Building the Sustainability of our products

Leather

Leather is a key raw material for Clarks and the majority of Clarks specified leather for our footwear comes from tanneries which have achieved industry-leading environmental standards.

Clarks are founder members of the Leather Working Group (LWG), which aims to promote sustainable and appropriate environmental business practices within the leather industry. The LWG’s objective is to work transparently, involving suppliers, brands, retailers, leading technical experts within the leather industry, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) such as WWF, academic institutions and other stakeholder organisations.

To achieve an LWG medal rating, tanneries must also demonstrate that they have procedures in place to ensure that hides sourced from Brazil are not from farms involved in any form of deforestation in the Amazon biome (since October 2009).

Read more about the Leather Working Group on their website
www.leatherworkinggroup.com

We are very proud that over 75% of the leather we specify for our footwear is sourced from tanneries that have achieved bronze, silver or gold certification against the Leather Working Group Environmental Stewardship Protocol. Certification against this protocol ensures that tanneries have an environmental management system in place and robust procedures covering:

Animal Welfare

Clarks is careful to work with reputable tanners whose hides are a by-product of the meat industry. For customers who wish to avoid animal-derived products, Clarks offer a variety of shoes in non-leather materials including textiles and synthetic leathers. We also understand that customers may wish to avoid a particular leather type such as pig skin. We endeavour to provide a range of products that will give our customers a choice in respect of their beliefs and values. If you would like information on what leather materials are in a specific shoe, please contact our Customer Care teams directly via your local Clarks website.

Responsible Chemicals Management

Clarks operates a robust chemicals management programme for our products and we work closely with our suppliers to minimise the use of potentially hazardous chemicals.

Our Restricted Substances Policy is based on stringent requirements from across our global markets. The policy sets restrictions on a wide variety of substances including azo dyes, chrome VI, formaldehyde, heavy metals, nickel, and phthalates. By defining the likelihood of specific chemical occurrence in key material groups - for example leather, textiles, rubbers and plastics - our suppliers can focus on the critical substances relevant to the products being supplied throughout the supply chain.

Implementation of our Restricted Substances Policy involves a perpetual test programme with extensive testing of products covering leather, synthetics, components, finished footwear and handbags. Clarks and our suppliers commission tests on materials, components, and on finished products through an approved global network of recognised third party laboratories.

The policy is continually reviewed and updated on an annual basis to ensure it incorporates the most up to date legislation. We work with several recognised external professional organisations who conduct peer reviews to ensure we continue to meet the needs of changing global requirements. Clarks is committed to responsible chemicals management and will continue to research, monitor and educate our supply chain in all aspects related to our Restricted Substances Policy. Training sessions are routinely conducted by Clarks and our approved third party labs, which cover regulation and Clarks policy updates.

Packaging

Packaging plays a vital role in ensuring that our products reach their end destination in optimal condition. Damaged product is no good for our customers or the environment. So our aim is to minimise packaging to its most efficient level, enable re-use where possible and select materials which are recycled or easily recyclable.

We’re proud that almost all our shoe packaging is made from easily recyclable materials – from the box through to the cardboard shoe supports and tissue paper – and that our Clarks branded shoeboxes are made from 95% recycled content. Given that Clarks sells over 50 million pairs of shoes globally, that’s saving a lot of trees.

There’s also the transit packaging, the cardboard boxes used to ship product from Clarks managed factories into the distribution centres have been reduced to optimal thickness to save material and will be made from a minimum of 95% recycled content. Not to forget re-use, in our Westway distribution centre in Somerset, we re-use approximately 30% of incoming cardboard boxes to ship product out to our retail stores.

We still have more to do but hope you agree it’s a great start.

For further information on any aspect of our Behaving Responsibly programme, please contact: csr@clarks.com