Our vision for sustainability

Sustainability has been at the core of our business since CORDURA® was founded over 50 years ago, designing apparel and gear products with endurance, versatility, and performance in mind.  Because our fabrics are long-lasting and need to be replaced less often, they can contribute to building a more sustainable world for all of us.

The world has clearly changed. People, rightly, demand more from what they wear, and want to feel good about what they buy; they are conscious that their choices have an environmental impact.  At work, and at leisure, we are all being challenged to think about how and where we can use resources more efficiently to help protect the planet.  It is clearly something in which everyone has a stake.

For us, it has always meant constantly innovating, keeping products and materials in use for as long as possible.  Products made with CORDURA® Advanced Fabrics are built stronger and last longer.  As a result, there is less chemistry, less waste, reduced use of resources and greater energy efficiency.

So, we have introduced The CORDURA® Three Pillars Sustainability Program. This identifies the three core sectors where we have taken - and will continue to take - action towards a more sustainable future.

 

Introducing The CORDURA® Three Pillars Sustainability Program

For more than 50 years we have been striving to create the most durable fabrics on the planet. 

We are committed to ensuring responsible manufacturing and optimizing our fabric testing and certification processes.  

We value relationships that are respectful and enduring. We seek them with everyone we work with, whether they be suppliers, customers, charities, or our community partners. 

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Product

For more than 50 years we have been striving to create the most durable fabrics on the planet. Here are some product initiatives and highlights:
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AN UNRIVALLED PORTFOLIO OF BUILT-TO-LAST FABRIC TECHNOLOGIES

With over 50 years’ experience we have been able to build up a comprehensive portfolio offering maximum durable layers of protection. Many new qualified fibers have been added including recycled poly and nylon offerings, so broadening our markets and providing a wide range of end-use garment and gear fabrics to choose from.

The current portfolio now consists of over 15 different CORDURA® Advanced Fabric technologies with over 3000 certified CORDURA® fabrics.

All our products are renowned for their durability, resistance to abrasions, tears and scuffs – which means our fabrics are less likely to end up in landfill.

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CORDURA® ECO NYLON 6 IS MADE FROM 100% RECYCLED YARN

Recycled Nylon 6 (RN6) is part of the CORDURA® ECO fabric range and is a 100% recycled yarn made from discarded fiber waste. Made using specialized recycling technologies, it transforms pre-consumer waste into high quality yarns. It is used by leading footwear, backpack and luggage brands worldwide.

All the fabrics in our CORDURA® ECO Fabric range are specifically engineered to meet the high fabric performance and durability specifications of the CORDURA® brand. They are also certified through the Global Recycled Standard.

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WE CREATED CORDURA® TRUELOCK™ FABRIC FOR LOCKED-IN COLOR FASTNESS

The processes used to make this fabric use less chemistry, water, energy and CO2 emissions compared to traditional piece dyed fabric.

They are just one part of the story: these environmentally friendly fabrics also have locked-in color fastness with inherent benefits important to mills, manufacturers and customers. Engineered with high tenacity nylon 6,6 multi-filament fiber that is solution dyed, they lock in color in at a deep level. Apart from excellent color fastness and vibrancy they have UV-fade, abrasion resistance and extended UV strength stability.

For example, every 250,000 linear meters of fabric made with CORDURA® TrueLock™ fiber can save over 467,000 liters of water. Every 250,000 linear meters of fabric made with CORDURA® TrueLock™ fiber can save over 408,000 megajoules of energy.

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Process

We are committed to ensuring responsible manufacturing and optimizing our fabric testing and certification processes. Here are some examples of how we do this:

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WE CONDUCT EXTENSIVE DURABILITY TESTING TO PUSH THE PERFORMANCE OF OUR FABRICS

All our fabrics technologies are developed and tested to the highest levels.  We have always had standards to help our mill partners manufacture fabrics that can be certified and then marketed as an authentic CORDURA® brand fabric.  This includes technical details, performance requirements, testing procedures and all other relevant data involved – from qualifying fiber right through to the finished fabric.  It is a process centered around transparency, sustainable performance and long-lasting materials. It helps ensure that our mills reflect this stance in their manufacturing processes and choice of materials.

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SETTING BRAND QUALITY STANDARDS

We set Brand Quality Standards that provide solid reassurance of continuity and quality in CORDURA® branded fabrics.  The majority of our Brand Quality Standards use established, globally accepted, test methods like AATCC, ASTM and ISO. 

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ISO ACCREDITED TEST METHODS AND MANUFACTURING SITE CERTIFICATIONS

Set up over 70 years ago, ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organization with a membership of 165 national standards bodies.

Through its members, it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.

Many of our fabrics use ISO-accredited test methods and are made at ISO-certified manufacturing sites (9001 & 14001 certifications).

ISO 9001 is a Quality Management System (QMS) which gives organizations a systematic approach for meeting customer objectives and providing consistent quality.

ISO 14001 is an Environmental Management System (EMS) which gives organizations a systematic approach for measuring and improving their environmental impact.

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CORDURA® ECO POLY AND CORDURA®ECO NYLON 6 FABRICS ARE GRS CERTIFIED

Our recycled nylon yarns, which are made from pre-consumer fiber waste, are used in CORDURA® ECO fabrics and are certified through the GRS (Global Recycled Standard.)

GRS is an international, voluntary, full product standard that sets requirements for third-party certification of recycled content, chain of custody, social and environmental practices and chemical restrictions. It is intended to meet the needs of companies looking to verify the recycled content of their products (both finished and intermediate) and to verify responsible social, environmental and chemical practices in their production. 

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WE WORK WITH A NETWORK OF PARTNER MILLS COMMITTED TO COMPLYING WITH SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES

We are proud to have established a network of 73 – and growing – authorized mill partners around the world. 

Our mills are driving towards their own sustainability goals and many engage with independent certification bodies such as BLUESIGN, GRS, ISO or OEKO-TEX. These are independent tracing systems used by the textile industry that provide proof and transparency of safer, more sustainable, manufacturing process. Over a quarter of our mill partners are already BLUESIGN certified.

They are also undertaking significant initiatives in waste management, water conservation, energy saving and recycling.

Our objective is to continue generating a culture of conservation and sustainability throughout all our mill partners’ manufacturing capabilities and production systems.

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Partnership

We value relationships that are respectful and enduring. We seek them with everyone we work with, whether they be suppliers, customers, charities or our community partners. Here are some of our recent collaborations and initiatives:

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WE WORK WITH BRANDS LIKE JANSPORT AND EAGLE CREEK TO PROVIDE ECO FABRIC SOLUTIONS.

JanSport’s Recycled SuperBreak, launched in May this year, is their first backpack made with CORDURA® 100% recycled ECO fabric. The product supports their quest to become a leader in sustainable backpack design and manufacturing. Like us, their durability journey started over 50 years ago.  Each pack contains the equivalent of 20 plastic water bottles worth of recycled plastic, as CORDURA’s 900 Denier Polyester CORDURA® ECO fabric is made from postconsumer waste such as plastic bottles.  Using these recycled fabrics in product development has a lower impact on climate change than the equivalent virgin polyester.

Calderra – Eagle Creek’s newest luggage collection, launched in June 2019 – is their first to be made with 100% Post-Consumer Recycled CORDURA® ECO Fabric.  The luggage integrates innovative Near Field Communication technology and recycled fabrics into bags, allowing travelers to log and share the miles they cover.  It combines sustainable manufacturing with the extreme durability of CORDURA ECO Fabric and is the most sustainable innovative collection Eagle Creek has ever made.

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WE WORK WITH LEADING MILLS TO DEVELOP CUTTING-EDGE SUSTAINABLE FABRIC SOLUTIONS

Artistic Milliners and Lenzing Tencel have been strong innovation partners with CORDURA and they have collaborated on numerous projects to advance the science of performance denim.

Their latest venture, also involving Dovetail Workwear, is the new ‘Supercharged Noir’ Stayblack denim collection.

Its innovative ‘5S’ technology platform focused on Stay True color, Strength, Softness, Sustainability and Stretch.

Specifically engineered using a combination of CORDURAnew staple nylon 6.6 BLACK SDN fiber innovation and spun-dyed TENCEL™ Modal fibers with ECO Color technology for next generation performance, the collection is infused with color-fastness locked in at the fiber level for excellent shade consistency and long-lasting vibrancy.

The process of solution-dyeing utilized in both the INVISTA T420HT BLACK SDN and TENCEL™ Modal fibers with Eco Color technology helps to greatly reduce the water and chemicals used in the textile manufacturing process, a key component of sustainable innovation in the collection.

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OUR WILDLIFE-AT-WORK PROGRAM RECENTLY EARNED CERTIFICATION FOR 22 CONSCECUTIVE YEARS

This program has been running at many of our core manufacturing sites since the 1990s and recently earned certification for 22 consecutive years from the Wildlife Habitat Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring and enhancing wildlife habitat.

The WHC recognized our site in Victoria, Texas for its commitment to environmental stewardship and awarded it a Certified Gold – a three-year certification signifying leadership among the over 700 WHC Conservation Certification programs.

The Victoria site sits on 4,500 acres, of which approximately 3,500 acres are available as a wildlife habitat. This includes a 55-acre constructed wetland as well as other native habitats.

The construction of the wetland began in August 1996, and we began a partnership with Victoria Independent School District in 1998 featuring an outdoor environmental classroom.

In October 1998, the first students arrived formally beginning the Wetland Environmental Science Education Encounter (WE SEE), which continues to this day. More than 68,000 students from 4th grade through college have visited this to date. 

CORDURA® Digital Fabric Library

Soon you’ll be able to browse all of our certified fabrics digitally. It’s one of the Process initiatives of our Three Pillars Sustainability Program. Sign up to be notified the moment it’s ready.