Sustainability in the manufacture of safety footwear

In mid-February, we introduced you to the main points of the focus on sustainability at our production facility for uvex hearing protection in Sweden. High value is not just placed on sustainable manufacturing in Sweden. Safety footwear is also manufactured in accordance with our sustainability principles at the Ceva site, where the subsidiary UVEX CAGI S.R.L. is based.

The following eight areas are again the main focus with regard to sustainability:

1 Energy and climate
2 Carbon footprint
3 Water and waste water
4 Waste and recycling
5 Made in Europe
6 Industrial and product safety
7 Environmentally friendly product concept
8 Social responsibility

 

Read on to see how these points help uvex comply with the sustainability guidelines:

1 Energy and climate

Minimum energy consumption. Maximum environmental protection.
Over the past five years, energy consumption has been reduced by more than 12% through targeted measures. The introduction of a new lighting system has boosted our energy savings by an additional 24,000 kWh.
As a result, 25% fewer lamps are needed and the lifespan of the energy saving lighting system has doubled, helping to reduce waste. We are saving as much energy as an average family uses in 10 years

2 Carbon footprint

Less CO2. More sun.
We want to protect the environment and focus on effective measures for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.
Our protective footwear’s carbon footprint is continually being reduced. By switching to a more efficient heating system, powered by gas rather than oil, we have reduced our CO2 emissions by 18%, or 30,000 kg of CO2 each year. In addition, we have invested in a solar power system with which we can
reduce the annual CO2 output by 35,000 kg. With the additional energy gained from the solar power, we can manufacture almost 39,000 pairs of shoes per year.

3 Water and waster water

Minimum consumption. No waste water.
We have been doing our utmost to reduce our water consumption to an absolute minimum. It only takes 0.06 litres of water to manufacture one pair of protective shoes – this value was verified through close-up images. The water used in the manufacturing process evaporates completely and as a result we do not produce a single drop of waste water. In addition we collect rainwater for use in our employee sanitary facilities.

4 Waste and recycling

Less waste. More recycling.
Through modern manufacturing technology and continuous optimisation of our production systems we were able to reduce our manufacturing waste by 25%. In addition, we are the first manufacturer in the protective footwear sector to collaborate with our technology partners on a comprehensive raw materials recycling concept. In future, a continuous recycling process will exist, creating new manufacturing materials out of raw material waste. Since 2012, 30 tonnes of plastic waste have been recycled and re-used in production each year.

5 Made in Europe

Shorter distances. Closer to the customer.
Our manufacturing plant in Italy enables short delivery distances as 98% of our protective footwear customers are European. Material deliveries via Italian harbours reduce transportation distances throughout Europe.

6 Industrial and product safety

Fewer pollutants. Improved safety.
In 2009, uvex created a list of 51 banned pollutants in addition to to EC directives (e.g. REACH) in order to protect people and the environment. Independent testing institutes regularly test to verify the absence of these harmful substances. For example, only chromium(VI)-free bleached leather is used for our protective footwear. Industrial safety is very important to us: the number of workplace injuries is far below the industry average.

7 Environmentally friendly product concept

Clear conscience. Pure products.
All of our suppliers and business partners are bound to the uvex social standard. This guarantees adherence to ethical principles and basic human rights. Independent testing institutes inspect this at regular intervals. Furthermore, certification of ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 is emphasised in our choice of business partners. The majority of textile uppers and inner linings in our protective footwear conform to the Oeko-Tex® standard. The product packaging consists of more than 90% recycled material, only recylced paper, and is sourced from suppliers located within 50 km of the manufacturing plant.

8 Social responsibility

More opportunities. Better futures.
We are committed to children and young people: as a passive member of the CFP Cebano Monregalese School in Ceva, Italy, we contribute to creating job opportunities for young people. We also regularly participate in creating employment opportunities for disabled people. Furthermore, we are aware of our responsibility to our employees: 40% of them have been working for us for more than 20 years. Regular education and training opportunities are offered to our employees by the uvex academy.

Those are our eight core principles on sustainability in Italy.
Discover how our site in Sweden achieves sustainability manufacturing in our Sustainability brochure or read our blog item “Sustainable production at uvex”.

Do you have any questions on sustainability or how it is implemented in our plants?
Please do not hesitate to contact us by emailing expertenblog@uvex.de