The consumption of water, energy, materials and chemicals as well as emissions such as waste water and exhaust air have a major impact on the environment and on human beings – and therefore also on the sustainability of VAUDE-products. For this reason, VAUDE also promotes the improvement of working conditions and compliance with social standards among its suppliers. Furthermore, it participates in pioneering initiatives such as the FairWearFoundation and the Greenpeace detox-campaign.
In cooperation with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Investment and Development Company (DEG), Arqum and VAUDE launched the “Environmental Stewardship in the Textile Supply Chain” project in 2015.
The aim of the project was to raise awareness and competence of selected VAUDE material suppliers in the Asian procurement markets (e.g. Vietnam, China, Taiwan) so they can more easily meet the VAUDE sustainability requirements. Eight Asian material manufacturers for outdoor clothing and equipment took part in the project.
The environmental managers of the participating companies share their practical experience in implementing environmental protection measures in seminars and workshops and work on solutions together with the experts from VAUDE and Arqum to reduce environmental impacts along the textile supply chain. The topics that are dealt with have a high level of relevance within the industry and include aspects such as the safety of chemicals, energy and resource efficiency, environmental management systems, social standards and sustainability management. In addition, Arqum is developing concrete measures to improve the environmental performance of the participating companies as part of environmental consultation carried out on the spot. Besides economizing on energy, water and material consumption, the focus was here also on avoidance of the use of harmful substances and chemicals as well as improvement of working conditions in the companies.
The participating suppliers presented their optimum steps at the conclusion of the workshop on 25th May 2017 in Taipei. The results are impressive. In total, almost 100 process-related and organizational measures for improvement were identified, which to a large degree have already been implemented in the eight companies. Thus, the companies together save approx.18 million kWh in energy and reduce their CO2 emissions by approx. 5,200 metric tons each year. At the same time, the companies also achieved in connection with the implementation of projects in other environmental areas annual cost savings of approx. 90,000 euros per company as against investment costs of around 210,000 euros. This shows that the measures are also very profitable in economic terms.
The established project results will not only help VAUDE and participating businesses to improve environmentally. They will be also be shared within the industry and thus act as an incentive for other companies to engage in implementing environmental and sustainability standards. The success of the project has prompted other suppliers to indicate their willingness to participate in the follow-up project “Environmental Stewardship Club” by VAUDE and Arqum in order to benefit from exchanging findings with other suppliers and from the accompanying consulting program.