The methodology employed to realise the project Capacity Building in the Supply Chain is based on deployment of the Green to Wear Standard of environmental sustainability. The project for Capacity Building in the Supply Chain progresses through the following phases:
- Phase 1. Commitment to the supply chain
- Phase 2. Evaluation of suppliers
- Phase 3. Environmental Improvement Plan
In addition, we have signed a framework agreement for collaboration with the University of La Coruña (UdC) to develop activities aimed at deploying improvements in the use and management of water supplies. The activities foreseen within the scope of this agreement and in the context of this project are:
- Studies and investigations aimed at a more sustainable and rational use of water on a global scale, and protection of the environmental quality of water reserves.
- Validation of the analyses of waste water carried out in the mills, in order to confirm compliance with our objective of zero discharge in 2020
The first step is the engagement of our supply chain. It is important that our suppliers understand why we are doing this, and that they are part of the solution, not part of the problem. To achieve this, we do the following:
We select the wet process mills that are to take part in the project, according to the following criteria:
- They are located in countries with a high risk of water shortages, such as China, India, Bangladesh, Turkey and Morocco.
- They use processes such as dyeing, printing or washing, with a high risk of discharge of hazardous substances.
We explain the project and the importance of their collaboration to the selected mills.
The aim in this phase is to evaluate the environmental performance of the wet process mills applying the Green to Wear Standard. To do this, a team of experts visits the mill to fill out the Green to Wear questionnaire and classify their environmental performance. In addition, in order to check correct operation of waste water treatment systems and compliance with the Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL), the mill's waste water is analysed. The analysis is carried out by an accredited laboratory of international prestige that visits the mill without warning and collects a sample of their waste water. A sample of water is collected before it enters the treatment plant, to check whether chemicals included in the MRSL have been used. To check the operation of the treatment system, samples are collected at the inlet and the outlet of the treatment plant, to analyse basic parameters (pH, suspended solids, Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) and conductivity).
Once the mills have been evaluated in environmental terms, an Improvement Plan is prepared for each mill. The final aim of this phase is to help the mills to improve their environmental performance and the efficiency of their resource management (raw materials, water, energy, waste water and waste). This plan will include:
- Improvements to be implemented in the mill to increase the efficiency of their resource management.
- Measures to improve the operation of their waste water treatment systems.
- Chemical substances that should be replaced by substitutes in order to comply with the Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL).
- Training courses of capacity building, that should be attended by the mill's staff: management of the inventory of chemicals, waste management, management of waste water treatment processes, etc.