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How sustainable is New Balance ?

New Balance & sustainability


New Balance
First milestones, should be better Click here for score rapport: 6 out of 36

Sustainability summary

New Balance has achieved the D-label. New Balance has started to take sustainability into account. Still, a lot more can be done.

Brand owner: New Balance Athletics, Inc.
Head office: Boston, MA, USA
Sector: Sport & outdoor - clothing & shoes
Categories : Male, Female, Kids
Free Tags: Bags, Caps, Shirts, Pullover, Jackets, Shoes, Boots

What's your sustainability news about New Balance?

New Balance sustainability score report

Last edited: 18 June 2017 by Mario
Last reviewed: 18 June 2017 by Mario

Questions about Climate Change/ Carbon Emissions

1 out of 6
1. Is there a policy for the brand to minimize, reduce or compensate carbon emissions? New Balance implements several measures to reduce climate emissions, such as the use of renewable energy or assessing the life cycle impacts of the company's products in order to move forward with lighter footprints (see link, page 47-51). Source
2. Has the brand (company) disclosed the annual absolute carbon footprint of its 'own operations' (Scope 1 & 2) and has the brand already reduced or compensated 10% of these emissions in the last 5 years? New Balance disclosed the annual climate footprint of its own operations (Scope 1& 2) at the New England facilities. The company's GHG emissions increased by 7,8% percent from 7,605,226 kg CO2e in 2009 to 8,248,459 kg CO2e in 2010. However, no up to date climate footprint is published (See link, page 49). Source
3. Is at least 50% of the electricity used by the brand (company) generated from renewable resources, such as wind or solar energy? New Balance reports for 2010 to have used approximately 27% renewable energy in its New England facilities. There is no mention of its other facilities. Also no more up to date reporting is published (see link, page 51). Source
4. Does 100% of the electricity that the brand (company) uses for its ‘own operations’ come from renewable resources, such as wind or solar energy? See remark for carbon emissions policy question 3. Source
5. Has the brand (company) set a target to reduce its absolute ‘own operations’ carbon emissions by at least 20% within the next 5 years? According to New Balance's 2020 vision, the company set the target of reducing the average kg CO2 per pair of shoes manufactured by less than 4. However, it is unclear what percentage value this represent in terms of the company's total operations (see link, page 49). Source
6. Does the brand (company) also have a policy to reduce/compensate carbon emissions generated from the product supply chain that is beyond own operations (Scope 3)? New Balance mentions not to have tracked Scope 3 emissions, but claims to be engaged to establish tracking and reporting systems in manufacturing facilities. However, no clear policy's are reported yet (see link, page 51). Source

Questions about Environmental Policy

0 out of 16
1. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 5% of its volume? New Balance used environmentally preferred materials (EPM's) such as recycled polyester, recycled content, recycled fibres and reduced-impact synthetics for 25%. However, no more up to date reporting is published (see link, page 26). Source
2. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 10% of its volume? See remark for environmental policy question 1. Source
3. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 25% of its volume? See remark for environmental policy question 1. Source
4. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 50% of its volume? See remark for environmental policy question 1. Source
5. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 75% of its volume? See remark for environmental policy question 1. Source
6. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 90% of its volume? See remark for environmental policy question 1. Source
7. Does the brand have a clear and effective policy to avoid the use of leather that originates from cattle farms in deforestated Amazone areas? New Balance mentions being a member of the Leather Working Group and to use leather produced at tanneries that meet the new tannery assessment for superior environmental performance (bronze award level or higher). However, the company does not clearly communicate a policy regarding the origin of the leather (see link, pages 31-33). Source
8. Does the brand (company) have a clear and effective policy to minimize environmental pollution of chromium and other harmful substances from leather tanning processes, e.g. by waste water treatment or by vegetable tanning? New Balance reports using leather that meets the new tannery assessment for superior environmental performance (bronze award level or higher). However, the company does not mention what % of leather this accounts for (See link, page 33). Source
9. Is there a policy for the brand (company) to eliminate all hazardous chemicals from the whole lifecycle and all production procedures to make the clothing and footwear? New Balance implements measures to limit the use of hazardous chemicals, but does not report up to date results of its policy (see link, starting on page 36). Source
10. Has the brand (company) eliminated at least one suspect chemical group, such as Phthalates or Per fluorinated chemicals from its entire garment production? See remark for environmental policy question 9. Source
11. Has the brand (company) eliminated at least three suspect chemical groups, such as Phthalates or Per fluorinated chemicals from its entire garment production? See remark for environmental policy question 9. Source
12. Does the brand (company) have a clear target to phase out PVC in their products, and has the brand already achieved a PVC phase out level of more than 90%? New Balance claims that all the company's footwear is PVC free, but is not clear whether this applies for its other products too (see link, page 37). Source
13. Has the brand (company) a clear and effective policy to minimize the use of solvents based chemicals in their shoe production, and has the brand already achieved a level of average max. 40 grams of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions per pair of shoes? New Balance reports the absolute emissions from suppliers, but not the overall, up to date average emissions per pair of shoes (see link, page 57). Source
14. Does the brand (company) have clear objectives to minimize the environmental impact of its shipping packaging and carrier bags, by reducing, re-using, recycling and responsible sourcing of packaging materials, and does the brand annually report on these results? New Balance states to use recycled paper for its shoe boxes. However, tangible, up to date aggregate results regarding its packaging materials footprint are not made public (see link, page 44). Source
15. Does the brand (company) have clear objectives to minimize waste, by reducing, re-using and recycling, and does the brand annually report the results? New Balance reports the annual waste by type, weight and way of disposal and has reduced the net waste from 2,534 to 2,452 between 2009 and 2010. However, New Balance does not publish any recent annual results of its waste reduction policy (see link, page 54). Source
16. Does the brand (company) encourage the return or re-use of garments? New Balance reported on testing footwear and apparel take-back programs in 2010/11. Whether this programme is still active is not clearly reported (see link, page 33). Source

Questions about Labour Conditions/ Fair Trade

5 out of 14
1. Does the brand (company) have a supplier Code of Conduct (CoC) which includes the following standards: No forced or slave labor, no child labor, no discrimination of any kind and a safe and hygienic workplace? All standards are mentioned in New Balance's Code of Conduct. Source
2. Does this CoC include at least two of the following workers rights: 1. to have a formally registered employment relationship 2. to have a maximum working week of 48 hours with voluntary and paid overtime of 12 hours maximum 3. to have a sufficient living wage? 1. Yes, mentioned 2. No, maximum working week is 60 hours, but with the exception of extraordinary circumstances; 3. No, only minimum or industry wage; living wage is clearly mandatory yet. Source
3. Does this Code of Conduct include the right for workers to form and join trade unions and bargain collectively; and in those situations where these rights are restricted under law, the right to facilitate parallel means of independent and free association and bargaining? This right is mentioned, with reference to parallel means for the situation of law restrictions. Source
4. Does this labour conditions policy also apply further down the production chains, at least covering the leather production or the animal farms? New Balance does not make clear if the Code of Conduct and consequent labour conditions policy also applies further down the footwear production chain, such as leather tanning or cattle farms. Source
5. Does the brand (company) have a published list of direct suppliers, that have collectively contributed to more than 90% of the purchase volume? New balance has published a list of suppliers as of 1. June, 2016 which most likely covers 90% of the New Balance's total production. Source
6. Is the brand (company) a member of a collective initiative that aims to improve labor conditions, or does the brand (company) purchase its supplies from accredited factories with improved labor conditions? New Balance is a member of the Fair Labor Association (FLA) (See link, page 81). Source
7. Do independent civil society organizations like NGO's and labor unions have a decisive voice in this collective initiative or in these certification schemes? FLA is acknowledged as a "Multi Stakeholder Initiative". Source
8. Is there a policy for the brand (company) for capacity building at the apparel manufacturers for improved labour practices? New Balance seeks to implement measures to improve labour practices at its apparel manufacturers, but does not publicly report clear, up to date results of its policy measures to improve labor conditions at its apparel manufacturers (see link, page 81). Source
9. Does the brand (company) annually report on the results of its labor conditions policy? Is at least 90% of the brands production volume from apparel manufacturers monitored for labour conditions? New Balance states that its manufacturers are audited periodically. However, New Balance does not publicly report clear, up to date results of implemented measures to improve labor conditions at its manufacturers (see link, starting at page 77). Source
10. Is at least 25% of the production volume from apparel manufacturers approved as socially compliant by independent third parties, such as FWF, GOTS or SA8000? See remark for labor conditions policy question 9. Source
11. Is at least 50% of the production volume from apparel manufacturers approved as socially compliant by independent third parties, such as FWF, GOTS or SA8000? See remark for labor conditions policy question 9. Source
12. Does the brand (company) implement a policy to establish the payment of living wages at its apparel manufacturers? Are at least first living wage payments realised? See remark for labor conditions policy question 9. Source
13. Does the brand (company) annually report on the results of its labor conditions policy for the leather, yarn and fabric production phases, including a reasonable overview of the number and region of workplaces covered by the policy in relation to the total production volume? New Balance does not publicly report clear results of implemented measures to improve labor conditions at its fabric manufacturers. Source
14. Are at least 50% of the brand's leather, yarn and fabric production phases approved as socially compliant by independent third parties, such as FLO-Cert, GOTS or SA8000? See remark for labor conditions policy question 13. Source