The supply of our products is complex, international, and presents many ecological and social challenges.
It is quite right that you should expect us to assume responsibility for the conditions under which your VAUDE product is manufactured. And this also goes for ecological and social issues, from the raw material to the production of the fibers, yarns and fabrics to the finished product.
We view it as our responsibility to push these themes in countries where levels of awareness are still relatively low.
VAUDE has already been a pioneer in the implementation of fair working conditions with our production partners, as well as in the reduction of environmentally harmful substances used by our materials suppliers and in fulfilling our high standards in quality.
But now we are taking it a step further and demanding fair working conditions, environmental friendliness and quality throughout the entire supply chain – from manufacturers and suppliers of materials alike. By taking this stance we are setting ourselves a huge challenge and looking to renew our role as a pioneer.
The challenges are huge. But it is also part of our overarching sustainable approach: We want to accept responsibility for our entire supply chain.
Graphic: Fair Wear Foundation
Our direct business partners for product manufacturing are our producers. They prepare the fabrics, cut out pattern pieces and sew them into finished products. Quality control and packaging finish off the process.
In general, the textile and clothing industry is very labor intensive. The manufacturing of our VAUDE products is very demanding. It requires many people working on many sewing machines – and naturally we need to ensure fair working conditions for them. Read more here to find out how we put this into practice.
Most of our materials are bought by our manufacturers in accordance with our specifications for quality, color, quantity, and from material manufacturers that we have already carefully vetted (selected). So, in addition to knowing all of our producers, we also know all of our material suppliers. Find out more.
Dialog with these material suppliers whose substances and ingredients we nominate is ongoing and extensive, because they have a big influence on the sustainability of our products. We have worked together with many of them for years and have developed new materials specifically for VAUDE.
Sometimes, our producers use local suppliers for small parts. We now know all of these suppliers and have incorporated them into our monitoring process for hazardous substances; we provide training on how to deal with chemicals and regularly analyze their chemical testing. With coordinated efforts between quality management, purchasing and our team, we are implementing measures that help suppliers achieve constant improvement.
»Businesses that consciously take responsibility for their entire economic activities are an important pillar for promoting global economic, social and technological progress in harmony with nature.«
VAUDE Vendor Management is a comprehensive system which we use to guide and support our partners throughout the entire business relationship. The business relationship is divided up into 6 phases: Selection process, vetting, supplier assessment, strategy meeting, development and termination.
We have developed a strict system for the assessment of potential partners. Our local experts inspect their production sites by using detailed checklists divided into three areas: Social standards, environmental management and quality. In addition, we sit down for intensive talks with the management team to see whether their working methods are compatible with our approach and whether we can work together.
Then, we decide whether the new partner is a good fit for us, or not.
All our partners must sign an agreement to comply with our requirements and agree to work together with us on further improvements.
VAUDE has trained its local teams of experts so that they can check the performance of our partners with regards to our sustainability criteria. We have developed a special tool for the purpose that covers both international standards and local laws. Sewing manufacturing sites come under the FWF Scope and are audited regularly by the FWF.
The following aspects are checked during inspections:
Environment (Chemicals management, emissions, wastewater)
During the on-site screening, we carry out inspections of the entire production facility. We also check documents and conduct interviews with employees and management.
After the inspection, we work together to draw up a binding corrective action plan that clearly lists any discrepancies.
The VAUDE experts support the new partner throughout the whole improvement process with their vast experience.
Progress of the corrective action plan is also monitored at regular intervals.
In 2018, we conducted the first performance checks and reviewed 10 suppliers in the second and third stages of our supply chain. Our local teams monitored the operations and have since supported the implementation of the improvement measures.
At the end of the financial year, we evaluate all our partners throughout all areas of our work together. The evaluation is based on objective analysis of our ERP system and the evaluation of the departments involved.
We regularly hold talks with our partners, where the results of the assessments are discussed and necessary improvement measures are decided upon. In additions, long-term goals and growth objective are determined.
Evaluating our partners, allows us to see in which areas support is still needed. This means that our VAUDE experts can advise and help our partners make progress in a targeted way. Where required, we also set up a dedicated training program.
There are various reasons why a business relationship might be terminated. If the relationship is dissolved from our side, then we give our producers ample notice and work out an exit strategy together, reducing the quantities we order in stages. This helps our partner to properly prepare for the end of the business relationship and gives them the opportunity to look for new clients.
Environmental protection is very important at VAUDE. Manufacturers for and suppliers to VAUDE are obliged to uphold environmental standards through our MRSL and contracts. In collaborative partnerships we work together to make production more efficient and thus reduce the environmental impact.
Social responsibility is very important at VAUDE. We not only engage with social issues concerning our employees in our local area of Tettnang-Obereisenbach, but we also foster good working conditions for all people involved in the creation of our products throughout the world.
Quality is a matter of course for us. But this cannot be achieved without effort. Our teams throughout the world work closely together with the product development and quality management teams and of course with our manufacturers and suppliers, to ensure a high level of quality.
VAUDE believes in sustainable, collaborative, lengthy and partner-based business relationships.
To us, sustainability is like a team sport. That is why we give our partners rigorous support with implementing our requirements in the supply chain.
Thanks to our local team of experts we always have up-to-date information on our production facilities. Our partners can turn to them any time for advice and assistance, and they help ensure that conditions throughout our supply chain are steadily improving.