Taking responsibility for the environmental, social and ethical challenges that our industry faces is a natural part of the way we do business. For this reason, our sustainability ambition is that we want to be proud of our products on every level – their look, feel and quality, as well as how they are made, transported and used.
To achieve this, we always strive to maintain an open dialogue with the many people who are affected by, or can influence, the choices we make as a company. In this way we prioritize social and environmental actions and continuously develop and improve our sustainability efforts.
We have divided our sustainability ambition into three sections:
We are proud of the caps we create, but also aware that the process leaves behind an environmental footprint. For this reason, a major part of our sustainability ambition is geared towards minimizing this footprint by optimizing the design and making of our products. We focus on four key aspects; Quality, Raw Materials, Animal Welfare and Chemical Management.
The best way to considerably reduce our environmental footprint is to making a sustainable product, a cap that is both desirable and of great quality. We want our customers to value our products and be able to use them for a long time. This is reflected in everything we do; from design constructions, to material selections and internal quality routines. Design, quality and sustainability are therefore closely connected.
A number of such routines aim to certify that our products can stand the test of time. We work with external testing laboratories where necessary, conduct wear testing and make sure that our own quality auditors are routinely present at suppliers’ factories to do quality inspections on materials production.
Since sustainable materials are considered a niche product by many, they often increase costs, lead times and the minimum order quantities. Our approach is to instead focus on sustainable materials for our core styles that are repeated over several seasons, which allows us to have a longer perspective and greater positive impact, while turning niche into norm.
Animal materials such as leather are often used due to their often durable and high-quality nature. Many also claim that the leather they use is taken from the meat industry, where it is considered a by-product. In our view, the quality and sourcing of leather do not justify the increased demand for animal products that it creates, why we have made a firm commitment not to offer leather materials for our products.
Artificial leather is commonly used as a replacement for such materials and is an alternative that we are happy to work with. Faux leather patches and straps are often used on our caps. They do not feel like real leather as faux leather is stiffer but we are okay with using it and until now, we haven’t had any complaints about it.
It is impossible to avoid using chemicals when manufacturing textiles and garments, but it is quite possible to use them in ways that are not harmful to the people handling them, the environment, and the end consumers.
We put effort into ensuring that the procedures of all our partner factories are safe and comply with all applicable rules and regulations. The correct storage and handling of chemicals is always a top priority during audits. Suppliers always need to provide Material Safety Data Sheets for the chemicals they use and store them in a separate space with secondary containment to prevent leakage. In addition, workers are provided with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and training to ensure that they have the knowledge and skills to correctly handle the chemicals and use the PPE.
Being based in Sweden, we are positioned to have a substantial impact on our partners in matters of sustainability, due to the difference in development between the two countries. The few, carefully selected suppliers that we work with are all based in Bangladesh and have been our handpicked partners for a long time. The continuation and ongoing relationships help us ensure the quality of our products, while enabling us to support and invest in our suppliers as they continuously improve their social and environmental practices and standards.
We work with suppliers that not only share our passion to make qualitative caps, but are also committed to doing so in an ethical manner. To achieve this, we focus on three key points; Labor Standards, Environmental Care and Transparency.
Most of our partner factories are members of amfori BSCI, Better Work and Sedex. These organizations have clear aims to monitor and assess workplace standards across the global supply chain. These factories are also certified by ACCORD, which works for fire and building safety.
After tragic incidents in the past, the workers, government and brands that buy garments from Bangladesh have raised their voices to ensure both social and working security in the RMG industry, something that has brought great improvements. Textile workers today are far more aware of their rights and have an easier time making their voices heard, while the industry enjoys a safer work environment than ever before.
The complications surrounding the RMG industry’s impact on the environment are well known and to be taken seriously. From the high usage of natural supplies such as land and water, to the real threats of pollution and chemicals. We are highly committed to minimizing our impact on the environment in every step of the process, from sourcing to production and logistics.
All of the factories we collaborate with are members of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturer and Exporters Association (BGMEA), which has the mission to work towards a sustainable garment industry in Bangladesh. For our larger orders, we always make our caps in larger factories that are compliant with BCI (Better Cotton Initiative), GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) and Oeko-Tex. These internationally reputed standards attest to a clear and serious focus on sustainability matters.
Of course, we are as rigorously transparent on our end of the deal as well. For customers who are interested in any information about the sourcing, materials, process or other aspects of production, we gladly provide it and can hold an order until the customer signs off on everything. We also welcome customer visits to or third party audits of any of our partner factories at request.
Beyond our products and suppliers, there is plenty that can be done on our end of the business as well to reduce the environmental impact of our operations. The two main areas that we focus on are Logistics and Traveling.
When receiving samples, we make sure to order multiple sets together to avoid small batches being sent more than once. When sending samples to our customers, the first choice is always transport by road, which is feasible within Europe.
Though traveling is kept to a minimum, FPHW employees do have a need to travel at times for certain customer meetings and factory visits. Whenever possible, multiple such occasions are scheduled together to reduce the number of flights taken. Meetings are preferably held over the phone or by video conference. For in-city traveling, public transportation by metro, train or bus is always the first alternative, keeping taxi and car rides a rare occurrence.