Peter Dumigan, Managing Director of the Hultafors Group UK which designs and manufactures the EMMA, Solid Gear and Toe Guard brands of Safety Footwear, looks at why the organisation is taking some major steps to improve the overall footprint of its products.
Just as the effects of plastic waste on the environment have been brought to the centre of consumer consciousness in recent years, so the problems caused by the disposal of shoes and clothing are also coming to the fore. Images of ‘ragpickers’ on our waste clothing mountains in Africa are an increasing cause for concern as landfill sites become overwhelmed and we dispose of our waste on someone else’s doorstep.
It’s not just consumer waste that’s causing problems. Used clothing and footwear from corporate users also end up in landfill or on waste mountains overseas and therefore need to be disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner so that ‘footprints’ can be maintained at levels that benefit everyone, not just the environment.
That’s why the sourcing of sustainable and environmentally responsible safety footwear and workwear is becoming a key part of companies’ corporate sustainability policies. Added to which, without responsible management, pressure will grow on raw material sourcing, manufacturing costs will increase and working conditions will deteriorate.
Some working clothes and protective wear – including items in the Snickers Workwear range – are now being manufactured from specialist textiles that feature recycled polyester. Snickers Workwear is also a member of The Better Cotton Initiative, the largest cotton sustainability programme in the world which aims to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it as well as for the environment it grows in.
Moving forwards, there’s now a commitment to source 80% of the brand’s cotton fabrics as ‘more sustainable cotton’ by 2023. This means that the cotton is either sourced through the Better Cotton Initiative, organic cotton or recycled cotton. We’ve all seen how quickly clothing and footwear containers at waste disposal centres fill up, which is why corporates not only have to source effectively but also ensure that footwear and garments are disposed of in an environmentally responsible way.
The circular approach
The Hultafors Group’s latest brand addition – EMMA Safety Footwear – has the solution by incorporating a policy of ‘100% Circularity’ in all of its products. Every product in the range is made entirely from recycled or recyclable materials, offering a 100% ‘circular’ manufacturing, usage and recycling process for every shoe and boot it produces.
Critically, it’s complemented by a service that takes back used shoes and boots for recycling when they’re replaced by new EMMA products, therefore enabling environmentally responsible companies and individuals to make a positive footprint in their workplaces. With a 90-year pedigree, EMMA Safety Footwear is a fully EU-accredited range of shoes and boots that satisfy a wide range of user needs and workplaces – including light and heavy industry, chemical and construction, facilities and logistics sectors plus office and retail environments.
Complementing the Solid Gear and Toe Guard range, this safety footwear includes all the Hultafors Group hallmarks of hi-tech designs that combine quality materials for comfort, maximum safety and wellbeing at work.
View the EMMA Safety footwear catalogue by clicking here