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TETTNANG – Outdoor brand Vaude has announced that the project it launched two years ago, to encourage emissions management, has come to a successful end. The ‘Environmental Stewardship in the Supply Chain’ project ended its two year course after working with Vaude’s Asian suppliers on the issues of environmental protection, energy stewardship and emissions management.

Long and complex supply chains mean many apparel products contain around 50 different components by the time of completion. As a founding member of the ‘Alliance for Sustainable Textiles’, Vaude has therefore focussed on their own suppliers to establish higher environmental standards and improve resource efficiency in the supply chain. To ensure all products are made with the cleanest production methods possible, Vaude aimed to create full transparency throughout the entire supply chain.

The report of the project has found there has been 550MT of waste saved, alongside 5500mᵌ of water and 18 million kWh of energy. The report also claims that the project has reduced CO₂ emissions by 5,000 tonnes annually. Not only the environment has benefit from the project, with the factories themselves saving an estimated 50,000 Euros per year.

Alongside Arqum GmbH experts for occupational safety and environmental management, the project provided training and workshops with a view to “helping people to help themselves”, as Vaude put it in a statement. Bettina Roth, head of quality and chemicals management at Vaude, designed the project, which saw 8 suppliers take part. After 36 individual factory consultation visits, Vaude CEO Antje von Dewitz said: “I am delighted that the project has brought so many measurable results and sustainable improvements for our partners, for us and for the environment. It shows that with collective determination, an ideological goal can be professionally implemented when we succeed in convincing the participants of the importance of the issues”.

Voluntary participation by Vaude’s largest suppliers meant that 80 per cent of their primary materials and lining fabrics were covered by the project. While aiming to transfer knowledge into practical action through the use of intensive workshops, 100 improvement measures in technology and organisation are being implemented.

Jens Haubensak, Managing Director of Arqum GmbH said: “The results are impressive and show quite clearly that a factory's commitment to sustainability also pays off in financial terms. With this project, we could also demonstrate that with coordinated and partnership-based collaboration, the demanding requirements within the industry can become more efficient and be addressed more effectively than by many isolated, individual measures”.

A modernization process, as a result of the project, has led to reductions in energy use in all the factories that took part. Vaude say this was achieved by insulating pipes, shutting down hydraulic pumps when inactive, introducing LED lights and by installing solar panels.

The safety conditions of the factory’s workers has also improved after safety instructions were translated into local languages and training in protective work and chemical handling was provided. The introduction of professional chemical management systems at all factories, had led to the automation of storage, transportation and disposal of chemicals.

Although the project has now come to an end, Vaude says it is looking to roll out the same project to all of their material suppliers and also work with their competitors to promote the issue of energy stewardship. 

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