New Balance believe in fit. They believe that one size and one technology does not suit everybody. They do believe that fit is everything and that technologies need to be adapted and available in a variety of options.
New Balance is taking significant steps to ensure a healthier planet. We are constantly looking for ways to minimize and prevent negative environmental impacts in our operations and throughout our global supply chain – with an eye towards zero impacts and bringing greater positive change to our local environment.
We live in a community greater than just our company. Our products – and the materials that go into making them – are processed with energy, water, and chemicals in factories around the world. We are working hard to understand and minimize negative environmental impacts of our supply chain operations – with an eye towards a future where we leave zero impacts and even bring positive change to the local environment.
Our environmental efforts are focused on different strategic priorities in different levels of our supply chain.
|Tier 1||Tier 2|
|We monitor basic environmental compliance through our audits and are helping suppliers invest in meaningful energy efficiency and carbon reduction initiatives.||We are focused on water risks and require suppliers with wet processing capabilities to test their wastewater discharge according to the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines developed by the industry leading ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme.|
|Both Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers are screened quarterly against the Institute of Public % Environmental Affairs (IPE) database for environmental violations in China and undergo broad environmental assessments using the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC)’s Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM).|
New Balance was one of only six companies to step forward and be featured on a new online map that links brands to their suppliers’ environmental performance in China. The IPE Green Supply Chain Map was launched in January 2018 by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in the US and the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE) in China.
“These companies that have stepped up to put their names first on the inaugural map are showing new levels of transparency on their manufacturing abroad and are demonstrating real leadership in supply chain responsibility,” said Linda Greer, senior health scientist for NRDC and founder of its Clean by Design green supply chain program.*
For the first time, factory pollution data for suppliers can be viewed in nearly real time by the public. Map users can click on our brand logo and see how the supplier factories are performing at that moment, as well as 30-day trends of air emissions and wastewater discharge, environmental violation records and factory responses.
In 2017, New Balance ranked 16th of 267 companies in the Corporate Information Transparency Index (CITI) that evaluates brands according to how well they address supply chain environmental responsibility in China. In 2018, we climbed to 11th overall.
New Balance is proud to be a founding member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), joining the coalition in 2011 as groundbreaking work began on the first industry-wide environmental indexes. Today, the SAC is an alliance of over 200 brands, retailers, manufacturers, academics, NGOs and other affiliates – representing over $500 billion in revenue. The SAC’s collective vision is of an apparel, footwear and textiles industry that produces no unnecessary environmental harm and has a positive impact on the people and communities associated with its activities.
Peers and competitors work together to redefine how the industry is run. Members commit to transparency, the sharing of best practices and making meaningful improvements that can be measured according to a standardized set of tools, called the Higg Index.
The Higg Index is the heart of the SAC, developed by the SAC and its members. The Higg Index is a suite of tools that enable brands, retailers and facilities of all sizes to measure and score various aspects of sustainability performance. Ultimately, the Higg Index empowers organizations across the global supply chain to precisely identify areas requiring improvement and highlight robust actions to take.
New Balance played an active role in developing and testing the Higg Index, and we have implemented the available tools within our company and supply chain. We have been exploring how to use lifecycle data within the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI), and New Balance continues to use the Higg Brand and Retail Module (Higg BRM) for internal planning and benchmarking purposes.
We used the Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM) 2.0 to assess our Tier One footwear suppliers in 2015 and used those results to inform improvement efforts at the factories. In 2017, four New Balance suppliers participated in the Higg FEM 3.0 pilot, or “pressure test,” and we are now in the process of rolling out the updated Higg FEM 3.0 to about 80 suppliers in total, including all Tier One footwear suppliers, key Tier One apparel, and some of our largest Tier Two material suppliers.
Within New Balance owned operations, roughly 90% of our energy use at our New England-based offices, factories and distribution center comes from renewable sources. Our goal is to hit 100% by 2020. New Balance buys national Green-e certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to cover the portion of our grid electricity that is not already renewable under each state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards. Most of these RECs are from windfarms in Texas and the Midwest.
The New Balance owned footwear factory in Flimby, United Kingdom (UK), is partially powered by rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. In 2016, we generated 254,668 kWh of on-site renewable energy – about 30% of the factory’s demand. Our goal is for Flimby to be 100% renewable by 2020. We are investigating potential wind turbines that would provide approximately 630,000 kWh, more than enough to cover the remaining energy needs.
- Renewable energy in the supply chain is still emerging, but we are seeing positive developments:
- One of our apparel suppliers in Sri Lanka, Bodyline (Pvt.) Ltd., an affiliate of MAS Group of Companies, is striving to become net positive and aims to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. Bodyline has already started implementing large-scale solar PV systems and is investing heavily in renewable energy sources.
- In Vietnam, we are working with two footwear suppliers to assess feasibility of rooftop solar. Initial estimates suggest that on-site solar could possibly provide one supplier almost half of the factory’s energy needs.
As part of the global community, we have a responsibility to understand, mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. We are continuously learning about how climate change may impact our business, how our business impacts climate change, and how we can responsibly contribute to global climate goals.
New Balance is moving toward a low carbon future by reducing energy consumption in our own facilities and throughout our global supply chain, and by actively investing in renewable energy. We are in the process of completing our first company carbon footprint, which will serve as the basis for prioritizing future initiatives and setting company-wide targets.
New Balance has been working for several years to improve overall energy performance in footwear suppliers, with the goal of reducing costs and greenhouse gas emissions. In 2014, we set a goal with our Tier One footwear suppliers to reduce energy use per pair by 10% within three years. The goal was modest but achievable, and we believed that it would spark momentum for further action. By the end of 2017, our footwear suppliers collectively reduced their energy use by 21.5% per pair – almost double the original 10% target. Several strategic factories have seen reductions over 30%.
The first year of the program focused on planning and capacity building and resulted in each factory creating its own Energy Efficiency Plan that prioritized energy conservation measures and action plans. New Balance then worked with suppliers to identify energy champions, create energy teams, undertake trainings, and conduct energy walk-throughs to familiarize the teams with key operations – which included learning about energy tracking, discovering where energy is used most, and finding energy saving opportunities.