombia, Coats Cadena Andina actively supports a programme of crafts training courses across the country.  These courses are set up on a micro-enterprise basis and by covering the cost of instruction Coats has helped people to develop a skill that can improve their livelihood.  In 2012 8,000 people were trained across the country.  

A few years ago, the team decided it could have a greater impact if it worked with the Capullos Foundation of Pereira, a charity that provides support to kidney patients awaiting organ transplants, as well as their families.  Knitting and other craft-making can be very therapeutic and additionally, the new skill can help supplement family income during a difficult time. 

The collaboration with the Capullos Foundation provides craft training courses at number of medical centres in Colombia.  Coats donates all the thread and yarn for the crafts, and since the beginning of the collaboration 1,168 patients and family members have been trained.  In 2012 318 people learned a craft as a part of the programme.

Columbia crafts 1

Columbia crafts 3



Coats recognises the value of working in partnership on matters that impact our business and the communities where we operate.  We are spread across many geographic locations and teaming up with local organisations can help us respond in a way that is best suited for the local context.  

We see the health of our people and our communities as important because it underpins productivity and happiness.  Health is a necessary starting point for any individual and community to flourish.  

In Pailles, Mauritius, there are on-going gaps in access to information and screening for a range of health concerns.  Therefore, our local team identified an opportunity to partner with JCI Curepipe, a community group seeking to initiate positive change in local people.  Together we have worked on a series of health campaigns covering a range of issues, including:

  • Health Challenges targeting older people and promoting a society in which old people are cared for, respected and valued;
  • Awareness Programmes on Non-Communicable Diseases with a particular focus on heart disease, diabetes and cancer; ·      
  • Awareness Programmes on Communicable Diseases with particular focus on HIV/AIDS;
  • On-going awareness of healthy eating, proper nutrition and the importance of a balanced diet;
  • Promoting the importance of exercise in order to keep fit.  

Coats and JCI have worked together for over two years, organising more than 10 different events.  Examples being:

  • An awareness forum on nutrition and diabetes.  This was followed by an educational seminar on HIV/AIDS, cancer and sexual health, seeking to raise awareness and understanding of these serious health issues.
  • The annual ‘Take Care Lepep Health Day’ (lepep means people in Mauritius) which offered HIV/AIDS and diabetes tests, dental care for young people, demonstrations on exercise and its benefits, tips on nutrition and eating well, a forum on cancer, and a blood donation campaign.

All the activities were well received by the community who really appreciated the access to health facilities and information.

LEPEP day poster


Lepep day team

As a leading global thread supplier, Coats is committed to maintaining and promoting world class standards of business integrity.  One way that Coats North America supports these beliefs is through collaboration with its plastic support supplier.  Every day, we collect thousands of used plastic supports from our supply chain and internal processing and send them to the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department (SCVRD) for recycling.

The SCVRD centre’s mission is to “enable eligible South Carolinians with disabilities to prepare for, achieve and maintain competitive employment”.  They operate 24 work training centres located throughout the state and contract with many businesses and industries to do outsource work.

They take the supports and – using their equipment and manpower – process them into small plastic chips suitable for injection moulding.  The chips are then sent to our supplier, who produces thread spools of various sizes for reuse.

In this way, we are keeping thousands of kilograms of plastic out of the landfills each year, whilst at the same time helping those in need in our local community. See more about the work the SCVRD does at their website.


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