We work with suppliers who demonstrate environmental stewardship and have a proactive and progressive approach to minimising their environmental impact. This includes initiatives to; reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, harvest and recycle water, reduce waste through reusing or recycling, manage chemicals and waste water responsibly and reduce the environmental impact of packaging and transport.
ELK has developed a Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL), detailing the chemicals that must not be used in the manufacture of our products. It is based on the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Manufacturing Restricted Substances List and relevant Australian and international safety standards.
This list includes banned azo dyes, skin sensitizing dyes, per- and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), chlorobenzenes, formaldehyde, alkylphenols (APs) and alkyl phenol ethoxylates (APEs), organotin compounds, phthalates, chlorinated solvents, chlorophenols, short chain chlorinated paraffins, flame retardants, and heavy metals (chromium VI, lead, mercury, nickel and cadmium).
We recognise that this is just one step towards ensuring no hazardous chemicals are used in our supply chain, and we are working closely with our suppliers to ensure that any chemicals used meet these strict standards.
100% of all ELK leather scrap is either reused onsite or on-sold for use in different applications such as reconstituted leather boards or wristbands. This ensures no leather waste ends up in landfill.
Our preferred footwear supplier in India has built an R&D centre that was designed in line with LEED certification standards and approved by the Green Building Council of India. It has a solar plant, water harvesting, and is formed wholly using the earth it was excavated from. Energy efficient LED lights have been installed to reduce electricity use and a 250 KW solar power generating system was installed in March 2011, saving 200 tonnes of carbon emissions every year.
We are focused on minimising production waste, and our use of continuous prints rather than placement prints is helping to meet this goal by greatly reduces waste fabric from cutting. This also means each design has a unique print placement.
Water is an essential resource used in every step of creating an ELK garment. Used in growing the raw materials, wet processes of dyeing, printing and washing as well as in the final cut and sew in the factories. According to WWF it takes around 2700 litres of water to produce the cotton for a single t-shirt, and life cycle studies have shown it takes around 3700 litres of water to make a pair of denim jeans.
With the fashion industry being the second largest user of water globally, we recognise that the industry needs to address the critical environmental issues around water security and water pollution. Cotton production requires significant volumes of water, and textile processing accounts for 20% of water pollution in Asia.
Our priority is to connect with our next tier suppliers – the dye houses, printers and laundries that make our product - and work with them to ensure that they are managing their water use and waste water responsibly.