Through long-lasting relationships with our partners, we source high-quality materials with durability and sustainability in mind.
Hestra works closely with a limited number of selected suppliers that can meet our standards. Many of these relationships stretch over decades and we regularly meet them on-site and at trade fairs. Our supplier base comprises around 90 suppliers, of which 15 are tanneries supplying leathers. We mainly source leather, wool and synthetic fabrics.
Our Code of Conduct outlines our expectations on our business partners and suppliers. The Code is based on the amfori BSCI Code of Conduct and refers to international conventions such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Children’s Rights and Business Principles, UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, OECD Guidelines, UN Global Compact and International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions. All material suppliers are asked to sign the Code of Conduct. All material suppliers must also comply with our Chemical Contract, and suppliers of leather and wool also to the Animal Welfare Policy.
Leather and wool are materials particularly suited for many types of gloves. Given our reliance on leather and wool, animal welfare is important to us. All suppliers of leather and wool must sign the Animal Welfare Policy, which is based on the five freedoms of animal welfare: freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom to express normal behaviour, freedom from disease, pain or suffering; and freedom from fear and distress. Leather and wool used are by-products from food production or with the purpose of wildlife manage- ment. The latter applies to wild animals such as elk and deer. The Animal Welfare Policy also requires that all wool is mules- ing free and carries a certificate of origin.
Over the years, we have developed a systematic method for assessing new and existing suppliers. As a relatively small company in the global market, we are working with industry organisations such as amfori BSCI, The Swedish Chemicals Group and the Leather Working Group to extend our reach and improve our impact.
In addition to policies and audits, we maintain close contact with tanneries and other key suppliers in our supply chain. Through close cooperation we can ensure that they have the right knowledge about the materials characteristics, environmental management and other key issues. It also forms a basis of understanding both possible risks and areas of improvement. New suppliers are asked to fill out the self-assessment questionnaires included in the Chemical Contract and Animal Welfare Policy.
We are depending on our tannery suppliers to provide us with leather to produce our gloves. We always aim to source high-quality leather with an adequate sustainability performance. In general, the leather industry is exposed to risks such as poor protection of workers’ rights and insufficient waste-water treatment. Leather tanning poses specific risks in the form of potential harm from hazardous chemicals, particularly chromium which can affect the respiratory health of workers. The chemicals found in the tanneries’ effluents can also affect local water quality, which is why we require all leather suppliers to have on-site water treatment plants.
To ensure that we avoid exposure to these risks, we maintain close contact with our suppliers. This includes onsite visits. Our partnerships with most of the tanneries go back for many years. We also review the suppliers’ certifications. The main certification for tanneries is Leather Working Group’s (LWG) audit certification, which assesses the environ mental and social performance and compliance of tanneries. Its audit protocol comprises management control, environment and water, waste management and traceability. In 2020, 21 percent of the purchased leather came from suppliers that were audited by LWG, in 2021 the share increased to 60 percent.
Hestra is also a brand member of the LWG itself. LWG provides us with additional information about the leather industry and further insight into our partner tanneries through audit protocols made available by the organisation. Since we joined LWG in 2020, we have encouraged our suppliers to join too.
It’s not important for me to be proud, but for my customers to be satisfied.
Chemicals are required to manufacture materials and to obtain certain materials’ characteristics, but it is important that chemicals are handled with care. That is why we require our suppliers to operate in accordance with Euro- pean chemical legislation REACH and local legislation.
Our Chemical Contract and Restricted Substances List (RSL) are developed by The Swedish Chemicals Group and its textile industry subgroup, of which Hestra is a member. All suppliers receive the restricted substances list twice yearly. In addition, new suppliers must sign the Chemical Contract.
In order to verify and follow up on signed chemical contracts with suppliers, materials are tested at accredited laboratories chosen by us. Depending on quantities of material ordered, we test one to three times per year. The purpose is to confirm compliance with our Restricted Substances List (RSL) in our supply chain and identify any areas, or materials, of concern as early as possible. All suppliers are regularly notified of changes in the RSL in good time to be able to make any necessary changes. In 2021/22, we identified one case in the USA (Prop 65) where the RSL had been breached. The glove model was sold in low quantities and had already been taken off the market due to other reasons. The breach was handled accordingly. We always try to address any breach together with the supplier, but if it is not taking the necessary actions or if the process takes too long, contracts are cancelled. We classify all materials used in our production based on risk and volume. Materials used in a wide range of products are tested more frequently. Depending on type of material we have different test methods that are reviewed and amended in accordance with REACH and other relevant legislation, such as the Californian Prop 65.