RUNNING RESPONSIBLY


Brooks Belief

We live, work, and run as part of a global community

The planet is our home. And because more than 100 million people worldwide run outside, it’s critical we take care of it. As we create new gear and run our global business, we seek to minimize our environmental impact, create positive social change and be transparent about areas where we can do better. In addition, we aim to give back to the communities in which we operate, lifting causes that get people moving. Doing what’s right for people and the planet is a lifelong race. And we’re running it.


Running Responsibly Overview

Vision

Create the best running gear in the world while we reduce our environmental impact in line with climate science, create positive social change and be transparent about these efforts.

Our Aims

Our focus to realize this long-term vision is to achieve Brooks’ Running Responsibly brand goals in the following areas:

  • Product Sustainability: reduce the environmental impact of our product through a focus on materials, waste and chemicals
  • Climate Action: reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with climate science
  • Responsible Sourcing: partner with our suppliers to achieve and continuously improve upon the Brooks Supplier Code of Conduct and Responsibly Sourcing Standards

Transparency

We’re committed to providing transparency to our customers and wider stakeholders on our goals and progress. We’re committed to adopting the Higg Index as one of the primary vehicles for providing that transparency. Publicly communicating Higg Index scores will be available to brands beginning in 2020 and we plan to align with that timeline.

 

Product Sustainability

 

Our products' environmental impacts are rooted in decisions made in the design process. Through the collection of relevant sustainability information, we empower our designers to make informed design decisions that deliver premium product that performs at the highest level while incorporating more sustainable choices.

In 2009 we conducted a product life-cycle assessment to understand the environmental impact of our best-selling footwear and apparel styles. We use insights from this assessment and industry knowledge to prioritize the focus areas of our product sustainability approach.

Design for Sustainability

The creation of waste during footwear manufacturing can be significantly altered by the decisions made during product design. We've implemented a program to provide feedback loops to our footwear designers that evaluates the waste impact that is a result of those design choices.

Central to this program is the calculation of the pattern efficiencies for each part of our core styles' footwear uppers. The shape of these different parts is the key contributor for the amount of waste created during manufacturing. We track this through an average upper pattern efficiency metric that is fed-back to our design team at key product development milestones. The objective of this program is to empower designers to make smarter decisions that will reduce our products’ footprint.

Environmentally Preferred Materials

Developing industry-leading performance running footwear and apparel requires careful selection of materials that will meet the high-performance and quality standards we demand in our products. In recognition of their high environmental impact we're working hard behind the scenes to select materials that are better for both your run and the environment.

Recycled Polyester and Biodegradable Midsoles in Footwear: Our footwear team has been focused on incorporating more sustainable materials into our footwear products for the last seven years. Their focus is on two of our highest volume materials; polyester and EVA, used in the upper mesh and midsole respectively. For the polyester, we seek a minimum 20% recycled content and all midsoles use BioMoGo DNA that includes an organic, non-toxic additive that biodegrades the midsole 50 times faster than traditional EVA when it comes into contact with anaerobic landfill microbes.

Apparel Fabric Certifications

In 2014, Brooks partnered with bluesign® technologies, as a bluesign system partner. Our partnership provides our product creation teams with access to the blueguide®, a tool that helps them to prescreen fabrics that use more sustainable textile preparations (e.g., dyes and detergents) and that are from facilities that have undergone rigorous assessments for environmental standards and worker health and safety.

Restricted Substances Program

Our restricted substances program exists to ensure our products are safe. Our Restricted Substances List (RSL) underpins the program and defines those substances that we restrict or eliminate from our products. It includes at a minimum all chemicals that are regulated by the most stringent legal regulations in any region globally, including EU REACH, and CA Prop 65. We also voluntarily restrict or eliminate many other substances that are hazardous for humans or the environment, but that are not yet being regulated by any government body. We identify those substances through a variety of resources, some of which include AAFA, AFIRM, ChemSec, and other leading industry organizations. We continually review chemical impact assessments and make updates to our RSL at least once per year.

All materials in Brooks’ product must comply with our RSL. We communicate our restricted substances requirements to all of our suppliers through our RSL and maintain this understanding through our RSL Compliance Agreement, which is signed by all suppliers with each updated version of our RSL.

Footwear Material and Product Testing

Our material and product testing programs upholds our RSL Compliance Agreement with suppliers in order to ensure that our RSL is meeting its objectives. Every new footwear material introduced to the Brooks supply chain is required to be tested by an independent third-party testing body approved by Brooks and subsequently retested at least annually. In addition, Brooks reserves the right to randomly select and test at any stage of production, including in materials, components, or finished products. We actively engage with our footwear suppliers on our restricted substances program, providing annual training on how to adopt and adhere to our RSL and how to manage their own suppliers.

Apparel Materials

We require all apparel material suppliers to acquire either third-party certifications (bluesign or Oeko-tex) or a Restricted Substances test report to verify the material is compliant with our RSL. We actively work with suppliers to continually meet this requirement.

Durable Water Repellent (DWR) Treatments: Water repellency is an essential functional component for many of our apparel and footwear styles. Water repellency is achieved through the use of Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treatments, which traditionally use fluorinated chemicals that are able to achieve the high levels of repellent performance required. However, fluorinated chemicals are known to break down into perflourinated chemicals such as PFOA and PFOS, that are persistent, bioaccumulative and have toxicological properties.

A more responsible option when choosing between different DWR technologies is to use short-chain flourochemical water repellents, which have been found to be less-toxic than long-chain DWR varieties. Like many in our industry, we have eliminated long chain DWR treatments from our apparel and footwear lines, and use only short chain formulations.

Short chain DWR is not an end-goal solution to the environmental concerns of DWR. We continue to work with the industry to find more sustainable solutions that keep our products performing at the high standards we expect.

Volatile Organic Compounds

Traditional solvent-based chemicals used in footwear assembly can release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that can be harmful to human health and the environment. To address that impact and improve conditions for workers at the factories we have created a goal to be free of VOCs and other toxic chemicals in footwear assembly. We're making significant year-over-year progress in increasing the percentage of water-based adhesives and we continue to work with our suppliers to test water-based primers as they become commercially available.

To minimize the impact of solvent-based inks in apparel, we require our suppliers to use a bluesign-approved printer wherever possible. Doing this safeguards the health of the employees at the facility by ensuring that priority hazardous chemicals are measured and managed through an appropriate abatement system.

Product Packaging

Our Shoebox Since 2008, we've committed to providing industry-leading packaging while simultaneously reducing its environmental impact. Through a focus on dematerialization and maximum utilization of recycled and recyclable materials, we're making strides towards a box that's better for the environment. In 2012, we set a materials weight reduction goal to further focus our efforts. We're making great progress towards this target and we're continually challenging our supply base to play an active role in continuing to find solutions to progress.

Higg Index: Product Sustainability Assessment Tool

The Product Design and Development Module (DDM), is one of the Higg Index suite of tools developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC). Grounded in science, the DDM helps our product teams to clearly understand the impact of their decisions on overall product sustainability, and provide directional guidance on opportunities to improve, driving overall more sustainable design choices. The tool brings our key product sustainability focus areas into one score, helping us to benchmark against our industry peers to better understand how high we can aim in improving our key product sustainability metrics and strategies.

 

Climate Action

 

We recognize climate change is real and acknowledge our role as both a contributor and a part of the solution. Therefore, we track and measure our global footprint in an effort to lower our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

In 2010, we conducted a complete GHG inventory of all activities led by Brooks and our business partners to understand where our greatest sources of GHG emissions originate and the degree of control we have over them. As with most companies in our industry the majority of emissions throughout our value chain are from sources not under our direct control (materials, manufacturing, and transportation).

Understanding our overall GHG footprint allows us to be focused with our continued tracking, measuring, and reduction efforts. We continue to annually track and measure our largest contributors of our direct sources of GHG emissions, as well as the largest contributors of our indirect sources that we have determined we can influence or take action to reduce.

As a part of our commitment to reducing our impact, in August 2014 we moved into our new global headquarters in Seattle, WA, USA. Part of Seattle's pioneering Deep Green Building Pilot Program, the building achieved LEED Platinum and ENERGY STAR certification. Our new home provides a platform to encourage the use and acceptance of deeper, sustainable development strategies, and is designed to use 75% less energy and water than a typical office building.

Beginning in 2016, we adopted a new GHG accounting methodology using tools provided through the GHG Protocol. The GHG Protocol is a partnership between the World Resources Institute (WRI) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and provides the most widely used international accounting tool to understand, quantify, and manage greenhouse gas emissions. Our emissions are calculated using the following tools:

- Scope 2 Electricity: World Resources Institute (2015). GHG Protocol tool for stationary combustion. Version 4.7.

- Scope 3 Manufacturing: World Resources Institute (2015). GHG Protocol tool for stationary combustion. Version 4.7.

- Scope 3 Inbound Transportation: World Resources Institute (2015). GHG Protocol tool for mobile combustion. Version 2.6.

 

Responsible Sourcing

 

Brooks contracts to manufacture our products and uses an international supply base to create the best running gear in the world. A full list of current contract factories can be found below in the Transparency section. Through the Responsible Sourcing program Brooks engages with in-line finished goods factories, strategic materials suppliers, subcontractors and licensee factories.

Brooks Supplier Code of Conduct and Responsible Sourcing Standards

The Brooks Supplier Code of Conduct is the foundation of the Responsible Sourcing program. Together with local law and international labor standards it sets the guidelines by which we expect all supply chain partners to abide. The Supplier Code of Conduct is updated regularly to keep up with changing industry norms and the unique circumstances of our supply chain. Our most up-to-date Supplier Code of Conduct can be found below in the Transparency section. The Supplier Code of Conduct is enforced through our work in the below sections. The Responsible Sourcing Standards is a supplemental guide for our suppliers to better understand our Responsible Sourcing program and how to meet our Supplier Code of Conduct.

Social Responsibility Assessments

Brooks takes a risk-based approach to assessing compliance to our Supplier Code of Conduct. Brooks will utilize different assessment tools and frequencies depending on the risks present, country of origin and compliance history. We also aim to reduce audit fatigue whenever possible and collaborate with other brands to accept shared audits or perform joint remediation projects.

Brooks uses in-house assessment templates to measure compliance against our Supplier Code of Conduct and Running Responsibly goals. Brooks also uses and aims to increase our use of the Higg Index Facility Social/Labor Module (FSLM). In alignment with our efforts to reduce audit fatigue, we have partnered with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and Social & Labor Convergence Project to pilot and rollout this industry-wide tool.

When non-compliances to the Brooks Supplier Code of Conduct or local law are noted in an assessment, Brooks will immediately open a corrective action plan and work with the factory to resolve the issue(s) present. Brooks recognizes that is does not help working conditions if we immediately exit factories that fail to meet our standards. Our preference is to always work with the factory to improve the issue in question. There are situations where Brooks will end our relationship with a factory due to non-compliance to our Supplier Code of Conduct, including but not limited to: non-transparency and failure to demonstrate continuous improvement against the Brooks standard.

Higg Index Facility Environmental Module

Brooks utilizes the Higg Index Facility Environmental Module (FEM) to measure environmental compliance to our Supplier Code of Conduct. As with social responsibility assessments, Brooks will implement a corrective action plan when indicators within the FEM reveal a factory does not meet our minimum environmental standards.

Worker Voice

Brooks aims for our factories to provide fulfilling employment that can help improve the well-being of their employees. An important part of this effort is to provide our factories’ employees a voice and a seat at the table to provide valuable feedback both to Brooks and to the factory through which they are employed.

Brooks aims to capture this information through robust and innovative assessment methods including onsite worker surveys administered via SMS or other local social media platforms. From the data collected during an assessment Brooks will measure employee sentiment, harassment and abuse, grievance mechanisms and worker representation. Based on the data and other risk factors, Brooks may suggest or require improvement plans or program updates to help meet our Worker Voice standards.

Supplier Excellence

Brooks is committed to the continuous improvement of our factories against our Responsible Sourcing standards. It is our goal that suppliers not only meet our minimum standards but continue to improve over time. Therefore, in addition to our assessment and remediation tools outlined above, we aim to provide other opportunities for suppliers to progress beyond our minimum standards.

Basic trainings are available to all new suppliers which outline the tenets of our Supplier Code of Conduct and Responsible Sourcing program. Over time, as suppliers demonstrate compliance with our Code we will review and recommend suppliers for additional trainings to help assist them in taking ownership of their own Corporate Responsibility program. This means less oversight from Brooks and preferential sourcing status (Responsible Sourcing is a key component of our sourcing scorecard).

Additionally, Brooks recognizes a brand’s role in driving non-compliances at factories through poor sourcing practices. As such, we actively review our sourcing practices and aim to minimize or eliminate any practices that are identified as driving non-compliance at our factories.

 

Our Footprint

We recognize climate change is real and acknowledge our role as both a contributor and a part of the solution. Therefore, we track and measure our global footprint in an effort to lower our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learn more about our greenhouse gas inventory.

 

 

 

 

Learn more about our Seattle Headquarters

In 2010, we conducted a complete GHG inventory of all activities led by Brooks and our business partners to understand where our greatest sources of GHG emissions originate and the degree of control we have over them. As with most companies in our industry the majority of emissions throughout our value chain are from sources not under our direct control (materials, manufacturing, and transportation).

Understanding our overall GHG footprint allows us to be focused with our continued tracking, measuring, and reduction efforts. We continue to annually track and measure our largest contributors of our direct sources of GHG emissions, as well as the largest contributors of our indirect sources that we have determined we can influence or take action to reduce.

As a part of our commitment to reducing our impact, in August 2014 we moved into our new global headquarters in Seattle, WA, USA. Part of Seattle's pioneering Deep Green Building Pilot Program, the building achieved LEED Platinum and ENERGY STAR certification. Our new home provides a platform to encourage the use and acceptance of deeper, sustainable development strategies, and is designed to use 75% less energy and water than a typical office building.

Beginning in 2016, we adopted a new GHG accounting methodology using tools provided through the GHG Protocol. The GHG Protocol is a partnership between the World Resources Institute (WRI) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and provides the most widely used international accounting tool to understand, quantify, and manage greenhouse gas emissions. Our emissions are calculated using the following tools:

  • Scope 2 Electricity: World Resources Institute (2015). GHG Protocol tool for stationary combustion. Version 4.7.

  • Scope 3 Manufacturing: World Resources Institute (2015). GHG Protocol tool for stationary combustion. Version 4.7.

  • Scope 3 Inbound Transportation: World Resources Institute (2015). GHG Protocol tool for mobile combustion. Version 2.6.

Strategic Partnerships

As with other companies in our industry, the majority of environmental and social impacts related to our business and products are a result of activities outside of our direct control. This highlights the need for collective action in fostering performance improvement throughout our products and supply chain.

 

 

 

 

Learn more about our membership with the SAC

 

 

 

 

 

 

bluesign Technologies

bluesign® technologies is an organization that Brooks partnered with in 2014 to help us evaluate and manage chemicals used in our apparel materials manufacturing process. The bluesign system helps us to ensure that our apparel material suppliers are responsibly managing all inputs and outputs from their facilities and eliminating priority hazardous chemicals from our supply chain. Textile manufacturers that become bluesign system partners are required to establish management systems for improving environmental performance in five key areas of the production process: resource productivity, consumer safety, water emissions, air emissions, and occupational health and safety.

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Sustainable Apparel Coalition

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is a trade organization comprising brands, retailers, manufacturers, government, non-government organizations, and academic experts representing more than a third of the global apparel and footwear market. The SAC is working to reduce the environmental and social impact of apparel and footwear products around the world. The focus of the SAC is the Higg Index – a suite of assessment tools that standardizes the measurement of environmental and social impacts of apparel and footwear products across the product lifecycle and throughout the value chain. Our membership with the SAC provides us access to the suite of Higg Index Tools and allows us to participate in furthering the evolution of the tools to ensure wider industry adoption and impact.

To date, Brooks has been an early-adopter of both the Brand and the Facilities Environmental Module (FEM), and is actively involved in the development of the Product Design and Development Module (DDM).

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