Risk analysis begins with material selection
For our products, we have set ourselves even stricter limits for harmful substances than those stipulated by law. In each season, we assess the risk of contamination of all new articles and products. We pay particular attention to all of our children's products. products that are worn directly on the skin, and those that must meet special standards and regulations (such as the Ordinance on Personal Protective Equipment).
Here are the most important steps in our risk assessment process.
1. Risk assessment of the product
Certain products are subject to special regulations and standards. The measures and processes required are initiated right at the beginning during the concept phase for new VAUDE products.
2. Supplier selection / production facilities
The selection of reliable, good suppliers is the most important step in our risk assessment. Whenever possible, we use suppliers that are bluesign® system partners and that have implemented the input stream management approach at their production sites. These suppliers use only safe chemicals and both the materials and the manufacturing process correspond to the best available technology (BAT) approach.
3. Material-related risk assessment / Chemical-realted risk assessment
A wide range of chemicals are used during the manufacturing process for the materials we use and these chemicals can contain a variety of dangerous or hazardous substances. For this reason, there are many different pollutant tests that are used, depending on the chemical being tested.
4. Material Categories
Textiles and textile goods made from natural fibers
Textiles and textile goods made from synthetic fibers
Textiles and textile goods with prints /coatings
Plastics (PU, PVC, rubber, TPU) MRSL Test range per material, TPR, EVA etc.)
6. Systematic analysis of hazardous substances
A flow chart shows the pollutant management rating system that we follow for each product. In this risk analysis, we find out which tests are necessary to detect any existing hazardous substances.
• Assessment method for hazardous substances management (PDF-Download)
Our assessment system is divided into an assessment of the product's area of use, an evaluation of the materials used and an assessment of the overall product.
For example, if we make a bike shirt for children made of synthetic fibers with a large print, then the T-shirt falls into the highest risk class with regard to the application area. The synthetic material is at a higher risk for contaminants such as antimony or organotin compounds. The large print may also contain plasticizers, thereby increasing the risk. But if we use bluesign® approved materials for the shirt, the risk is very low because the use of these materials has already been rigorously controlled.
For new materials, existing test reports or certificates are evaluated and additional tests are carried out if necessary in order to ensure compliance with our MRSL and legal requirements.
Sample testing on the finished product is only intended to ensure that our chemical management system has worked. In addition, we take several articles from the production line each season and have them tested in an independent laboratory.
When there are discrepancies, we evaluate them in accordance with VAUDE’s own very strict limits or the legal limits of the sale country. Necessary measures are taken. In the worst-case scenario, we destroy the merchandise.
We have developed a producer ranking that helps us to identify weak areas in our system. Together with our producers, a risk analysis of their local supply chain (non-nominated materials) has been carried out since 2014 in order to further minimize risks.
All producers are evaluated according to this new system. We have found significant differences in the organization of chemical management with various producers. Together with the producers, we develop and track Corrective Action Plans.
We rely on partnership-based, active relationships with our producers to tackle problems at their source. We want to make sure – right from the beginning of production – that products meet our requirements. When we examine finished merchandise at the end of production, we have only limited or no ability to react.