It’s now two years since we formalised our corporate sustainability programme and this year we continue to make progress. Here are some of the highlights so far:
In the world of pillows and duvets the main difference between products is the filling. For us it’s our unique Fossflakes blend, for others it’s down, polyester or foam. Yet there is virtually no publicly available data on the environmental impact of these materials.
Therefore we have started a project to source this data and create a lifecycle analysis comparing the various filling options. We aim to get as accurate a picture as possible, without bias towards our filling, and look forward to sharing the findings.
The longevity of a pillow or duvet is a key environmental factor, so to ensure we have the data to prove the durability of our products we’re putting them to the test.
The leading research organisation Danish Technological Institute is currently testing four types of pillow to show how well they retain their elasticity under the repeated load equivalent to a human head.
We hope the findings help our customers make the right decision not only for their comfort but also the environment.
Cotton is the material that contributes the most carbon emissions to a Fossflakes pillow (see 2022 Sustainability Report for details). So to prevent cotton waste we look beyond our own factory in Denmark to our cotton suppliers abroad. In addition to quality controlling the finished cotton cases before they are shipped to us, we now check the cotton before it is sewn into Fossflakes cases. We hope this saves vital resources.
Launch of Better Cotton pillows
Another way we hope to reduce the environmental impact of our products is by switching to Better Cotton. Better Cotton trains its farmers in more environmentally friendly practices and reports that they use less water and pesticides than comparison farmers. Better Cotton also delivers a social benefit in terms of higher earnings for farmers.
This year we have purchased 32 tons of Better Cotton and in October we were excited to start shipping our best-selling product made with it.
Searching for better materials
Although we have just switched to Better Cotton, we are ready to take the further step of introducing organic when we are sure our customers will pay the increased cost.
Regarding polyester, we have ruled out regenerated fibres for now due to insufficient quality but there is potential with PLA, a polyester made from renewable sources such as corn and sugar cane.
Finally, regarding polyethylene, we are waiting for test results on a new flake that is claimed to biodegrade much faster than conventional material.
Mitigating social risks
This year we have also been working on mitigating social risks in the cotton supply chain. Our action has resulted in two of our largest suppliers agreeing to be audited according to international social responsibility standards.
With these audits in place, we are happy to share that 100% of the Chinese cotton shells we buy are now supplied by manufacturers that comply with BSCI or Sedex, thereby providing reassurance that Fossflakes shells are manufactured with proper regard for workers’ rights, conditions and pay.
Compared to materials, the energy we use in our Danish factory is a small contributor of climate emissions (see 2022 Sustainability Report for details). Nonetheless, we continue to take steps to reduce our energy consumption. This year we have upgraded our roof ventilation so it can be closed in winter months and added a seal around the dock door to reduce heat loss when loading trucks.
Investing in employees
As part of our competence development programme, we have begun training every non-factory employee in project management. The two-day course empowers them with a versatile skill set and a boost to their career opportunities.
When we set out on our sustainability journey we never expected to become an inspiration to other companies, but apparently that’s what has happened! Our 2022 sustainability report, which was released earlier this year, has attracted significant praise from around the business community.
The result is that we were invited to feature as a case study at events held by Copenhagen Business Hub (Erhvervshus Hovedstaden), Helsingør Municipality and the Danish Knowledge Centre for Digital Trade (Videncenter for Digital Handel). We are certainly very proud to receive the recognition from such respected organisations.
Next report in the spring
We’ll provide a full review of the year’s sustainability activities in our 2023 report, which will be ready in spring next year.
For now, if you have any questions or feedback, we’d be happy to hear from you.