We have a responsibility towards the environment. We are committed to minimizing our business's impact on the environment and complying with environmental laws and regulations. We're taking steps to improve our environmental performance by focusing on areas such as supplier management, energy use, chemical and wastewater management, and water use. We're also working with our suppliers and industry partners to make measurable progress and continuously improve our systems for assessing and reducing our impact.
Through dialogue and continuous controls, we work to ensure that environmental regulations are complied with and that there is continuous improvement in the environmental management systems of our suppliers.
The environmental assessment framework in Varner has baseline performance checks that cover key areas of a supplier’s environmental management system, chemical management, water use, wastewater management, and hazardous waste management. All approved factories are screened accordingly before the initiation of business, as well as during cooperation. Improvement plans are developed on identified gaps and issues, and improvements on those issues are checked and verified in follow-up assessments.
Some of the key policy documents guiding our work are:
Varner Code of Conduct The foundation for how we want to combine sound business practice with responsible and ethical business conduct.
Supplier Code of Conduct Outlines our expectations and requirements related to environmental protection, responsible chemical use and climate actionfor business partners such as suppliers, sub-suppliers, and factories.
We primarily use ship freight to transport goods from the production country to the store. We are working to limit air cargo as much as possible, and fortunately, very few products are transported by air today. We are also exploring projects to transport goods by train from Asia as a good alternative to boats. Our main goal is to choose the most environmentally friendly and efficient shipping method possible.
CLIMATE AND ENERGY
We are committed to reducing our impact on the climate through our business. We have created a strategic plan that involves identifying the sources of our emissions, setting targets for reduction, and finding solutions to reduce our overall emissions. We are actively working on this plan to minimize our impact.
We have been part of The Swedish Textiles Initiative for Climate Action (STICA) since 2020. STICA is a collective effort by the Nordic textile industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the 1.5 °C warming pathway outlined by the United Nations Framework on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement. STICA's goal is to ensure that the Swedish and Nordic textile industries make a significant contribution to reducing emissions before 2050. STICA is run by the Sustainable Fashion Academy, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable practices in the apparel industry.
We have set GHG emission reduction targets for scope 1,2 and 3 aligned with sector guidance developed by Science Based Target Initiative. We are have signed and submitted our public commitment to the ‘Science Based Target Initiative’ in 2022. We have submitted our GHG emission reduction goals SBT for validation in 2023.
The textile industry is very water-demanding at every stage of the product life cycle. Large quantities of water are involved in both cotton harvesting and production. Therefore, we, as an industry, have an important responsibility for continuous work with improvement in this area. We impose strict requirements on our manufacturers in relation to water use and treatment of wastewater.
Our initiatives on water use begin with regional water stress mapping and tracking water usage in factories. Our environmental assessments through Higg FEM help identify hotspots and drive improvement in this area.
We think it's important to ensure that harmful chemicals are carefully checked during the purchasing and production processes. Even if these chemicals don't always end up in our final products, they can still be harmful to the environment and people's safety. To make sure our production is safe, we handle, store, and dispose of chemicals properly, and we work hard to identify and eliminate any hazardous chemicals from our production process.
We have a general ban on some chemical substances that have been proven to be a great hazard for either the environment or humans and which are not easy to manage well in production. The ban includes all fluorochemicals, biocides, and flame retardants. To identify and prevent other hazardous chemicals from being used in our production, we acknowledge the ZDHC Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (ZDHC MRSL) as a global industry standard which we encourage our suppliers to adopt.
We also have implemented chemical restrictions for products through our Restricted Substances List (RSL) that all manufacturers must follow. The restrictions are regularly updated and are followed up through a comprehensive testing program. Tests are carried out during production to ensure that the products do not contain harmful chemicals. Read more about product safety related to chemicals on our 'products & Materials'page.
Microplastics that are separated from products made of plastic material are a challenge we share with several industries. Microplastics come from disposable plastic, car tires, synthetic clothing and more.
Synthetic fibers such as acrylic, polyester and nylon release microplastics when the garment is in use. This is a problem that has come to light relatively recently and there is a lack of research evidence on how this can be prevented. Varner is following the ongoing research on how the amount of microplastics can be measured and prevented.