Search Report
2015 Sustainability Report
published 2016/07/13

Definitive environmental-friendliness

The health and safety of our customers is important to us. Therefore, we apply the highest standards and have made quality management a top priority.

We only produce what we would wear ourselves

VAUDE’s roots are in mountain sports. Our customers, therefore, have high expectations regarding the quality and performance of our products. The safety and health of our customers is something that we care about deeply. Whether it’s the reliability of our products on challenging mountain or bike tours, or the products’ chemical finish: we put our expertise and controlled technologies to use in order to supply safe products with the greatest possible performance.

Many VAUDE employees are themselves active in mountain sports or biking and demand the highest quality and exceptional functionality for their products, just as our customers do. Their apparel and gear should offer dependable protection from wind, rain and sun, facilitate athletic performance and be a daily, valued companion for years to come.

Top priority: chemical management and product safety

The management of chemicals and product safety has a high priority in our quality management system: the Quality Management Division reports directly to the Executive Committee. 

Consumers are becoming increasingly critical and expect high-quality, safe, healthy, environmentally friendly and socially responsible products. We are taking this growing demand very seriously. Even legal regulations are becoming more stringent and the burden they entail more complex and costly. We want to take the lead on this issue as well, and not wait to react until new laws have been made.

Consistent avoidance of harmful substances

As a company that takes its responsibility seriously, VAUDE sets the highest standards in functionality and environmentally friendly manufacturing of its products. Therefore, for more than ten years, we have worked together with bluesign® technologies ag. 

bluesign® is the most stringent manufacturing standard in the textile industry; it consistently avoids harmful substances along the entire production chain, using best available technologies. The bluesign® limits are more stringent than the legally prescribed limits.

Special tests when it comes to safety

All safety-related items such as child carriers and avalanche backpacks are subjected to a detailed risk assessment and a Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) which includes construction, system, and production process. This includes the design, the system, as well as the manufacturing process.

This risk analysis is drawn up and evaluated by a team with members from design, product management, production and quality management. The goal is to detect possible weaknesses and risks related to consumer safety during the development phase and to initiate appropriate corrective and preventive actions.

Tracking down potential improvements

In addition, we analyze the repairs made by our product service department to acquire more information about where still further potential for improvement exists. Despite all of our efforts, no 100-percent safety guarantee can be made. This simply doesn’t exist.

Monitoring, analyzing and deriving corrective action are important tools for ensuring or increasing product and consumer safety. For many of our products, detailed instructions or usage instructions are included, which provide additional protection against misuse.

Examination by an independent third party

All products that have a direct impact on the safety of our customers, such as child carriers or avalanche backpacks, are checked by independent third parties such as the "TÜV Süd". These products are provided with the appropriate labels such as GS label, CE label, etc.

Working together on improvements

The textile supply chain is very complex; materials are usually produced more than two years prior to the time that a product finally arrives in retail stores. This means that current problems cannot be addressed immediately and that corrective measures can only be implemented at a later point in time. 

Legislation in producing countries is often not as stringent as it is in European countries. Therefore, we have to consistently educate and raise the awareness of all parties within the supply chain.
A family company such as VAUDE can only achieve this together with strategic partners and in collaboration with the competition. That is why we are working together with bluesign® technologies ag, the BSI, the EOG (European Outdoor Group) and ZDHC – an association of members from the international textile industry for the control of chemical use in supplier-operating textile industry. Only together with others, including larger companies, can we achieve sustainable change.

The VAUDE Quality Team in Asia monitors compliance with our high standards of quality in all production facilities. Product managers and quality management receive regular feedback on all information gathered. This information is a key part of our continuous improvement process.

Revision of the Green shape criteria

In order to improve the sustainability and safety of our products even further, we have revised our Green Shape criteria. The entire product life cycle is taken into consideration and evaluated.

Intensive dialogue with suppliers

Our frequent random sampling system for testing for harmful substances is an indicator of the status of our suppliers. The results have a direct influence on supplier evaluation and thus on supplier strategy as well. All abnormalities are reflected back to our supply chain, and corrective action and preventative measures are planned. 

We recognize our responsibility for the conditions under which VAUDE products are manufactured worldwide. We gladly accept this responsibility as an ongoing challenge in a globalized market.

Training for suppliers and producers

This, however, does not mean that we leave our partners to face these challenges alone. Our producers are evaluated in terms of their knowledge and level of development in the areas of environmental management and pollution. An individualized training and support program is then initialized and implemented for each producer.

Our material suppliers also receive individualized training and support. To assist in this, a 2-year pilot project in collaboration with the Federal Ministry’s support program for economic cooperation and development is currently in the works. 

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Raising the awareness of producers and suppliers with respect to harmful substances in the supply chain and continuing to deepen the knowledge of all those involved is an essential factor for us in the aspect of Consumer Health and Safety. 

Many VAUDE products are manufactured with long-term producers. VAUDE has a long tradition of partnership, responsible and personal relationships, both in Europe and in many other countries as well.

GRI:   G4-DMA Consumer Health and Safety
Disclosure on Management Approach Consumer Health and Safety
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