Sustainability has always been a priority for DEICHMANN. And nowadays, a socially and environmentally aware approach is rightly required in business. This is our yardstick too. As a company founded in Essen in 1913 and in family hands without interruption ever since, it is important to us to think and plan on a long-term basis, in generations. The company must serve the people – this is our corporate philosophy. Our company has grown steadily and proportionately, allowing us to create new jobs continuously and sustainably and to provide comprehensive training. Even though DEICHMANN, as Europe’s largest shoe retailer, now operates in 31 countries, we still feel that our roots are in the Ruhr District where we were founded. Around 16,400 of our global workforce of 48,000 are employed in Germany alone. And, for DEICHMANN, the topic of sustainability has a number of different facets. Ensuring economic development, production and consumption in international value creation chains in a way that is sustainable, socially justifiable and resource-efficient is therefore one of the major commercial challenges of our time. We are living in a globalised world.

Sustainable products

The fact that aspects such as fashion, quality and sustainability are becoming increasingly relevant for customers reinforces our approach. For a long time, sustainable products have played an increasingly important role at DEICHMANN. We are talking here both about articles whose product components meet sustainability criteria and also about production processes that have a positive impact on our ecological footprint. In our products, for example, we use skin-friendly materials without any unwanted chemical substances and our production processes only use solvent-free adhesives. We use recycled raw materials in our packaging.

In our children’s shoe range, with its Elefanten Green collection, DEICHMANN has been offering shoes since 2010 made from chrome-free tanned leather, with soles made completely from natural rubber. In addition, we also stock shoes, bags and sneakers made partly from recycled materials such as PET bottles. Independent test laboratories monitor and certify the use and origin of the recycled materials. The Recycled Claim Standard seal proves that the supply chains of the material manufacturers are traceable and transparent.

Environmental standards in leather production

Leather Working Group

In terms of leather production too, DEICHMANN has been striving to improve the corresponding environmental standards for years, not only investing financially in this process but also actually promoting its implementation on the ground. This is why DEICHMANN is a member of the international Leather Working Group (LWG), a consortium of companies and bodies involved in leather production who have jointly developed guidelines to ensure uniform environmental standards and audits. The LWG aims to improve the environmental impact of the leather industry by rating and certifying leather manufacturers.

Reducing the carbon footprint

For many years, DEICHMANN has included the responsible structuring of supply and value creation chains in its principles of goods procurement. The resultant regulations have been collated into a “Code of Conduct”, which is regularly reviewed through relevant monitoring processes.

Asia has traditionally played a major role in the global textile and clothing industry. 80 percent of shoes produced worldwide are made in Asia – and DEICHMANN’s range is no exception. Our articles are taken by sea to Europe and transported from there via distribution centres to the individual stores. For the majority of its transport channels, DEICHMANN uses shipping and rail – by far the most efficient modes of goods transport in terms of carbon emissions. Journeys, cargo concepts and the company’s own fleet of trucks are also constantly reviewed and optimised.

DEICHMANN is a member of the Bundesdeutsche Arbeitskreis für Umweltbewusstes Management (German Federal Working Group for Environmentally Aware Management), or B.A.U.M. This is Europe’s largest environmental initiative and aims to ensure a responsible attitude to the environment in all areas of corporate management.

Keeping an eye on hazardous substances: DEICHMANN standards go beyond the legal requirements

DEICHMANN offers good-quality fashionable shoes at an affordable price. The products are therefore also thoroughly checked for undesired chemical substances. Even the manufacturing processes are closely coordinated with our suppliers. In this way, we can influence the development of the product right back at the collection concept phase. External test institutes also monitor compliance with the quality and environmental standards set by DEICHMANN itself, which go far beyond the legal requirements. These institutes carry out tests during production for dubious or banned substances.

Creating standards for the industry

DEICHMANN contributes its own expertise in the area of sustainability to the industry through its work in a wide range of committees and associations. DEICHMANN is a founding member of cads – “Cooperation for assuring defined standards for shoe and leather goods production e.V.” – which was created under the umbrella of the Deutsche Schuhinstitut (DSI) in Offenbach. cads tackles the topic of pollutants in shoes and develops initiatives for the avoidance of dangerous substances. The goals of the association are to generate and spread knowledge about the manufacture and marketing of pollutant-free shoes and shoe materials and about ecological production. The companies that are members of cads already voluntarily do without critical substances in the materials used for shoe manufacture way beyond the parameters required under the law. cads also focuses on the area of sustainability including aspects such as environment and social standards.