Sustainability
at
AG Cilander

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As a pioneer and market leader in the field of state-of-the-art textile finishing, we have always been acutely aware of our responsibility to protect the environment. As a result, the standards we set ourselves in this respect are just as high as the quality standards we set for our products. This is evidenced by the many certifications and sustainability seals we have amassed over recent decades; a collection we continue to expand. For example, we have been recognised with multiple awards for our implementation of sustainable manufacturing and working conditions. Environmental responsibility is something we continually strive to improve in our company.

"Swiss precision
is our answer ...


... to our customers' demands for outstanding quality, transparency and sustainability in the textile finishing sector."

Burghard Schneider, CEO of AG Cilander

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OEKO-TEX® MADE IN GREEN

Initial certification: 2021

  • Condition: Additional certification in accordance with OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 or LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX®, as well as STeP by OEKO-TEX®
  • Four key elements: Environmentally friendly production (e.g. optimised chemicals management, resource conservation, waste management), product and consumer safety (e.g. harmlessness to health, inspection for harmful substances and quality), social responsibility (e.g. fair working hours and wages, occupational safety, health protection), traceability and transparent supply chains (e.g. clear product IDs, information about production facilities and country of manufacture)

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)

Initial certification: 2012

  • Globally recognised textile processing standard for organic fibres, including environmental and social perspectives
  • Independent certification of the entire supply chain according to a clearly defined, transparent list of criteria
  • AG Cilander: Equipment certification the pre-treatment, dyes and finishing areas; this standard can be used as the basis for an environmentally friendly textile finishing process for certain items; chemical substances chosen according to the positive list

STeP by OEKO-TEX®

Initial certification: 2015, Herisau site

  • STeP stands for Sustainable Textile & Leather Production
  • Comprehensive inspection of production conditions from a sustainability perspective: Chemicals management, environmental performance, environmental management, social responsibility, quality management, health protection and occupational safety
  • Ensures that a product has been manufactured using environmentally friendly processes under socially responsible working conditions
  • Annual recertification audit

Organic Content Standard (OCS)

Initial certification: 2021

  • Granted to products that comprise between 95% and 100% organic material from certified organic farms
  • Provides transparency, consistency and comprehensive, independent assessment of the entire supply chain
  • AG Cilander: Equipment certification for the pre-treatment, dyes and finishing areas

OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 class 2

Initial certification: 1995

  • Class 2 includes products that come into direct contact with the skin
  • Globally standardised, independent inspection and certification system
  • Involves strict testing for harmful substances, which includes legal regulations and a number of environmentally relevant substance classes, among other elements
  • Quality assurance for our operations

ISO 9001:2015 and 14001:2015

Initial certification: 1997, certification for our operations at all sites

  • ISO 9001: Internationally recognised, most widely used quality management standard
  • Structures, processes and sequences are documented and standardised
  • ISO 14001: Internationally recognised standard for environmental management systems
  • Defines development, implementation, maintenance and continuous improvement
  • Annual recertification audit

CO2 reduction, climate protection and energy efficiency

Initial certification: 2000

  • Voluntary contributions to climate protection and energy efficiency
  • Tracks annual course of reduction
  • Supported by the Energy Agency of the Swiss Private Sector

Daily
measures


Exhaust air purification

Operation of state-of-the-art exhaust air purification systems – no harmful waste gases of any kind leave our facilities


CO2 reduction

With continuous tracking of the course of reduction


Resource-saving

Use of chemicals as sparing as possible and use of environmentally friendly products containing low amounts of harmful substances


Specialist disposal

Consultation with specialists to determine the most environmentally friendly disposal methods for chemicals


Solar energy

Utilisation of energy from our own solar panels from 2022 onwards


Dedicated treatment plant

On-site at our production plant, a biological treatment plant reduces the polluting load and reclaims energy by means of heat exchangers

Sustainability in textile finishing

both a passion and a priority for AG Cilander


Textile finishing gives materials additional functional properties for comfort, protection and safety. This requires sophisticated processes and facilities that involve high levels of water and energy consumption. Chemical substances are also essential in the production of technical textiles.

In this context, as a part of the textiles industry, we are inevitably faced with the task of determining our environmental footprint and the effects our textile finishing processes have on the environment. AG Cilander has never shied away from these kinds of justified, important critical inspections – quite the opposite! As a pioneer and market leader in the field of state-of-the-art textile finishing, we have always been acutely aware of our responsibility and make protecting the environment our top priority.

Environmental, economic, social – sustainability has many forms


In the same way our working processes are highly varied, so too are our sustainability principles. For instance, OCS-certified textiles must be made using 95 percent certified organic material. That is why we map the entire value chain and trace the raw materials all the way from source to finished product. This allows us to achieve maximum transparency, so our customers can be sure their products are fully traceable.

Our constant endeavours to optimise our processes not only result in improved economic efficiency, but also lead to a continuous improvement in performance in terms of environmental sustainability standards – take, for instance, the development of an innovative fluorocarbon-free finishing for water resistance, which meets the criteria for the GOTS standard. AG Cilander was first awarded this textile hallmark, which certifies that a manufacturing process is verifiably socially and environmentally responsible across the entire textile manufacturing chain, in 2009. Since then, we now meet around 95% of the requirements it sets out across all our finishing processes. In terms of our finishes, this means that we may only use dyes, chemicals and resources that are classified and labelled as harmless in terms of their environmental and toxicological properties.

A range of certifications, such as STeP by OEKO-TEX®, GOTS and OCS, certify that we meet and comply with social standards for fair working hours, fair wages, occupational safety and health protection.

 

Our sustainability measures go beyond our certifications

As well as earning hallmarks and certifications, the sustainability measures implemented at AG Cilander are designed to encompass additional aspects, such as:

  • Operation of state-of-the-art exhaust air purification systems – no harmful waste gases of any kind leave our facilities
  • Continuous supervision and review of further economic and environmental developments
  • Ongoing development of our 2025 energy concept
  • Reduction in CO2, including annual tracking of the course of reduction
  • Use of chemicals as sparing as possible/use of environmentally friendly products containing low amounts of harmful substances
  • Consultation with specialists to determine the most environmentally friendly disposal methods for chemicals
  • Collaboration with a recycling coach
  • Use of a solar power system starting in 2022
  • Planning and implementation of an LED concept
  • Outsourcing specific processes to external partners who also set the highest standards for environmental protection (e.g. printing plant obtains 100% of its energy from hydropower and has carbon-neutral operations)
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Uncompromising dedication to proper disposal and energy recuperation

We also place particular emphasis on the issues surrounding disposal and energy recuperation. Our treatment plant and five heat exchangers are in operation all day and all night for this purpose. The treatment plant reduces the pollutant load by up to 80%, which enables us to maintain compliance with continuously increasing limit values. It is based on a two-stage biological purification process, in which the waste products from our finishing processes are broken down by bacteria. The remaining sludge is then disposed of in the correct manner. The plant is serviced, maintained and monitored closely.

Our drive to keep developing more economically and environmentally sustainable processes and products has also had an effect on our exhaust heat exchanger, as well as the four wastewater heat exchangers that we use in two- and three-shift operation. These are another element in our energy concept, which sets out aims that we hope to achieve by 2025. Using the heat exchangers, we are already able to feed the recuperated energy back into our process cycle – we do not lose any warm water in the form of wastewater. The use of these systems also enables us to conserve resources, as we do not need to purchase any additional gas or oil in order to generate power.

 

Made in Switzerland

Last but not least, we have one more trump card in our pocket when it comes to our dedication to combining textile finishing and sustainability: The "Made in Switzerland" label. At our own facilities in Switzerland, we are always in full control of our continuous compliance with all environmental, economic and social measures. This is the cornerstone of our ability to work with nature in as responsible a manner as possible and to help establish a sustainable future for textile finishing technology.