Coats pioneers a sustainable future with targets for 2022

Coats, the world’s leading industrial thread company, has published its first sustainability report, which covers key sustainability performance data for the period 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018. The report, ‘Pioneering a sustainable future’, also launches a sustainability strategy which sets out seven ambitious targets for 2022 across five priority areas in order to accelerate the company’s progress towards a more sustainable future.

The five priority areas are water, energy, effluent and emissions, social and living sustainably. Coats identified the areas by first considering the values and ethics which are most important to employees, customers and investors as well as the end consumer. These key stakeholder groups are making increasingly influential demands for action on sustainability across all markets and industries. Coats then looked at where there was the most potential for improvement in its own manufacturing and operations.

Having identified the five priority areas, Coats has set seven ambitious targets to be achieved by 2022:

•             40 % reduction in water used in litres/kg thread produced

•             7 % reduction in energy used in kwh/kg thread produced

•             Source renewable energy where feasible

•             Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals effluent standards

•             ‘Great place to work’ or equivalent awards for all key sites

•             All employees involved in community activities

•             25 % reduction in waste

There is also an additional target of manufacturing 100 % recycled premium polyester threads by 2024. All reductions are against the 2018 baseline.

Rajiv Sharma, Group Chief Executive, Coats, said: ‘Sustainability is a core component of our value system. We are a company that not only performs well, but does good. Our 2022 ambition and priorities build on the good work already done and importantly further align us with consumers and customers by putting sustainability at the heart of our strategy and business. We have set ourselves challenging targets that can make a difference to society and the environment. Sustainability will enable Coats to grow, innovate and thrive as a business well into the future.’

In order to achieve its targets for 2022, Coats is investing capital, time and resource in each of the five priority areas:

Water – 60 % of Coats total water consumption is used in dyeing, one of the most important parts of the thread manufacturing process. Coats is investing in new machines with low liquor ratio. It is also exploring innovative developments in digital printing technology and the waterless dyeing opportunity that offers.

Energy – Coats aims to source renewable energy wherever that is feasible and is looking to expand its renewable energy generation which has grown from virtually zero to 28% in the last six years. There is already solar generation capacity at its Patrick Yarn Mill site in North Carolina, US and at Ambas, Southern India, which also has a biomass-based steam boiler.

Effluent and emissions – To support working towards a cleaner world, Coats is implementing online, real time monitoring of liquid waste effluent for sites discharging to the environment. It is investing in the construction of new or upgraded wastewater treatment plants at sites as well as recycling water where appropriate. It currently recycles 20 % of process water.

Social – Coats understands that a strong employee value proposition is a key differentiator in both attracting and retaining talent. It is implementing new health and wellbeing programmes, a ‘Journey to Zero’ Health and Safety roadmap and is also working towards all employees contributing to community activities.

Living sustainably – Coats is working proactively with customers and suppliers to help them improve the sustainability of their products. New products are being developed using recycled materials or that can be reused or recycled by others. In 2018 Coats launched Epic EcoVerde, the first fully recycled premium thread. In addition, a waste management process action plan is being rolled out across all operations.

The lifecycles of products is reducing while the demand for individual variants are increasing. As manufacturing enters Industry 4.0, the fourth significant revolution in the way products are made, companies need to, and are expected to, be responsible and sustainable in the way they do business. Through targeted use of time, people and investment in the five priority areas, Coats will drive towards even greater responsibility and sustainability in the way it does business.

Download a copy of the full report.

Coats is the world’s leading industrial thread company. At home in some 50 countries, Coats has a workforce of 18,000 people across six continents. Revenues in 2018 were US$1.4bn.

Coats’ pioneering history and innovative culture ensure the company leads the way around the world. It provides complementary and value added products, services and software solutions to the apparel and footwear industries. It applies innovative techniques to develop high technology Performance Materials threads, yarns and fabrics in areas such as automotive, composites, fibre optics and Oil & Gas.

Headquartered in the UK, Coats is a FTSE 250 listed company and a constituent of the FTSE4Good UK Index. It is also the Official Thread Supplier to the Royal Shakespeare Company.

•             Each year we make enough thread to go into 8 billion pairs of jeans – that is one for every person on the planet

•             Every month Coats produces enough thread to stretch all the way to the sun

•             More than 450 million pairs of shoes are made every year using Coats’ thread

•             More than 100 million car airbags are made using Coats’ Performance Materials thread every year

•             In 1879, Thomas Edison used Coats’ thread in his experiments to invent the light bulb

•             Our flame retardant Performance Materials threads can withstand temperatures as high as 1000 degrees Celsius