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    SUSTAINABILITY

    our mission

    Helly Hansen’s DNA is forever intertwined with water. The brand was founded by a sea captain in 1877 working on the Norwegian Fjords. To this day Helly Hansen continues to provide professional grade gear for use on water and snow around the world.

    Our love and dependency on water has led us to focus on preserving and conserving water as our leading sustainability effort.

    We are prepared to lead the way forward, together with our professionals, customers, partners and colleagues. We are setting out to ensure we are creating a positive impact helping the world´s water stay as clean as the Norwegian fjords.

    Our mission is to have a focused sustainability effort, which is result-oriented and has a holistic and scientific approach to help conserve and preserve water.

    We will reduce our own negative impact, conserve and protect nature and advocate for the outdoors with a focus on water as well as ensuring we are in no way undermining people and the planet to flourish.

    Our Policy on Responsible Business Conduct and Code of Conduct forms the foundation of our sustainability work. Download our Sustainability Roadmap here.

    SOURCING

    The relationships in our supply chain will define a large part of the materials we use and how they are produced. We have a long-standing relationship with a majority of our suppliers, having worked with many of them for 20–30 years. Through these partnerships we develop the most unique materials, the highest quality and optimal production methods.

    MATERIALS & TECHNOLOGIES

    Our aspiration is to make products that can live through generations. It’s amazing to see that some Helly Hansen products from the 1970s are still walking around on the streets and in the mountains. Making long lasting products require durable materials, which is a priority for us and an advantage for the environment. In addition, we constantly work to develop and choose materials with the lowest environmental impact. Below you will find our main approaches for decreasing the environmental impact from the materials we use in our products.

    All animals deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and to avoid mistreatment. This includes no force feeding, no live plucking, and no mulesing. They should be treated responsibly, and to ensure the welfare of animals, we require that all our suppliers of wool, down, and leather, apply to our Code of Conduct.

    Merino sheep is thought to be the oldest breed of sheep in the world, and their fine, soft wool is a natural choice for both our products and the environment. We use mulesing-free Merino wool, and most of it is grown by ZQ certified growers.

    ZQ certification demands the best in animal welfare and environmental practice. It means that the sheep producing the wool are humanely treated, well fed, live natural and healthy lives, and are not subjected to mulesing. It also means the wool is of the highest quality and performance.

    Merino wool is a natural, renewable fibre that requires less washing and can have a very long life when taken care of in the right way

    We only source down from geese and ducks that have not been live plucked, force-fed or subjected to unnecessary harm. To ensure that no birds are harmed in the making of our products, 100 % of the down we use is fully traceable and RDS-certified.

    The Responsible Down Standard (RDS) is an independent, global standard that recognizes and rewards best practices in the down and feather industry. Its goal is to protect animals from harm and enable traceability at a global scale throughout the entire down industry.

    We have phased out the use of leather in apparel, since we have substitution materials for all applications. We are still using leather in shoes and gloves. All the leather and suedes in our sportswear shoes are coming from certified tannaries audited by the “Leather Working Group”. Our leather volumes are relatively small, however, we do recognize the impact and animal welfare concerns related to leather and are currently working close without suppliers to ensure a transparent and responsible supply chain.

    Helly Hansen stopped using fur in 2006. Today, none of our garments contain real fur, instead we source faux furs that are visually as close as possible to the real thing. In addition, the performance is very close to the behavior of real fur. The faux fur is applied around the hood in order to protect the face from windchill and snow but also to absorb some of the moisture in the breath, which can otherwise come back in your face and freeze.

    We use solution dyed yarn, which means that the color is fused directly into the yarn at the beginning of the production process. In this way we can avoid the water-, chemical-, and energy intense wet dyeing process. Solution dyeing does not require any water, and use 90% less chemicals, 50% less energy and 60% less CO2 emissions compared to conventional dyeing. Not only is the color achieved in a sustainable manner, it also resists fading much longer than with traditional dye methods.

    Polyester represents around 50% of the global fiber production, with more than 63,000 million tons of polyester fiber are produced annually. By using more recycled polyester, we reduce dependence on petroleum as the raw material for our fabric needs. Diverting PET-bottles reduces landfill and thus soil contamination and air and water pollution. Recycled polyester requires much less energy, and GHG emissions can be cut up to 76% (Reference: Open loop recycling: A LCA study of PET bottle-to-fibre recycling, Li Shen, Ernst Worrell, Martin K.Patel, 2010). We have a policy to only apply certified recycled material which can be traced.

    ENVIRONMENT

    At Helly Hansen we work and play outdoors. Being respectful to the environment is one of our main concerns, and this includes making sure that our manufacturing process has the lowest possible impact on people and the environment. Thus, all our tier 1 and tier 2 suppliers must sign our Restricted substance list, which ensures no substances of concern is applied for producing our fabrics and materials.

    With the production of high-tech textiles comes concerns regarding water, energy and chemical consumption. That’s why we partnered up with bluesign® in 2008.

    The widely recognized and independent bluesign® system acts as a global guiding tool for the entire textile industry’s production chain. It starts from the ground up, and it’s not about testing finished products, but rather ensuring that the process is done right all the way from its first stage. All components from chemistry applied with raw materials and dye stuff, to textile manufacturers, should meet the criteria. The goal is to ensure that products are produced environmentally responsibly and pose no health hazards.

    92% of Helly Hansen’s fabrics used for the sports category and 60% of the fabrics used for Workwear were bluesign® approved in 2018. 25% of the trims were bluesign® approved.

    There are serious environmental and health concerns surrounding antibacterial treatments, which are often added to textiles and sports garments in order to reduce odor. Several of these compounds have been found in high concentration in the environment, polluting the water, threatening aquatic life and damaging plants that use this water for nutrition. Many of these substances are still under review by ECHA as they are believed to possess human- and/or environmental toxicity and cause multi-resistant bacteria.

    At Helly Hansen we are committed to ensuring that all our apparel is and will remain free of antibacterial substances.

    Plastic materials possess many unique properties which can benefit the products they are applied to. The challenge is that many are applying plastic materials unnecessarily and the consequence can be a leakage of non-degradable plastic materials into our environment. Once the plastic reaches the environment, it will most likely stay there for hundreds of years.

    Helly Hansen is committed to the research, evaluation, and implementation of alternatives to single-use plastics in our supply chain. Through the #RMB Single Use Plastics Project we are producing an actionable road map for new alternatives with a lower environmental footprint together with other industry colleagues. The alternatives are evaluated from a life-cycle perspective where we are considering every step in the value chain from raw material to end-of-life possibilities like recycling or biodegradability.

    The textile industry was faced with a huge challenge a few years ago, when research showed that almost all textile materials are shedding small microfiber plastics which are polluting our environment and oceans.

    Helly Hansen is now engaging in several research projects in order to understand how we can implement solutions for hindering microplastics from reaching the environment, considering the whole supply chain. We are also adopting and investigating new fibers and materials which are less prone to release microfibers.

    The Microfibre Consortium

    Microfibre

    One of Helly Hansen’s major focus areas is to prevent leakage of chemicals into the environment and our waters. We have paid a lot of attention to the PFAS chemistry over the last eight years. Traditionally PFAS chemistry is applied in order to achieve oil and water repellency on fabric surfaces. However, this has been proven harmful for nature and living organisms, so we are therefore phasing out the PFAS chemicals from our production and products. Helly Hansen is in close cooperation with research institutes and chemical suppliers of PFAS-free DWR (dirt and water repellent) treatments. Helly Hansen’s focus when replacing PFAS is assurance of durability and the environmental profile of the substitute. Thanks to the industry’s dedication in phasing out PFAS and heavy R&D work, we are now starting to see PFAS-free treatments which are up to standard and can replace the PFAS chemistry. Up until now we have managed to replace 50% of the PFAS treated fabrics with PFAS-free alternatives, which have a better environmental profile and are still performing to our high standards.

    The main obstacle to overcome when phasing out PFAS from our materials is the excellent performance of PFAS. There is still no alternative chemistry which can supply as low surface tension as PFAS can do, which means we still cannot provide fabrics which are PFAS-free and at the same time oil repellent. For work wear fabrics which are often exposed to oil and dirt we will be dependent on PFAS for a bit longer. For other fabrics, where water repellency is more important than oil repellency, we have seen alternatives on the market for a few years. The challenge here has rather been durability of the treatment. The 1st and 2nd generations of PFAS-free treatments were performing well in initial performance tests, but the treatments were not durable enough for either washing or extended wear. We are not compromising on quality, so whilst our R&D efforts carry on, we will continue to use PFAS chemistry if it’s the only solution viable to meet the performance needs.

    During the last 2–3 years we have experienced a large improvement in the PFAS free DWR development from chemical suppliers and also from our manufacturers on the application process. We have developed 56% of the sports fabrics in PFAS-free DWR, and all kids products are now with PFAS-free treatments.

    Water
    Helly Hansen’s DNA is intertwined with water. We were founded by sea captain Helly Juell Hansen in 1877 on the southern coast of Norway, and our love of water has led us to choose water as our leading sustainability effort.

    Apparel production uses a lot of water and is a major contributor to water pollution. Thus, water consumption has always been a challenge in the textile industry. Here we have been driving change beyond regulations and certifications since the 1970s by only using water-free dyeing technologies on our LIFA base layers. We are now adopting these types of technologies on a larger scale, helping us save even more water than before.

    Our goal is to use our research efforts, our engineering developments and consumer awareness campaigns to help water around the world stay as clean as the Norwegian fjords. We are passionate supporters of many other environmental issues and will continue to be proactive participants in improving the overall standards of the Outdoor Industry. Within water issues we will be thought leaders, research pioneers and drive awareness of clean water challenges to our consumers and partners across the value chain.

    The ocean generates over 50% of the world’s oxygen and absorbs half of the carbon produced. In the last decade, the oceans have absorbed nearly a third of the carbon dioxide emitted by industrial activity. This has slowed climate change, but at a great cost to ocean health. Many scientists fear we are on the brink of a large-scale maritime extinction unless urgent action is taken.

    The acidity of the oceans has increased by roughly 30% as a result of carbon dioxide dissolving in marine waters. The textile industry is a contributor to the global carbon pollution, especially through preparation of yarns, textiles, dyeing and finishing. At Helly Hansen, we are currently building our carbon footprint baseline in order to identify where we can have the largest effect on our emissions. At the same time, we are transferring towards materials with a smaller footprint, and apply processes that require less resources and cause less pollution.

    We cooperate closely with our suppliers and nominate 100% of the materials used in our garments, down to every detail. We also have a relationship with all our material suppliers (Tier 2) which ensures traceability of all the components we are using. We continually do random checks to evaluate our suppliers’ performance and compliance with our Code of Conduct and Restricted Substance List (RSL).

    MANUFACTURING

    FAIR WORKING PRACTICES & SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION

    The textile and garment industry is made up of a complex supply chain stretched all over the globe. It covers industries such as chemical suppliers, yarn spinners, material suppliers and garment manufacturers, often situated in countries with weak social regulations.

    Helly Hansen has been a member of Ethical Trade Norway since 2003. Ethical Trade Norway (IEH) is a multi-stakeholder initiative, represented by NGOs, Trade Unions, Businesses and the Enterprise Federation of Norway.

    Ethical Trade Norway’s aim is to strengthen its members’ efforts to promote decent working and environmental conditions in their supply chains, and to strengthen support for ethical trade in general.

    As part of our membership, Helly Hansen submits an annual report to IEH on concrete goals and activities, and on the progress of and results achieved by our ethical trade efforts. The report is available here.

    We have full traceability of all our Tier 1 suppliers and many of our Tier 2 suppliers, and cooperation based on trust, mutual respect and long-term relationships has been a part of our core values since the founding of Helly Hansen in 1877. Moreover, our manufacturing Code of Conduct, which is communicated and signed by all our Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, is based on key UN and International Labor Organization conventions and documents.

    We are committed to conduct all aspects of our business in keeping with the highest legal and ethical standards and expect all employees and other persons acting on our behalf to uphold this commitment. Our Anti-Corruption Compliance Policy is available here.

    We perform social audits on a yearly basis with all our Tier 1 suppliers, including approved sub-contractors. Before any new suppliers are approved, risk assessment is being performed and Helly Hansen internal staff visits the facilities and meet with the factory management and personnel. If any deviations from Helly Hansen’s COC is discovered when the HH staff is visiting factories, no further cooperation is initiated until these deviations have been settled.

    However, to achieve economic and social progress, our main focus is on social dialogue projects. Social dialogue is an integral aspect of achieving workplace harmony, leading to a better organization and greater productivity.

    We summarize our focus for people in four main areas:

    1. Building long-term relationships based on trust and mutual respect.
    2. Manufacturing Code of Conduct (COC) communicated and signed by all Tier 1 suppliers, including sub-contractors.
    3. Yearly social audits.
    4. Enabling “social dialogue” in the workplace to strengthen worker’s rights as well as performance and productivity.

    To drive better outcomes for both Helly Hansen and workers throughout the supply chain, we have recently rolled out a Workers’ Engagement program called QuizRR, which aims to improve working conditions through education, using a digital tool for scalability. The tool in practice is built up by modules and is presented to the workers in a quiz form. Improvements can come as further employee involvement, problem/ conflict solving, skills and capacity building, nomination and election of representatives and improvement in their skills.

    You can read more on the QuizRR website.

    In 2013 Helly Hansen signed the 2013 Accord agreement, which is a legally binding and independent agreement between global brands, labour organizations, unions and textile companies. The aim is to ensure that the textile factories in Bangladesh are safe workplaces.

    Inspections are done on electrical installations, fire safety equipment and building structure and reports and remediation plans are created together with the factory.

    To maintain and expand the progress achieved under the 2013 Accord, over 190 brands and retailers have signed the 2018 Transition Accord with the global unions, a renewed agreement which entered into effect on 1 June 2018.

    As its name suggests, the 2018 Transition Accord is committed to handing over its functions to a national regulatory body, the Government of Bangladesh’ Remediation and Coordination Cell (RCC). The 2018 Transition Accord will provide support and Capacity Building of the RCC to become ready to take over Accord functions. A Transition Plan has been developed which includes a gradual handover of Accord inspections and monitoring of remediation functions at RMG factories, starting immediately with a first batch of 100% remediated factories and will continue based on demonstrated capacity of the RCC.

    You can read more on the Accord website.

    Since its foundation in 1877, Helly Hansen has built business relationships based on trust and mutual respect. Helly Hansen’s core values include authenticity, dynamism, honesty, integrity, teamwork, and pride in our heritage. At Helly Hansen, corporate social responsibility is an integral part of the business strategy and considered fundamental to growth and success in the company. Our Code of Conduct (COC) is based on key UN and International Labor Organization conventions and documents. All of Helly Hansen’s suppliers of goods and services must comply with the COC.

    Our Policy on Responsible Business Conduct describes the expectations we have towards our supply chain partners and their work on creating a responsible business culture.

    Download our Code of Conduct

    Download our Policy on Responsible Business Conduct

     

    In 2017 Helly Hansen became members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), an industry alliance for sustainable production. The SAC has developed a set of tools, referred to as the Higg Index, to measure the environmental and social impact in the supply chain, own organization and on product level.

    The data we gather through the Higg Index helps us address inefficiencies, resolve damaging practices, and increase environmental and social transparency. You can read more about SAC and the Higg Index here.

    LONGEVITY

    For the past 140 years, Helly Hansen has developed and tested its technologies together with professionals living and working in some of the world’s toughest environments.

    Their spirit, experiences and feedback are woven into every detail and every fiber of our garments. Ski patrollers, mountain professionals, offshore sailors, and search & rescue professionals all rely on our products and technologies to keep them safe, protected and warm in some of the most challenging conditions known to man.

    The biggest favor we can do for the environment is to produce less stuff and instead invest in products with quality and longevity. We don’t compromise on quality and want our products to be alive for as long as possible. We have stringent quality controls in the laboratory, in production and via field testing with our ambassadors, ensuring products that live up to their expectations and beyond.

    Helly Hansen garments are manufactured to optimal Quality Specifications and Quality Assurance that meet Helly Hansen’s production requirements. All raw materials and trims & accessories used in Helly Hansen products are subjected to quality controls prior to being commercialized and sold to end customers.

    A multitude of quality control tests are performed prior to and during the production process to ensure that the product meets Helly Hansen standards. All quality controls are reviewed and managed by a team of Helly Hansen product experts. This team conducts extensive tests and follow strict inspection procedures.

    Helly Hansen has also nominated third party entities that perform and monitor specific tests at the manufacturing sites to ensure that products meet the required standards. In the event of any product being recalled, these products are analyzed to find out the root cause for the failure and mitigation plans are put into place for the future.

    The right treatment makes your clothes and shoes last longer. Learn how to take proper care of your Helly Hansen products here.

    END-OF-USE

    Our focus has always been on the quality, performance and longevity of the product. With a growing internal awareness around the textile waste challenges and opportunities to utilize products and materials in a second life, we are currently evaluating and researching possibilities for Helly Hansen to be a part of the circle. We are currently collaborating with companies offering repairs and other companies who are supporting people in need of garments, e.g. to a solidity project where the garments are given to “Dråpen i Havet”.

    On 2 December 2015, the European Commission adopted a package of legislative proposals on waste. This package is part of its Circular Economy Action Plan, and it includes having all EU member states providing separate textile collection by 2025 at the latest. The aim is to boost the quality of secondary raw materials.

    Re-defining waste to be a resource is an important part for realizing a circular economy, and Helly Hansen welcomes the EU initiative as it will help us on our way to a circular future. The directive will incentivize countries to build up an infrastructure that can collect, sort and recycle textile materials in the most effective manner. We as producers are given an important role in this transition through development of closed loop models and materials. Revitalization of materials and products will help us reduce our environmental impact further.

    COLLABORATIONS

    At Helly Hansen we strongly believe that long-term commercial success can only be achieved by respecting, protecting and promoting ethical values, human rights and our environment.

    To make sure we improve and set high enough standards in terms of social and environmental values, we have partnered up with numerous organizations within a wide range of fields.

     

    With the production of high-tech textiles comes concerns regarding water, energy and chemical consumption. That’s why we partnered up with bluesign® in 2008.

    The widely recognized and independent bluesign® system acts as a global guiding tool for the entire textile industry’s production chain. It starts from the ground up, and it’s not about testing finished products, but rather ensuring that the process is done right all the way from its first stage. All components from chemistry applied with raw materials and dye stuff, to textile manufacturers, should meet the criteria. The goal is to ensure that products are produced environmentally responsibly and pose no health hazards.

    92% of Helly Hansen’s fabrics used for the sports category and 60% of the fabrics used for Workwear were bluesign® approved in 2018. 25% of the trims were bluesign® approved.

     

    The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is the apparel, footwear, and textile industry’s leading alliance for sustainable production. By joining forces in a Coalition, we are addressing the urgent, systemic challenges that are impossible to change alone. The SAC are organizing working groups and are behind the development of the Higg index. Helly Hansen has been members since 2017.

     

    The Higg Index is a suite of tools that enables brands, retailers, and facilities of all sizes to accurately measure and score a company or product’s social or environmental sustainability performance. Helly Hansen uses this tool to analyze the environmental and social status of the company via the Brand and Retail modulus, and the status and improvement of the facilities where our materials and products are made via the Facility Environmental Modulus.

     

    The European Outdoor Group is an umbrella organization for outdoor retailers and brands in Europe representing the outdoor sector and organizing and propelling collaboration within the sector. The EOG has a clear focus on sustainability and supports sharing of best practices and collaborations to improve the way we work and do business within the outdoor industry.

     

    The Outdoor industry Association (OIA) is the counterpart of The European Outdoor Group (EOG) in North America. OIA has several sustainability working groups where companies of all sizes are collaborating.

     

    The Swedish “Kemikaliegruppen” works to share the latest information regarding chemistry and environmentally related questions, issues and innovations. The network is run by Swerea IVF together with experts from universities and governments. Helly Hansen is an active member of the group, which allows us to stay updated on the latest on chemistry within our industry.

     

    POPFREE is a two year innovation project financed by Vinnova with the goal to promote feasible non-fluorinated alternatives in product categories such as fire-fighting foams, textile impregnation, food contact paper, cosmetics as well as ski waxes. In the project, alternatives will be identified, developed and evaluated for technical, environmental and health performance in parallel. Awareness along the value chain is another important part of POPFREE and the project will help suppliers, professional buyers and consumers to make educated choices. The project joins more than 30 partners from industry, academy, NGOs and institutes.

     

    Helly Hansen has been a member of Ethical Trade Norway since 2003. Ethical Trade Norway (IEH) is a multi-stakeholder initiative, represented by NGOs, Trade Unions, Businesses and the Enterprise Federation of Norway.

    Ethical Trade Norway’s aim is to strengthen its members’ efforts to promote decent working and environmental conditions in their supply chains, and to strengthen support for ethical trade in general.

     

    To drive better outcomes for both Helly Hansen and workers throughout the supply chain, we have recently rolled out a Workers’ Engagement program called QuizRR, which aims to improve working conditions through education, using a digital tool for scalability. The tool in practice is built up by modules and is presented to the workers in a quiz form. Improvements can come as further employee involvement, problem/ conflict solving, skills and capacity building, nomination and election of representatives and improvement in their skills.

     

    Helly Hansen has been members of Accord since 2013. ACCORD is an independent, legally binding agreement between brands and trade unions to work towards safety and health in the garment and textile industry in Bangladesh. The organization is conducting audits in factories and support the improvement of factories in the country.

     

    Merino sheep is thought to be the oldest breed of sheep in the world, and their fine, soft wool is a natural choice for both our products and the environment. We use mulesing-free Merino wool, and most of it is grown by ZQ certified growers.

    ZQ certification demands the best in animal welfare and environmental practice. It means that the sheep producing the wool are humanely treated, well fed, live natural and healthy lives, and are not subjected to mulesing. It also means the wool is of the highest quality and performance.

     

    We only source down from geese and ducks that have not been live plucked, force-fed or subjected to unnecessary harm. To ensure that no birds are harmed in the making of our products, 100% of the down we use is fully traceable and RDS-certified.

    The Responsible Down Standard (RDS) is an independent, global standard that recognizes and rewards best practices in the down and feather industry. Its goal is to protect animals from harm and enable traceability at a global scale throughout the entire down industry.

     

    The Microfibre Consortium (TMC) facilitates the development of practical solutions for the textile industry to minimize microfiber release to the environment from textile manufacturing and product life cycle. Helly Hansen has been a member since the foundation in 2017 and is actively involved in projects within the consortium. In 2019 the group released a testing standard which can be used for evaluating the volume of microfibers coming off from a fabric. By having an agreed standard within the industry we can start to compare materials on a large scale, which is important in order to unlock new solutions for microfiber pollution from textiles.

     

    The SINTEF microfibre project was founded in 2016. Today it consists of representatives from Norwegian brands, universities and researchers. The focus in this project is to develop an understanding of the fate and effect of microfibers once they reach the environment. The group has also developed an internal washing test method and analyzed microfiber shedding during washing and also dyeing.

     

    The Single Use Plastic Project is a project managed by the European Outdoor Group and includes multiple brands and retailers from the outdoors industry. The participating organisations in the project aim to produce a road map by the end of 2019 to significantly reduce single use plastic within the value chain.


     

    OCEARCH is a data-centric organization built to help scientists collect previously unattainable data in the ocean. Its mission is to accelerate the ocean’s return to balance and abundance, through innovations in scientific research, education, outreach, and policy, using collaborations of individuals and organizations. Open sourcing and inclusion at every level, and in real-time, allows the world to participate in its projects while being aware of the developing science.

    Nekton is an independent, nonprofit research foundation working in collaboration with the University of Oxford and a UK registered charity. Its mission is to explore and conserve the ocean — aiming to support the protection of at least 30% of the ocean by 2030.

     

    The Conservation Alliance was founded in 1989 by a group of like-minded companies. Its collective annual membership dues are disbursed to grassroot environmental organization to permanently protect land and waterways for their habitat and recreation values.

     

    In The Same Boat is an NGO that’s primary mission is to reduce marine litter. Its goals is to clean the entire Norwegian coastline in 5 years, through efforts like professional cleaning, awareness campaigns, community engagement, building knowledge and innovation.