Chemicals are essential in the production of footwear, whether it is the dyes used to bring colour to fabrics or the glues used to construct the shoes. This means proper chemical management is essential, not just for workers, but consumers and the environment as well.
Our chemical management programme is built on our stringent Product Restricted Substance policy and test programme, which we have run for over 15 Years. This policy is reviewed and updated on an annual basis to ensure it incorporates the most up to date legislation. We also work with several recognised external professional organisations who conduct peer reviews to ensure we continue to meet the needs of changing global requirements.
Each year we extensively test our 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.
We are 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. To ensure we meet our commitment, we routinely conduct training sessions that cover regulation and policy updates with our approved third party labs.
Building transparency is a key pillar of our chemical management programme, which is why we now run pilots with our strategic footwear factories, using tools to help them better report on the chemicals used within their facilities. Additionally we have taken steps to reduce VOC emissions, firstly by trialling the use of water based adhesives in our shoe manufacturing processes, and also by using water based processes for coated leather, as well as a shift to water based (as opposed to solvent heavy) shoe cream finishes.