Our environmental awareness and related commitment to pursuing sustainable paths for our products, facilities and operations are more recent extensions of our core values. We’ve embraced fundamental aspects of environmental sustainability – especially in our product design, materials selection and manufacturing processes – and are building on our experience of identifying and eliminating waste as a key tenet of our strategies going forward.
In the future, we hope to create products that are completely recoverable, create no waste, do not require the use of toxic substances, and have no adverse impact on the environment.
Each of these initiatives contributes to improvements in product quality, manufacturing efficiency, cost reduction and — most importantly — our impact on the planet. Currently, we're making important progress on the major challenge of implementing measurement systems across our organization that will provide timely information for benchmarking.
Historically, the footwear industry has used a wide variety of chemical substances to make its products, some of which—heavy metals, solvents, phthalates and certain dyes—are considered to be hazardous. To address potential hazards before they enter factories making New Balance products, we have established a team that reviews all chemicals considered for possible use. If a chemical is reviewed and found to be inappropriate for use, it is sent to the New Balance Product Chemistry Team, which is responsible for maintaining and implementing our Restricted Substances Manual (RSM) for our domestic and global factories.
The Restricted Substances program is designed to protect the environment of the host communities where we make our products, the health of workers in the manufacturing facilities, consumer health and our brand integrity. It is applied to all footwear, apparel and equipment that New Balance makes (both in our own factories and our contract factories) as well as to all products made by our licensees. Key elements of our monitoring process include an RS Manual that suppliers are required to acknowledge and implement, auditing to determine compliance, a corrective action process to bring about full compliance and the sharing of chemical management best practices.
Certain chemicals in the RSM are prohibited in all New Balance brand footwear, apparel and accessories. The RSM also specifies maximum levels for certain other chemicals, testing requirements and methods that our suppliers must use to ensure they are complying with New Balance specifications. The program addresses more than 380 chemicals and incorporates legislation and regulations covering the U.S., Europe, Japan, China and other countries, along with California's Proposition 65.
As a company and as individuals, we have donated our time and money for conservation efforts that impact our communities. New Balance and its associates have worked in support of a number of initiatives, including:
The ZDHC is a group of major apparel and footwear brands (in addition to retailers) jointly committed to helping lead the industry towards zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020. As part of the first steps towards ZDHC, the group of brands published a Joint Roadmap, which demonstrates the collaborative efforts of the group in leading the apparel and footwear industry towards zero discharge by 2020.