Product Life Cycle
Considering the life cycle of Vileda products, it becomes evident how important the individual phases are in helping us to reduce the impact of our processes on the three areas of sustainability, namely environment, society and economy.
Sustainable product development holds a special position in the life cycle, with a detailed evaluation process including how we source our raw materials, how our products are manufactured, distributed, used and disposed of.
Sourcing of Raw Materials
As to the sourcing of our raw materials, we respect the regulations of “REACH” (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals).
Avoiding Hazardous Substances
Moreover, Vileda makes every effort to avoid using hazardous substances throughout the production process, such as DEHP plasticizer, heavy metals in pigments, dangerous azo dyestuffs and others, even when these are legally acceptable.
Ethical Sourcing Program
We have implemented a holistic “Ethical Sourcing Program” with “Ethical Supplier Standards” (ESS) being one amongst others. These “ESS” specify the expectations towards our suppliers, e. g. in terms of child labor, minimum wages, forced labor and Health, Safety and Environmental protection.
A key base “building block” in our Ethical Sourcing Program is the Supplier Self-Assessment, which we run with our material suppliers and contract service operations, covering more than 90% of the value of our total purchased materials.
In addition, we have identified a group of “focus sites” which is split into our own FHCS plants and the selected important suppliers, warehouses, distribution centers and contract operations. In all of those operations, we also do on-site audits, with ethical sourcing criteria being incorporated and physically viewed and reviewed. By doing this, we cover more than 50% of our purchase value.
Energy Reduction and Certifications
Our 13 established production plants are certified in accordance with the standards ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 and our new production plant in India is currently in the certification process.
In 2013, the specific energy reduction of the 3 main FHCS production sites (Germany, Sweden and Italy) covering 82% of FHCS’s production energy consumption, was reduced by 7.2% versus 2010 and by 33.2% versus the base-line in 2005.
FHCS’s production site in Sweden has achieved the re-certification according to EN 16 001 for energy management in 2012. Preparation is currently underway in the Swedish and German plant to become certified according to the newly established and very strict EN 50 001, which replaced the former norm EN 16 001, in 2013.
Decrease of Waste Generation and Recycling
These two plants are accountable for 63% of FHCS’s waste. Related to 2010, they reduced their specific waste generation by 17%. In our German plant, a recycling/recovery quota of 94% has been achieved in 2012.
Approximately 1900 tons of recycled fibres, 2200 tons of recycled plastic materials have been used in 2012 as starting materials for various products, amongst them the Vileda Naturals product range.
FHCS´s newest manufacturing site in the USA has been built with sustainability considered from the ground up, with energy efficient heating and AC, natural light throughout the building, all aiming towards a LEED certification for the entire site (LEED: Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, a rating system by the U.S. Green Building Council). The energy consumption is therefore reduced by more than 25 %. For landscaping, only native drought-resistant plants were used to minimize the need of watering.
In Germany, the new FHCS Headquarter building, inaugurated in 2009, has been awarded with the German Quality Seal for Sustainable Building (Deutsches Gütesiegel Nachhaltiges Bauen).
Transport and Logistics
Regarding the distribution of Vileda products, we pay attention to efficient load fill and deliveries by using vehicle design and technology to maximize carrying capacity within current regulatory limitation. We continuously improve our transport modes in terms of friendlier miles by switching freight from road to rail or water.
Additionally, the German Fraunhofer Institute and Vileda accomplished an extensive study on European-wide logistics in 2008, with the result that FHCS’s warehousing and distribution network in Europe is already very close to minimum transportation distances and cost.
Durability and Performance
In terms of products-in-use, Vileda products are known for their long-term durability, washability, performance and convenience.
The durability of Vileda products helps to avoid unnecessary waste and also to preserve resources. The specific composition of the fibre mix in our cleaning cloths, for example, allows a rapid removal of different dirt types including particles. Good cleaning properties reduce the need to use detergents as has been proven by several independent cleaning studies across Europe.
Design and Product Performance Awards
Our products cope with ergonomic requirements to protect the user’s back and joints, resulting in various “red dot design awards” and “iF Product Design Awards”.
In 2012, the Finnish Standards Association has awarded Vileda Professional the Nordic Svan Ecolabel for selected Swep mops and Evolon-based QuickStar micro and MicroSmart cloths.
All packaging will be designed to be totally recyclable and we maximise the use of recycled material in place of virgin material where appropriate (e.g. cardboard or corrugated packaging is made out of 60 – 99% recycled paper waste). All Vileda packaging films comply with Vileda´s “packaging material white list” and are almost exclusively made up of PP or PE being either recyclable or energetically re-usable.
Our products are not over packaged: only the necessary minimum required packaging material will be used. We develop a holistic approach that considers packaging performance and environmental impact across the supply chain. And we take new, innovative packaging materials into account (e.g. out of renewable resources) as well as processes that help to reduce the impact on the environment.