At BRANDS, sustainability is not a fad, we act out of deep conviction. We established our own sustainability department as early as 2012 and have continuously anchored the green and social approach in the company ever since. In addition to different core competencies our team of four brings in great passion for the subject. It is our aim to improve and optimize the entire value chain from a social, ecological and economic point of view, and to become a little better every day. We are proud to say that today we are Europe’s market leader in sustainable workwear.

Kerstin Hofmann

Head of Sustainability

Team

Our Sustainability Team (from left to right): Anna Johannsen, Kerstin Hofmann, Kalina Magdzinska and Rabea Schafrick

Transparent Supply Chain

BRANDS is fully transparent – all production steps from the cotton field to the tag on the finished garment and far beyond are tested, certified and traceable.

1. Cotton cultivation
Cotton is mainly grown and harvested without the use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers.

2. Ginning
Mechanical separation of cotton fibres and seeds, removal of impurities.

3. Spinning mill
The combed cotton is made into yarns.

4. Weaving / Knitting mill
The yarns are processed into high-quality weaving or knitting surfaces.

5. Dyeing plant
Only environmentally friendly dyestuffs are used. The water is purified and 95% reused.

6. Print shop / Finishing
The cut fabrics are mainly finished with GOTS-certified inks and printed materials.

7. Assembly
The finished blanks are processed into garments.

8. Distribution
The finished product is stored and then shipped to the customer.

Check the chain:

Trace the entire supply chain using our TraceMyShirt tool. Your tracking code can be found on the Care Label of all SHIRTS FOR LIFE products and in the future on all our sustainable items.

Enter example tracking code 31360318 and go on a world tour!

Main Areas of Activity

Ecology

Kalina Magdzinska
„Numerous chemicals are used to manufacture textiles. It is very important to me to actively support our suppliers with regard to sustainable chemicals management and to achieve the DETOX targets. Only chemicals that do not have a negative impact on our environment and health should be used.“

Social Standards

Rabea Schafrick
„The first step towards sustainable production is to create transparency of the complex supply chains. Only if I know the factories – preferably personally – can I ensure that social standards are adhered to. As a rule, implementation is a process in which we accompany our suppliers on a long-term basis. Step by step.“

Sustainable Product Development

Anna Johannsen
„By using Fairtrade-certified organic cotton, we are helping to protect the environment and the people, plus cotton farmers are rewarded fairly. Together with our customers, I work to make every product as sustainable as possible – from the use of sustainable materials to gentle dyeing techniques and environmentally friendly prints and accessories.“

Sustainability Report

This Sustainability Report 2017/2018 is an objective and transparent compilation of our relevant activities and provides an insight into our core areas of activity: materials, suppliers, initiatives and sites. (Still in german)

Memberships and Certifications

Fairtrade – Cotton

The Fairtrade seal guarantees stable minimum prices and a Fairtrade premium to sustainably improve the lives of cotton farmers. By purchasing Fairtrade-certified cotton you contribute to fair prices and good working conditions for producers in developing countries.

GOTS

GOTS stands for Global Organic Textile Standard and guarantees a sustainable production of textiles, starting with the first textile working step with biologically produced, natural raw materials up to environmentally and socially responsible production.

OEKO-TEX Made in Green

The label MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX® confirms that a product has been manufactured from materials tested for harmful substances and under environmentally and socially friendly working conditions. A product ID also enables the consumer to trace the entire supply chain.

Fairtrade Textile Production

As part of a PPP project (Public Private Partnership), supported by the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), we are working together with Fairtrade on the implementation of the Fairtrade textile standard in a nominated supply chain. The focus is on the gradual introduction of living wages and the establishment of workers’ committees. The goal is certification according to the Fairtrade textile standard.

amfori

Since 1 January 2018, the Foreign Trade Association (FTA), the parent organisation of BSCI and BEPI, has been called amfori.
– The members of the amfori-BSCI commit themselves to the inspection of their suppliers by external inspection companies and the improvement of the social and labour law framework conditions of the workers in the production countries.
– The amfori-BEPI initiative has set itself the goal of improving the environmental requirements along the supply chains worldwide, among other things through the more targeted use of raw materials and the design of efficient production processes.

Alliance for Sustainable Textiles

The German Textile Alliance is made up of representatives from industry, civil society, standard organisations and trade unions who work together to continuously improve social, ecological and economic sustainability along the entire textile chain.

Sedex

Sedex is similar to the BSCI-amfori initiatives, an initiative to improve social and environmental standards in supplier companies, which is also based on independent controls by external third parties.

The ACCORD

Within the framework of the „Bangladesh Fire Protection Agreement“, extensive inspections are carried out in the areas of building safety, fire protection and electrical safety in textile factories in Bangladesh and suppliers are supported in implementing improvement measures.

Global Recycled Standard (GRS)

Products with the GRS seal consist of at least 50% recycled material. The entire supply chain, from the recycling process to the sale of the goods, is certified according to the requirements of the standard.

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

The FSC has defined globally uniform basic principles for responsible forest management.
We offer our customers shoes (made of FSC-certified natural rubber) and packaging made of FSC-certified material.

Organic Blended Content Standard

The Organic Blended Content Standard distinguishes products that contain natural fibres from biological origin. The material flow from use to the end product is controlled and the entire process is certified by independent third parties.

ISO 9001 2015

The globally recognized standard EN ISO 9001 defines the minimum requirements for a quality management system (QM system). It considers the different areas of the organisation and defines them with the help of a manual in such a way that products and services can be provided that meet the expectations of third parties.

Sustainable Development Goals at BRANDS

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 and provide the current framework for sustainable development of the global community until 2030.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDGs)
17 Goals for sustainable development

As an internationally working company that operates in a resource-intensive industry which is repeatedly criticized for its impact on people and the environment, we are aware of our social responsibility. We make our contribution to the SDGs largely through our sustainable core business. Matters of personal interest and conviction such as the School for Life in Thailand (school-for-life.org) or the promotion of the Sea Shepherd marine conservation organisation and the NABU environmental association also contribute to the gradual achievement of our goals. The chart below shows how we are involved in the various areas.

Stable livelihood by promoting the establishment of cooperatives in accordance with the Fairtrade textile standard

Safeguarding basic needs by paying living wages in the Fairtrade textile standard

Minimization of health risks in dyeing plants through training in sustainable chemicals management

Lifelong learning and education for sustainable development through regular training of workers

Commitment to gender equality, so that women can improve their future by their own efforts.

Promotion of the use of harmless substances in production and monitoring of waste water

BRANDS does not (yet) work in this area.

Ensuring safety in the workplace and supporting suppliers in innovations

BRANDS does not (yet) work in this area.

Support in particular for workers in countries of the Global South

Strong internal commitment to sustainability with impact on employees and at all sites

Distribution of long-lasting sustainable textiles with impact on major customer decisions

Recently, 76% of the cotton we bought was grown organically and therefore more environmentally friendly.

BRANDS does not (yet) work in this area.

Increasing decline in organic cotton strengthens biodiversity and reduces water consumption and pesticide use

BRANDS does not (yet) work in this area.

Participation in multi-stakeholder initiatives and the pioneering project in the Fairtrade textile standard allow us to actively help shape sustainability in the industry.

Documents

Policy Statement

As part of our corporate duty of care, we are publicly committed to respecting human rights. To ensure this, we rely on internationally adopted guiding principles and conventions of the United Nations as well as the standards of the International Labor Organization. The requirements that we place on our employees, suppliers and business partners for compliance with human rights and environmental protection are reflected in our Declaration of Compliance.