Globalization also has a dark side. It often goes hand in hand with environmental pollution and unfair working conditions in a widely diversified supply chain. An outdoor jacket, for example, consists of approximately 50 components. These are made by a wide variety of companies that deliver them to production facilities where they are used to make jackets. Both at the company headquarters in Tettnang as well as in its production facilities, VAUDE has already implemented high environmental and social standards. Now, in a pioneering role, we are taking this process one step further and are also setting sustainability goals with our suppliers in the upstream stages – for example, at spinning mills, weaving mills and dyeing works. VAUDE is voluntarily committed to higher transparency along the entire global supply chain and is convinced that companies both can and should make a positive contribution toward meeting these challenges.
Manufacturers currently have a limited ability to influence the production processes of upstream manufacturing stages because they have no direct business relationships with suppliers. But the manufacturing steps in this part of the supply chain are often very resource intensive and harmful to the environment. This why it is so important to VAUDE to ensure clean production processes and safe workplaces and to avoid environmental pollution locally in the upstream stages as well.
In autumn 2015, the pilot project "Environmental Stewardship in the Supply Chain" was launched. Over the next two years, the most important suppliers in Asia will be trained with the help of external experts on environmental management and social standards. The project is intended to share knowledge and practices and empower local people to independently advance their own sustainable development.
»Now that we have achieved our goal of all Tier 1 Production featuring eco-friendly manufacturing under fair working conditions, we are turning our attention to ensuring that the components in our products are consistently produced with environmentally friendly and fair manufacturing as well.«
The project was well received by a large proportion of material suppliers. Thanks to the voluntary participation of suppliers, 80% by volume of the primary and lining materials that VAUDE processes are already included in the project. The goal is to roll out the project over the next few years for all material suppliers.
»In our experience, when suppliers develop an understanding and awareness of pollution prevention and environmental protection, they implement new practices thoroughly. This is a long-term, sustainable approach that works much better than mere testing of products.«
But, the matter doesn’t end here; as a founding member of the "Alliance for Sustainable Textile" VAUDE is using this project to act as a role model for best practices, which could provide momentum for the entire textile industry.
In September 2016, VAUDE invited experts from the field of politics, research, the outdoor industry, and specialized journalists to participate in a discourse of this project. Present were representatives of the Federal Environmental Ministry, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany’s Investment and Development Company (DEG), as well as the Federation of German Sporting Goods Industry (BSI) and the industry association, European Outdoor Group.
»This project precisely identifies sticking points in the supply chain: building awareness and competence in the Far East. Together, we should tackle this issue in the industry. VAUDE deserves great credit for being a pioneer in this issue.«
»We believe that the combination of knowledge transfer and awareness of environmental and sustainability issues are instrumental for improving working conditions in one of the largest and most important industries in developing countries. We are pleased to be supporting VAUDE in this pilot project.«
Nominated for the CSR Prize of the Federal German Government