Vaude has announced plans to extend its initiative “Environmental Stewardship in the Supply Chain” to all its textile suppliers. The pilot project, which was partially funded with grants, has just completed a two-year phase with positive results, the company said. The project was launched in 2015 to train Asian suppliers about environmental protection, energy stewardship and emissions management. The “Environmental Stewardship in the Supply Chain” project was promoted by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and was supported financially by the German Investment and Development Company (DEG) under the auspices of the “develoPPP.de” program.

The project was designed and directed by Bettina Roth, Vaude's head of quality and chemicals management. The educational sessions and workshops were conducted during the two-year period together with experts from Arqum under the motto “helping people help themselves.” Headquartered in Munich, Arqum advises companies, municipalities, rural districts, government agencies and NGOs, in Germany and abroad, on their path toward sustainability.

Vaude said that a total of 100 tangible measures were taken regarding technology and organization in the framework of the project. These measures included, for example, the introduction of LED lighting, the use of energy from solar panels, the modernization of obsolete heating systems, and the shutting down of hydraulic pumps when not in use. In addition to energy efficiency, measures were also adopted to improve occupational safety and working conditions in the factories, such as translating safety instructions into the local languages and training the staff on protective work clothing and chemical handling. Many of the participating factories introduced a professional chemicals management system, which covered issues such as the automation of processes as well as the storage, transportation and disposal of chemicals.