Our envi­ron­men­tal aspects

The iden­ti­fi­ca­ti­on of direct and indi­rect envi­ron­men­tal aspects is an essen­ti­al part of any envi­ron­men­tal manage­ment sys­tem. These aspects are recor­ded, eva­lua­ted and review­ed at regu­lar intervals.

Direct envi­ron­men­tal aspects

Direct envi­ron­men­tal aspects are clo­se­ly lin­ked to our company’s acti­vi­ties and pro­ducts, and can be ful­ly controlled.

The envi­ron­men­tal manage­ment sys­tem has a posi­ti­ve effect on the company’s envi­ron­men­tal per­for­mance, inclu­ding, for exam­p­le, the regu­lar coll­ec­tion of key figu­res and con­ti­nuous impro­ve­ment through the imple­men­ta­ti­on of the envi­ron­men­tal programme.

The pro­duc­tion pro­ces­ses are very ener­gy-inten­si­ve and very water-inten­si­ve. Requi­re­ments for water abs­trac­tion based on the water right per­mit must be com­pli­ed with.

Various che­mi­cals and poten­ti­al­ly hazar­dous sub­s­tances are used in pro­duc­tion. Requi­re­ments for the safe and pro­per hand­ling of the­se sub­s­tances must be taken into account, in order to exclude hazards for employees and the envi­ron­ment. In the event of non-com­pli­ance, sources of envi­ron­men­tal impact such as con­ta­mi­na­ti­on of the soil and water, as well as end­an­ge­ring the health of employees, can­not be ruled out.

The pro­duc­tion pro­ces­ses emit main­ly total car­bon, metha­ne, metha­nol, form­alde­hyde and other orga­nic sub­s­tances. Devia­ti­ons from the per­mis­si­ble limit values would lead to increased envi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­ti­on. The ope­ra­ti­on of plants for the pre-tre­at­ment and finis­hing of tex­ti­les is regu­la­ted by the Fede­ral Immis­si­on Con­trol Act.

An indi­rect dischar­ge per­mit entit­les the com­pa­ny to dischar­ge was­te water from pro­duc­tion into the public was­te water sys­tem of the city of Rhei­ne. The mini­mi­sa­ti­on of resi­du­al paint and finis­hing liqu­ors, the regu­lar moni­to­ring of the values in the company’s own mixing and equa­li­sa­ti­on basin, and com­pli­ance with the requi­re­ments sti­pu­la­ted under the per­mit must be ensu­red at all cos­ts, in order not to end­an­ger the envi­ron­ment or nega­tively influence the ope­ra­ti­on of the was­te­wa­ter plant.

Impro­per dis­po­sal of any was­te poses a hazard to the envi­ron­ment and employees. Sin­ce resi­du­al was­te is only recy­clable to a limi­t­ed ext­ent, both the sepa­ra­ti­on of the dif­fe­rent types of was­te and the mini­mi­sa­ti­on of resi­du­al was­te must be ensu­red. The share of was­te declared as “hazar­dous” is less than 0.5 %. What is rele­vant, howe­ver, is the sto­rage and pro­per dis­po­sal of resi­du­al liqu­ors and types of sludge. The­se must be dis­po­sed of by a qua­li­fied ser­vice pro­vi­der to avo­id trig­ge­ring a nega­ti­ve impact on the environment.

The pro­duc­tion pro­ces­ses on site are cha­rac­te­ri­sed by high elec­tri­ci­ty, gas and water con­sump­ti­on, the use of various che­mi­cals in the finis­hing pro­cess, and a high volu­me of was­te water. The­se fac­tors increase the risk of inci­dents with a poten­ti­al­ly nega­ti­ve envi­ron­men­tal impact. Due to the company’s pro­xi­mi­ty to the “Hen­ge­müh­le” land­scape con­ser­va­ti­on area and the “Ems­aue” natu­re con­ser­va­ti­on area, devia­ti­ons from limit values or envi­ron­men­tal acci­dents would lead to increased pol­lu­ti­on of the­se con­ser­va­ti­on areas.

Indi­rect envi­ron­men­tal aspects

Indi­rect envi­ron­men­tal aspects are cau­sed by the company’s inter­ac­tions with third par­ties. They, the­r­e­fo­re, rela­te pri­ma­ri­ly to upstream and down­stream pro­ces­ses, pro­ces­ses that take place both in the sup­p­ly chain and at our cus­to­mers’ premises.

The pro­ces­sed tex­ti­les in the cur­rent pro­duct port­fo­lio are pre­do­mi­nant­ly made of con­ven­tio­nal­ly grown cot­ton, vir­gin poly­es­ter and elas­to­le­fin. The cul­ti­va­ti­on of cot­ton can ent­ail various types of nega­ti­ve impact, espe­ci­al­ly in regi­ons with water scar­ci­ty or weak envi­ron­men­tal regu­la­ti­ons. Cul­ti­va­ti­on in mono­cul­tures places an addi­tio­nal bur­den on regio­nal eco­sys­tems. Cru­de oil is used for the pro­duc­tion of poly­es­ter. Elas­to­le­fin, also a che­mi­cal fib­re, can also have nega­ti­ve con­se­quen­ces for the envi­ron­ment due to sol­vents and spin­ning oils used in the pro­duc­tion process.

In raw fabric pro­duc­tion, ener­gy con­sump­ti­on is very high and the use of rene­wa­ble ener­gies is almost non-exis­tent in some pro­duc­tion count­ries. In addi­ti­on, the choice of sizing agents and the impro­per use of other che­mi­cal auxi­lia­ries (e.g. spin­ning oils) can have a nega­ti­ve impact on the envi­ron­ment. The pro­duc­tion of basic che­mi­cals and the majo­ri­ty of dye and auxi­lia­ry pro­duc­tion takes place in regi­ons with a weak enforce­ment of envi­ron­men­tal regu­la­ti­ons. This poses a poten­ti­al thre­at to the envi­ron­ment and the socie­ties living there.

The deve­lo­p­ment of the tex­ti­le indus­try and, with that, our mar­ket, in a para­digm shift towards sus­taina­bi­li­ty and envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion is an important con­cern for us. Our own invol­vement in asso­cia­ti­ons and orga­ni­sa­ti­ons, as well as net­wor­king with various com­ra­des-in-arms, makes a posi­ti­ve con­tri­bu­ti­on to the sus­tainable deve­lo­p­ment of the tex­ti­le indus­try. Mem­ber­ship of the Part­ner­ship for Sus­tainable Tex­ti­les is par­ti­cu­lar­ly note­wor­t­hy here.

Cus­to­mers often use our pro­ducts in the lea­sing sec­tor, whe­re they are sub­ject to fur­ther pro­fes­sio­nal rewor­king. This tre­at­ment is water and ener­gy inten­si­ve, and various tre­at­ment agents are used here. Impro­per pro­ces­sing has a signi­fi­cant impact on the lon­ge­vi­ty and dura­bi­li­ty of the goods. Par­ti­al­ly washa­ble finis­hes and fib­re resi­dues can get into the tex­ti­le ser­vice provider’s was­te water during the tre­at­ment pro­cess. End-of-life dis­po­sal is, in a best-case sce­na­rio, the product’s reu­se. In this recy­cling pro­cess, tex­ti­le was­te is fur­ther pro­ces­sed into clea­ning rags, insu­la­ti­on mate­ri­al or in the tear fib­re indus­try. Alt­hough ener­gy is gene­ra­ted during ther­mal recy­cling, various gases are also pro­du­ced in the com­bus­ti­on process.

Depen­ding on the coun­try of ori­gin, the raw fabric is usual­ly deli­ver­ed by sea or by truck. The trans­port rou­tes of other sup­p­ly chains are lar­ge­ly unknown. The deli­very of raw and auxi­lia­ry mate­ri­als to our pro­duc­tion site, the trans­port to (and from) our finis­hing part­ners and the dis­patch of the sold goods are also car­ri­ed out via HGV. Busi­ness trips, as well as the arri­val and depar­tu­re of employees, are main­ly made by car. This is asso­cia­ted with envi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­ti­on, such as the emis­si­on of car­bon dioxi­de (CO2) or nitro­gen oxi­des (NOX).