Frequently asked questions
What 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.
How does Mammut check working conditions at its producers?
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.
Does Mammut pay fair wages?
Most countries define a legal minimum wage. By referring to third party audits and wage surveys, Mammut can be confident that its main suppliers pay their workers in accordance with legal requirements. The audits carried out by Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) teams at suppliers in 2014 pointed out that all wages paid were above local minimum standards. In 2012 Mammut terminated the relationship with one Indian supplier due to non-payments of statutory wages in 2011 and unwillingness of the supplier to implement corrective actions.
We put a lot of effort in building up our knowledge and know-how concerning living wages. Several workshops and seminars have been visited by relevant Mammut staff and new publications, reports and findings concerning the topic are systematically studied. The topic is regularly discussed at meetings with Mammut management and suppliers. Furthermore, there is also a continuous dialogue with other FWF members and NGOs about how to progress on the definition and implementation of living wages. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of obstacles to be overcome until a credible payment of living wages can be implemented. No single definition of a living wage is broadly agreed and accepted by diverse stakeholders. This and other obstacles are collected and addressed on the new Living Wage Portal of the Fair Wear Foundation. The elimination of these obstacles one by one will be one of the main goals and tasks regarding fair working conditions for the years to come.
Does Mammut produce in countries such as China where human rights violations and environmental pollution take place?
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.
Is child labour used to produce Mammut products?
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.
What actions does Mammut take to combat overtime?
Seasonal overtime is a complex problem for the apparel industry. The entire fashion industry produces summer and winter collections, which means that every store in every country wants every style at exactly the same time. Retailers choose their collections and place their orders after the trade fairs, which are about six months before the season starts in store. There is therefore a race against the clock to order fabrics and make garments in time for the season.
Excessive overtime is found in many factories where Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) teams conduct an audit. To tackle this problem, we have substantially extended the lead time for our orders and share detailed forecast information with our suppliers at very early stages of the production cycle. If significant changes to these forecasts occur, we try to swap order delivery dates with other products so that the supplier does not need additional production capacity for our orders. Orders for classical, multi-season products are typically timed for low-season.
Despite these measures, overtime is a recurring problem, especially for Chinese suppliers. The reasons for this are manifold: Suppliers overbooking their capacity, delays of fabrics or quality issues of components, other customers raising order volume on short notice, infrastructural problems (frequent blackouts, etc.), suppliers struggling to recruit enough workers (especially in China and Vietnam), etc.
For every finding of massive overtime we try to investigate the root cause and invest substantial effort in in-depth discussions with the suppliers concerned. At all factories Mammut is not the only customer, which means that the root cause for overtime can be from Mammut but also from other brands sourcing at the factories.
Has Mammut stopped working with any producer because of violations of labour law?
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.
Who is the Fair Wear Foundation?
The Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) is an independent multi-stakeholder initiative set up to help improve working conditions in the global textile industry. Further information can be found in the “People” section.
Why did Mammut decide to join the Fair Wear Foundation?
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.
How 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.
Does 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.
Does Mammut use merino wool obtained from the ‘mulesing’ procedure?
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.
Who is bluesign?
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.
Does Mammut use PFC chemistry?
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