Frequently Asked Questions
Working conditionsWhat working conditions are Mammut products manufactured under?
All partners – from staff to suppliers, employees in the supply chain and customers – must behave fairly and in accordance with the law. Because Mammut is convinced: a company will only enjoy long-term success if it observes fundamental values and acts credibly. The “Code of Labour Practices” governs working conditions throughout the supply chain. As a member of the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF), Mammut has committed to the systematic and progressive implementation of this Code.
Trust is good, monitoring is better – and more credible. Mammut’s internal management system has been set up to continuously monitor and improve working conditions in the supply chain. The Fair Wear Foundation (FWF), an independent initiative which Mammut joined on 1 October 2008, the first mountain sports company to do so, carries out independent checks.
Without an adequate wage, individuals have no secure means to support themselves and therefore no prospects for a better life. This principle is an integral component of the Mammut Code of Labour Practices. The challenge facing Mammut is its practical implementation along global manufacturing chains.
A “living wage” covers all the living costs incurred by employees and their families. According to trade unions and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), local minimum wages in many emerging and developing nations are below the living wage. The textile industry also comes under criticism.
Mammut supports the principle of fair wages and has made the living wage a component of its Code of Labour Practices. However, until now there was no precise definition or calculation base for its implementation. In November 2010, the Fair Wear Foundation introduced its new wage ladder approach. Developed in cooperation with other multi-stakeholder initiatives, this system allows a comparison to be made between the wages actually paid, the local minimum wage and internationally recognised benchmarks.
The FWF wage ladder creates transparency. Mammut uses this approach to discuss at which suppliers and in which areas actions are required. Initial evaluations of two Chinese suppliers show that the wages paid there are far higher than the local minimum wage and are also above the Asia Floor Wage benchmark.
Nevertheless, Mammut views the issue of a living wage as a long-term challenge facing all industries.
Around half of Mammut’s products are produced in Europe and the other half in the Far East. The major share of the value chain is located in Switzerland, at Mammut’s headquarters (Seon) and the Footwear Design and Development Centre (Frauenfeld). As well as its own rope production, still located 100% in Switzerland, Mammut has a large design and development department, innovation and technology management, and product management operations in Seon. Logistics and purchasing are also managed from Switzerland. In recent years, Mammut has created more than 100 jobs and now employs more than 220 permanent employees in Switzerland. The equivalent of 1.6 full-time positions deal exclusively with aspects relating to sustainability and corporate social responsibility.
In the Far East, Mammut purchases mainly from China and Vietnam. Mammut deliberately chooses not to produce in so called high-risk countries. Two permanent employees in the local area oversee the entire production and development process. The reasons for this outsourcing are, on the one hand, price and, on the other hand, the almost complete absence of innovative processing technologies and machines in Europe and the significantly higher quality levels in the Far East.
In the future, Mammut plans to maintain this balanced relationship between production in the Far East and in Europe. In both locations Mammut has equitable business relationships established over many years, representing strong foundations on which to base further improvements in working conditions.
Mammut forbids child labour according to the Code of Labour Practices. It systematically monitors working conditions at supplier companies and maintains equitable business relationships to ensure compliance with this requirement. Mammut is not aware of any instances of child labour at its suppliers. However, in view of complex global supply chains, it is not possible to provide a 100% guarantee that this can be completely ruled out in future.
The Mammut Code of Labour Practices specifies a working week of 48 hours with one day off in each 7-day period. “Overtime should be voluntary and working hours including overtime should not exceed 60 hours per week.” Overtime must not be requested regularly and must be compensated by means of an overtime allowance on top of the salary.
All Mammut suppliers commit to this Code of Labour Practices, however unfortunately in practice overtime still occurs. Why is this and what is Mammut doing to help prevent it? The challenge starts with each individual product: a product consists of numerous components. In addition to the inner and outer materials there are zips, webbing, seams, prints and much more. These components are produced by different specialist suppliers. Late deliveries from these earlier stages can result in overtime to allow the supplier to meet the agreed delivery lead times.
Mammut starts the product development process at least two years in advance and involves the relevant suppliers from the very beginning. This allows suppliers to schedule staffing requirements well in advance and avoid resource shortages. However, unfortunately overtime cannot be completely avoided, as shown by the social audits. This issue poses a challenge for the entire textile industry.
Mammut maintains fair business relationships established over many years and has an open dialogue with its target groups, from suppliers and customers to employees or other stakeholders. The implementation of the Code of Labour Practices and the systematic monitoring of working conditions are therefore discussed openly and proactively. Although the issue of corporate social responsibility is just as established at our producers as it is at Mammut, non-compliances in the Code of Labour Practices can still occur. In such cases, an improvement action plan is agreed with the supplier. More information can be found here.
Mammut is convinced of the approach advocated by the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) – including a comprehensive social standard, independent verification and very high requirements for member companies. In the area of social compliance, i.e. compliance with social standards, we can find a whole range of different initiatives and approaches. The better-known ones include the Fair Labour Association (FLA) in the USA, the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) in the United Kingdom, Social Accountability International (SAI-SA8000) and the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI). These initiatives differ to varying degrees in relation to their social standards and approach.
There are many good reasons why companies decide to join this kind of initiative. For example, external and independent checks increase the credibility of a company’s social commitment. Mammut has been examining the issue of working conditions since the late 1990s. In 2003, it introduced the Mammut Code of Labour Practices, covering almost the same areas as the FWF Code of Labour Practices. After examining all the initiatives in great depth, the Swiss mountain sports company opted for the most demanding approach with the FWF.
The FWF is currently regarded as best practice since as well as having the most comprehensive social standard, it also sets very high requirements in terms of systematic monitoring, internal management and transparency.
GovernanceHow transparent is Mammut?
Non-governmental organisations attach great importance to corporate social responsibility reporting since transparency goes hand in hand with credibility. If a company communicates openly and honestly, this shows it has nothing to hide.
As a member of the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF), Mammut has committed to transparent annual reporting. Like the annual company report, the aim is to provide information about implemented actions, challenges and aims in relation to corporate social responsibility. Mammut published its first social annual report in 2009 and is now working on extending the scope to include environmental and social topics.
ProductsDoes Mammut use down obtained from live plucking?
Mammut requires its suppliers to forbid live plucking and to use only down sourced from responsible and animal-friendly operations. This is explicitly set out in a contract. Mammut also requires the producer to provide test certificates according to the IDFL (International Down and Feather Laboratory). Find out more here.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to provide a 100% guarantee to completely rule out live plucking. Regular checks provide information about fair treatment of animals and the process for obtaining the down, but at the same time things can still be missed.
Mammut uses merino wool in its functional underwear. When sourcing the wool, it takes care to ensure that it has been obtained under animal-friendly conditions and not using a procedure such as ‘mulesing’. However, implementing these guidelines poses a challenge: once washed, it is difficult to tell whether the wool was obtained using animal-friendly processes. We rarely have a direct business relationship with wool suppliers and therefore have no direct influence on them. And in the end, even a certificate is not the solution, since this is only a snapshot and does not actually tell us very much unless it is backed up by a system, i.e. follow up and ongoing checks.
In order to guarantee safety in both production and final product, Mammut works closely with bluesign technologies. Our partner screens all manufacturing processes so that only safe substances may be allowed (input stream management). Centerpiece of the bluesign® approach is the strict bluesign® standard, which is based on the toughest international environmental standards and thresholds, as well as extensive risk analyses.
Mammut does not simply want to offer the best outdoor and mountain sport products to its customers, but also to leave the best possible ecological footprint. This is a result of our own convictions, not just because it is a market requirement! At the same time, the goal is to have realistic opportunities and long-term, comprehensive solutions. Together with bluesign technologies, the Swiss mountain sports equipment manufacturer is working towards the fastest possible elimination of PFOA and is looking for real alternatives.
Mammut places the highest demands on the quality, functionality and safety of its products. Customers can rely on their Mammut equipment in any situation, whether out on the ice or on the rock face. Mammut places the same demands on the value chain. The manufacturing process must meet high quality and safety requirements and be safe for humans and nature.
Mammut is conscious of the problems regarding PFOA. These relate to trace contaminants in certain PFCs (perfluorinated chemicals). The latter are used in the textile industry predominantly on account of their water-, oil- and dirt-repellent properties. As a result, materials treated with PFC contribute to the high performance of functional textile products used in mountain sports. There are concerns about the accumulation of the substances in the environment from waste products and waste water, and thereby also potentially via the food chain into the human body. Unfortunately they are barely biologically degradable.
Mammut wants the insert materials used in the manufacture of functional clothing to be free from PFOA trace contaminants by 2015. Some significant steps have already been made towards this goal: in January 2011, Mammut became a system partner of bluesign technologies and as such committed itself to implement the stringent bluesign® standard. These regulate all relevant impurities occurring in PFCs with strict, low limits.
However, the major challenge is the fact that the alternative substances and methods of treatment available on the market today cannot yet generate product properties with comparable performance. The objective is therefore to develop viable alternatives from an ecological and functional perspective. Together with bluesign technologies, as well as other producers in the outdoor sport sector, specialists, material producers, textile finishers and the textile chemicals industry, Mammut is working to develop new technologies.