Eagles fly for sustainability: Mannheim ice hockey club commits to eco-friendly merchandising

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Eagles fly for sustainability: Mannheim ice hockey club commits to eco-friendly merchandising

Purchasing is a key aspect of a company's sustainability strategy. One club in the German Ice Hockey League is currently demonstrating how companies can align it with the times: On Sports Day, the DEL club Adler ("Eagles") Mannheim is sending out a signal for the improvement of working conditions and the reduction of the environmental impact of textile production along the supply chain by opting for sustainable procurement supported by the FAIR WEAR WORKS project.

Lean Bergmann and the Eagles are looking ahead
not only on the ice, but also in the sustainable
and fair production of fan merchandise.
Photo: © Adler Mannheim / Sörli Binder
Bonn, 04/06/2022: More and more companies are relying on standards and norms to protect the environment and human rights in many areas of production. In this context, procurement management is also increasingly becoming a component of sustainable corporate action. The purchase of workwear, protective clothing, merchandise and flat linen (e.g. towels and bedding), on which around one billion euros is spent annually in Germany, is not unaffected.

Fast on the skids - determined for people and the environment

The environmental organization Global Nature Fund (GNF) and the women's rights organization FEMNET have pooled their expertise in eco-fair procurement practices and resource conservation to jointly advise companies on changing their textile purchasing practices as part of the FAIR WEAR WORKS project. With the Adler Mannheim ice hockey club, they are now also cooperating with a well-known name in top German sports - because the Adler are not only concerned about their success on the ice, but also about protecting our natural resources and the people who work with them.

Options for convincing CSR management

Whether it's sweaters, flags or fabric T-shirts, the seven-time German Ice Hockey League champions rely on the expertise united in FAIR WEAR WORKS for the production of their merchandising items in order to positively influence working conditions and environmental impacts along the supply chain with the help of a targeted purchasing strategy. "Sustainability is not a trend, but a global issue. We are trying to implement this task in the best possible way. However, there are still many hurdles to overcome, such as a lack of transparency," explains Dominik Dobiasch, the club's merchandising manager.
The GNF and FEMNET are working together with the ice hockey club to overcome such challenges, for example, by shedding light on the jungle of the many different textile labels and certifications and by taking ecological and social standards into consideration when procuring products for merchandising. And they are optimistic that they can motivate other players in Germany's top sports to follow the example of Adler Mannheim: The benefits for people and the environment, but also for the image of a club and its fans in terms of convincing CSR communication, are obvious - and cannot be invalidated even by supposed counter-reasons.

Higher price as a factor? - Not necessarily, study shows

"The fear that sustainable textiles are more expensive often proves to be an obstacle to the implementation of ambitious sustainability goals," says Marijke Mulder of FEMNET. "This is a concern we would like to alleviate for companies: Because eco-fairly produced textiles can be more expensive, but they don't have to be - this is proven by a study of experts on the topic [Click here to download the study]. We offer companies holistic, comprehensive advice that takes into account various relevant procurement aspects: How do the factors of quantity, quality, design or duration of the business relationship affect each other, what strengths does one specialist retailer have over another? Our market research and lifecycle analyses offer companies the chance to look good not only in terms of sustainability management and CSR, but also from a business perspective."
The project partners are excited about the Adler Mannheim's commitment to eco-fairly produced merchandising on the occasion of Sports Day today, April 6 - and invite all interested companies from the sports sector and beyond to take advantage of the competent support of GNF and FEMNET.
FAIR WEAR WORKS is sponsored by the German Postcode Lottery and ENGAGEMENT GLOBAL gGmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), with the kind support of Fairtrade Germany.