our supply chain?
How was your icebreaker made?
Our contract manufacturers are required to meet our standards on clean manufacturing technologies, fair treatment of workers, and garment quality.Our core contract manufacturers are:
- A wool cleaning and combing plant, which recycles and cleans its water through a specialist water purification system
- A wool spinning plant, which recycles heat through its air conditioning system and also has water purfication
- A textile and garment manufacturing plant, which uses environmentally-friendly dyes and, when possible, dyes large volumes of fabric at once to reduce energy use. Half of its water goes through a water purification plant, which neutralises any chemicals and ensures only clean water goes back into the environment. The other half is used in a heat exchange system that provides hot water for the dye house before being purified
- Demonstrate impeccable business ethics
- Have an up-to-date and impeccably maintained manufacturing plant
- Have access to the latest technology
- Be part of, or working towards, a global quality assurance programme, such as ISO 9001
- Be part of, or working toward, a global environmental assurance programme, such as ISO 14001, and/or comply with the Oeko-Tex environmental standards for textiles
- Be consciously trying to minimise environmental impact (for example, by reducing energy consumption and chemical use)
How Do We Treat Workers?
- Respect staff and provide them with a caring community environment
- Provide good natural light, clean air and a healthy working environment
- Give workers up to three meals a day and, if necessary, provide them with accommodation
- Workers must be aged at least 17. They’re usually paid a premium above the regional and/or national minimum wage, and there are opportunities for training and promotion.
Sustainable ink and cardboard
- All the cardboard in our packaging is either recycled and/or certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council, an independent non-profit organisation that promotes the responsible management of the world’s forest
- All our printing inks are vegetable-based
- The printer we use for our sock packaging is fully certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council
- We are working with our garment packaging supplier towards full Forestry Stewardship Council certification for the entire manufacturing process. All packaging will be certified by late 2011
- We’ve removed all plastic from our socks packaging, and reduced cardboard and glue use to an absolute minute
- We’re using biodegradable vegetable-based garment bags instead of plastic bags
- We’re carrying out a full packaging review to find other ways to use good design to make our packaging more sustainable
- We ship by sea wherever possible
Accreditations and partnerships
- Oeko-Tex Standard 100 (Oeko-Tex is an independent international textiles testing and certification system which limits the use of harmful chemicals). Our fabrics are certified to Oeko-Tex standard 100, class 1. This is the highest attainable standard and certifies fabric as being safe for use against the skin in babywear
- ISO 14001:2004 (an international standard that sets the framework for an environmental management system and requires businesses to commit to continuous improvement). Icebreaker's textile and garment manufacturer, spinner and sock manufacturer are all accredited to ISO 14001: 2004. (Our wool cleaning and combining plant does not qualify because it has its water treated by a regional water purification company)
- Icebreaker ethical manufacturing standards. All our manufacturing contractors are required to meet our ethical standards (see What are our manufacturing standards?)
- Icebreaker restricted substance list. All our manufacturing contractors are required to not use any of the chemicals on our restricted substance list when making our garments
- Zque. All sheep stations that supply Icebreaker with merino wool are accredited to Zque, an "ethical wool" programme that sets standards on environmental, social and economic sustainability; on animal welfare; and on tracing wool back to its source. Our Baacode programme goes beyond Zque to extended traceability through the whole supply chain
- The Conservation Alliance. Icebreaker is a member of The Conservation Alliance, a group of outdoor industry companies that donate their collective annual membership dues to grassroots conservation organisations working to protect wildlands and waterways
- Trees for the Future. For every customer who signs up to our email database, we plant a tree through Trees for the Future, which helps communities in Central America, Africa and Asia to improve their livelihoods and restore degraded land to sustainable profitability. Learn more at http://www.plant-trees.org/
Our supply chain
Icebreaker merino is biodegradable
A "Biodegradation Trial" carried out by NZ Merino shows how Icebreaker merino fully biodegraded after nine months. In comparison, polyester knit fabrics did not degrade at all during the course of the nine-month trial period.
What᾿s our relationship with nature?FIND OUT