Footwear Ecology Question 8

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Question

Has the brand (company) a clear and effective policy to minimize the use of solvents based chemicals in their shoe production, and has the brand already achieved a level of average max. 40 grams of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions per pair of shoes?

NL: Heeft het merk (bedrijf) een helder beleid om het gebruik van oplosmiddelen tijdens de schoenenproductie te reduceren, en is de gemiddelde uitstoot van Vluchtige Organische Stoffen (VOS) maximaal 40 gram per paar geproduceerde schoenen?

DE: Setzt der Markenhersteller Maßnahmen um, um den Gebrauch von Lösungsmitteln während der Schuhproduktion zu reduzieren? Beträgt der Ausstoß von flüchtigen organischen Verbindungen (VOC) maximal 40 Gramm pro produziertem Paar Schuhe?

Reference

Solvent based adhesives are traditionally used in the production processes for leather products, e.g. for gluing, cleaning and painting of shoe parts. Solvent based chemicals release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) which is considered as damaging to human health and the environment.
• VOCs are present in many dyes, adhesives, cleaners and polishes used in the production of leather items.
• Checks are made by customs and import officials on arriving containers to ensure VOCs meet EU limits.
• The use of some chemicals and adhesives can harm the health of raw material suppliers and assembly workers.
• Some chemicals and VOCs still present in the finished retail product can damage the health of the eventual user.

A best practice is demonstrated by Nike, the company replaced a.o. solvent based adhesives with water based adhesives. This resulted in a 95 percent reduction of volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions per pair of shoes. For the average Nike pair of shoes the values went down from 340 grams of VOC in 1995 to approximately 15 grams per pair in 2006.

‘Yes’ goes to the companies that have a clear and effective plan to reduce solvent based chemicals from their shoe production, and has achieved a level of average max. 30 grams of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions per pair of shoe. Please note that the emissions metric includes the production phases such as assembly, stockfit, stitching, laminating and stickering. It is not (yet) required to include earlier production stages such as the leather tanning.

Answering guidelines

Yes:
• [Brand] reports about having a plan to reduce solvent based chemicals in their shoe production, and has achieved a level of average max. 30 grams of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions per pair of shoe, such as [..](see link/page).

No:
• [Brand] explicitly reports about not having a policy to reduce Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions per pair of shoe, for the reason that [..](see link/page).
• [Brand] does [...not..] report about having a plan to reduce solvent based chemicals in their shoe production, and has achieved a level of average of [xxx] grams of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions per pair of shoe, which is above the required 30 grams per pair (see link/page).
• [Brand]´s achieved level of average Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions per pair of shoe is above the required 30 grams, namely [xxx] grams (see link/page).

?:
• [Brand] reports a policy to reduce Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions per pair of shoe such as [..], but the brand does not clearly describe an achieved level of average Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions per pair of shoe (see link/page). The brand is therefore not clear about the scale and impact of this policy.
• [Brand] does not openly communicate a policy to reduce solvent based chemicals in their shoe production. Sustainability information should be easily accessible for consumers to make responsible choices.
• [Brand] does report about having a plan to reduce solvent based chemicals in their shoe production, but the brand does not make clear what the currently achieved level is, nor if it is below 30 grams of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions per pair of shoe (see link/page).