Hanesbrands is considered a leader in chemical management across several industries. We have a rigorous chemical management program to ensure that our products are made with the safest substances possible. All chemicals that enter our facilities or are used there to manufacture our products must be approved in advance to ensure consumer and employee safety and minimize potential adverse environmental impacts. We also apply significant scrutiny to our suppliers’ chemical use.
Through our Global Environmental Management System, we track inventory and usage of chemicals (including dyes) across all our facilities, each of which has a designated chemical management system facilitator who manages all chemicals used.
Our internal Chemical Review Board governs our chemical management policy and assesses newly available data on chemicals. The review board is made up of experts from many different departments and functions across our organization, and it evaluates the use of chemicals across the company, recommends new chemistries for our products, assesses newly available data and developing regulations on chemicals, and develops guidelines and formal policies for chemical use. The Chemical Review Board has developed specific policies prohibiting or limiting the use of formaldehyde, phthalates, antimicrobials, heavy metals, and PFOA/PFOS in our products and facilities.
Restricted Substances List
We maintain a global restricted substances list that meets or exceeds all consumer and environmental regulations globally. In partnership with American & Efird, Inc., we led the development of a restricted substances list for the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA). We are one of 12 members of AAFA’s restricted substances lists working group, which meets regularly to consider new scientific data on chemicals.
Our in-house restricted substances list actually goes beyond the AAFA’s restricted substances list to comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s list of Class 1 and Class 2 ozone-depleting compounds and with California Proposition 65, which prohibits companies from knowingly exposing consumers to toxic substances without a clear and reasonable warning. All three of these lists are incorporated in Hanesbrands’ restrictive substances list.
In 2009, we began chemical audits of our finished goods and fabric suppliers around the world, concentrating on Asia. We were one of the first apparel companies to extend a chemical management program to suppliers and follow through with audits. We also require contractually that all suppliers assure that their products and packaging comply with our restricted substances list.
After scrutinizing the practices of our chemical suppliers, we recently reduced the number of suppliers from nearly 50 to 18 and we plan to reduce this further in 2010. We are encouraging our finished goods and fabric contractors to buy from these preferred chemical suppliers.