As an apparel manufacturer, product life cycle assessments show us that our biggest environmental impacts are in our supply chain. These impacts are systemic, and best addressed through collaborative solutions. That’s why we are members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, and use shared tools to measure impacts. We require our suppliers to use the HIGG INDEX 2.0 facilities module, which considers key environmental impact areas: energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, water use, wastewater/effluent, air emissions, waste, and chemicals management. The index helps our suppliers:
This information will ultimately help us understand our product and material footprints in a way that informs our product design and development.
Under our VENDOR CODE OF ETHICS, suppliers must comply with applicable local laws, regulations, and environmental conventions. Suppliers are required to work towards reducing negative environmental impacts in daily operations and continuously strive for improvement.
We require that our suppliers have a written chemical management policy and/or procedure with training and systems in place. This applies to all chemicals in facilities where our products are produced and stored. These measures limit exposure and accidents and ensure chemicals are handled correctly and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
Since 2011 we have set a stringent Restricted Substances List (RSL) that lays out our standards for chemicals in products. Our RSL goes beyond regulatory compliance requirements to set voluntary limits on restricted substances. Suppliers are required to meet our RSL and do regular testing to confirm compliance.
Suppliers are required to reduce waste, reuse, and recycle whenever possible. Evidence must show that production, transportation, and disposal of hazardous waste complies with the most stringent standards and is handled in a responsible manner by licensed service providers.
We make sure air quality is upheld by examining on-site boilers during our assessments. We also evaluate treatment processes, test reports and examine records to ensure regular maintenance. Our teams will ask for a re-test if we aren’t satisfied with what we can determine with a visual inspection.
Treatment of effluent is one of the most important aspects of environmental sustainability in fabric mills. During an assessment, our teams examine the effluent treatment system to ensure it’s in good standing order. We also review test reports and treatment records, verifying the abilities of the treatment plant operator.
We require that top suppliers submit their energy use, carbon sources, targets and management approaches, and efficiency reductions, through the annual Higg Facility module.
We require that top suppliers submit their water uses and amounts, targets and management approaches, and reduction initiatives, through the annual Higg Facility module.
We require that suppliers submit their waste streams, reduction targets and management sytems, through the annual Higg Facility module. We encourage reduced waste and using fabrics in other ways where possible, and support through a product and fabric donation program for some regions.