Environmental Aspects of the Supply Chain

Environmental protection at suppliers
Protecting the environment in all steps of the production and supply chain is paramount to HUGO BOSS. That’s why we work together with our suppliers to establish and enhance environmentally-friendly processes. In addition to general environmental requirements, the focus here is primarily on the topics of chemicals and wastewater management as well as the reduction of climate impacts.

Our Environmental Program for Suppliers

Clearly defined standards apply to our suppliers with regard to environmental protection which, among other things, we have laid down as mandatory in the Supplier Code of Conduct. They are covered by the environmental module of our Supply Chain Sustainability program.   The principles of environmental protection set out in the HUGO BOSS Environmental Policy, which is publicly available, also apply to all of the Company's suppliers. It also takes into account current developments in the area of climate protection, for example. Components of these frameworks include, for example, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, chemicals and wastewater management, waste management and other aspects related to the environment. The most far-reaching requirements apply to suppliers whose production processes have the highest environmental and climate impact.

We check our requirements in dealing with waste, water and wastewater, energy, transportation, greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants in audits. Our foundation for analysis and and improvement of environmental protection in our supply chain forms the environmental module of the Global Social Compliance Program (GSCP) HUGO BOSS has worked on optimizing the GSCP Open Source environmental program for many years, in collaboration with the GSCP and other experts. Particular attention is paid to energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as well as prevention of pollution and compliance with wastewater guidelines in accordance with the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) initiative. Other aspects checked at suppliers include water consumption, waste generation, other environmental protection measures and the environmental management systems in place.

If a partner fails to satisfy the demands of HUGO BOSS, the company draws up corrective action plans, aimed at rectifying the insufficiencies. Extensive information about the audits conducted and their results is available in the HUGO BOSS Sustainability Report.

Climate Protection in the supply chain

We signed the UNFCCC's Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action already in 2018: Together with other companies in the fashion industry, our goal is to achieve "net zero" greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Accordingly, we intend to continuously reduce the climate impact of the supply chain. Due to the increasing requirements placed on signatories of the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action by the UNFCCC, HUGO BOSS will revise its climate targets in 2022 and set even greater ambitions for itself accordingly. The Scope 3 emissions should now be reduced by at least 50%. The focus will be on suppliers that generate the most emissions due to high energy requirements - especially suppliers who require a lot of energy in their processes of dyeing, tanning, or, for example, coating, steaming, or ironing.

Since far-reaching improvements are only possible together, we cooperate with various partners. For example, since 2018 HUGO BOSS has been actively involved in the "Global Climate Action for Fashion" working group of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Another example is that the Company has developed the Resource Efficiency module (REM) together with other companies under the umbrella of ZDHC. With the REM, suppliers can, in particular, record their energy consumption, set goals, start and manage their own resource efficiency projects, and report on their progress. We have also developed the free online training course "Climate Action Training for the Fashion Industry" in cooperation with GIZ (Society for International Cooperation) and the UNFCCC, as well as other international companies from the fashion industry.



Avoidance of hazardous substances

Producing leather and textile products requires the use of chemicals in several steps along the supply chain. Together with its suppliers, HUGO BOSS works toward ensuring that these chemicals are used responsibly. HUGO BOSS obligates its suppliers and employees to comply with and implement the requirements outlined in the HUGO BOSS Chemical Management Policy. The aim is to ensure that product development and production happen in a way that’s aligned with the environment. This is not only to improve safety for customers and industrial workers, but also as a key factor in minimizing the supply chain’s environmental impacts. That’s why HUGO BOSS also works together with industry-wide initiatives like the ZDHC and continually optimizes the use of materials and its production processes in regards to the use of chemicals and wastewater management together with its suppliers.

  • Raw materials

    Different chemicals are used in the production of fabric and trimmings – whether for pesticides in cotton cultivation, in the production of synthetic fibers or in the finishing of fabrics.

    To reduce the use of chemicals, HUGO BOSS works toward using materials from more sustainable production in larger amounts. To this end, the company is a partner in the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), for example, to reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers in cotton cultivation. We also use certified organic cotton, for example, in our BOSS Men Bodywear products in the Signature Line.

  • Manufacturing

    Our natural capital evaluation showed that, in particular, wet-chemical processes in production – such as dyeing or tanning – have major environmental impacts. One of the reasons for this is the use of various chemicals. If these are released with wastewater, for example, this can affect water quality and thus also the water supply for local people. HUGO BOSS is working intensively with its partners to reduce chemicals or switch to environmentally friendly alternatives and operate a functioning wastewater treatment. An important tool for this is the introduction of effective chemical management in the supply chain.

    In order to minimize health and environmental risks, we demand responsible handling of chemicals from our suppliers in our environmental program. To support them in this, we have been a member of the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Program since 2017. The program is based on the ZDHC Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (ZDHC MRSL), which lists chemicals with defined threshold values. This, in combination with educational material and training, helps our partners to reduce the use of chemicals and replace hazardous substances. In addition, water pollution prevention is also an important goal of the ZDHC. For facilities with wet processes that generate industrial wastewater, chemical management therefore includes a functioning wastewater management system. The ZDHC program also enables a standardized assessment of a supplier's chemical management.

  • Final product

    To guarantee the health and safety of the people who come into contact with HUGO BOSS products, the company observes the highest safety standards. For this reason, in particular, compliance with the HUGO BOSS Restricted Substance List (RSL) is mandatory for partners and suppliers at every stage in the supply chain.

    With the HUGO BOSS RSL, the company defines strict maximum amounts of chemicals contained in products. Compliance is verified by regular product tests that HUGO BOSS commissions in external laboratories. The RSL is continually enhanced, incorporating input from our membership of the industry-wide Apparel & Footwear International RSL Management Group initiative (AFIRM). Since 2018, the HUGO BOSS RSL has completely met the requirements of the AFIRM RSL.

Targets on environmental protection at suppliers

  • 100% of suppliers with a high environmental impact comply with the company's specifications

    HUGO BOSS has set itself the target that by 2025, 100% of suppliers with a high environmental impact will comply with our specifications, in particular with regard to climate protection and chemicals management (GSCP, ZDHC, UNFCCC).

    Status 2021: 35%

  • 100% of suppliers with wet processes produce in compliance with the ZDHC MRSL standards

    We have set a target that by 2030, all  suppliers with wet processes will be producing in compliance with the ZDHC MRSL standards (measured by their wastewater tests and chemical inventory).
    As a milestone by 2025, we have set the target for all strategic finished goods suppliers with wet processes.

    Current status 2021: 21% of the wastewater tests of the strategic finished goods suppliers comply with the specifications; 15% of all inspected production sites comply with the specifications.

  • 30% reduction in CO2 emissions (Scope 3) by 2030

    We have set ourselves the goal of reducing Scope 3 emissions, which mainly come from transport, production and raw material extraction, compared to 2018 by at least 30% by 2030. Due to the increasing demands placed on signatories of the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action by the UNFCCC, HUGO BOSS will revise its climate targets in 2022 and increase its ambitions accordingly. Scope 1 and 2 emissions as well as Scope 3 emissions are now to be reduced by at least 50%. These Scope 3 emissions account for over 90% of emissions across the company's value chain. To involve our suppliers in the strategy process and empower them to make their own contributions to reducing emissions, we are actively involved in the UNFCCC working groups on the topics of "raw materials", "energy efficiency and renewable energies in the manufacturing process".

    Current status 2021: 12%


More information

Working for the environment

HUGO BOSS works hard to reduce the environmental impacts of our business activities – for example, through a variety of measures aimed at reducing the energy consumption of our buildings.

Our goal: more sustainable products

Sustainability starts with the design. That’s why HUGO BOSS increasingly uses materials that are produced through environmentally friendly processes. Animal welfare is another important factor in the selection of our materials.

Basis of the strategy: the natural capital evaluation

In the natural capital evaluation, HUGO BOSS uses scientific methods to analyze the entire value chain: Where do the largest environmental impacts occur and how can they be avoided?