Sustainability Compendium V
An F2F Initiative


Coats is a leading industrial thread company. At home in some 50 countries, its products are sold in over 100, and it has a workforce of over 18,500 across six continents around the world. For over 200 years, the company has been restless pioneers, working to harness talent and technology in textiles to enhance people’s lives. Coats’ pioneering history and innovative culture ensure the company leads the way around the world.

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From the CEO’s Desk

Rajiv Sharma

Group Chief Executive

For over 250 years, Coats has worked closely with its suppliers and customers making the threads and materials that literally hold together the fabric of our lives. This longevity has been no accident, as we have continually changed, adapted and responded to the needs of our customers and societal changes. And it is vital for the future success of our business that we continue to respond in a robust and positive way to new challenges.

The world is changing. The effects of climate change and environmental damage to our planet are becoming more apparent; the resources we use are becoming scarcer; and we need to find new ways to operate more efficiently and reduce our waste. We need to embrace diversity and difference, using this as a way to innovate and create better products and services for our customers around the world.

I want Coats to be a part of the solution, working with all our partners, to create new products and ways of working that protect the environment and the fragile world we share. I want us to be recognised by society as a business with high standards and levels of respect, made up of talented and motivated people supporting hundreds of local communities of which we are a part. I want our investors to know that we are managing our risks well and seizing opportunities to be better and to innovate. We aspire to be pioneers and leaders in sustainability within our industry. We are placing sustainability at the heart of our business strategy – this will be the basis on which we prioritise, innovate and grow.


Company Background

It provides complementary and value-added products, services and software solutions to the apparel and footwear industries. It applies innovative techniques to develop high technology performance materials threads, yarns and fabrics in areas such as automotive, composites, fibre optics and oil & gas. The company works with nearly 30,000 apparel and footwear manufacturers and 4,000 retailers and brands globally, as well as with over 7,000 performance material customers. Headquartered in the UK, Coats is an FTSE 250 company, a constituent of the FTSE4Good UK Index and a participant in the UN Global Compact.

  • Each year Coats makes enough thread to go into 8 billion pairs of jeans—that is one for every person on the planet;
  • Every month, Coats produces enough thread to stretch all the way to the Sun;
  • More than 450 million pairs of shoes are made every year using Coats’ thread;
  • More than 100 million car airbags are made using Coats’ performance materials threads every year;
  • In 1879, Thomas Edison used Coats’ thread in his experiments to invent the light bulb;
  • Coats’ flame-retardant performance materials threads can withstand temperature as high as 1,000 degrees Celsius;
  • Coats Epic EcoVerde is the world’s first 100% recycled premium sewing thread.
  • The company’s vision is to be the world’s leading industrial textiles company delivering innovation, digital solutions and sustainable value to all stakeholders.
  • Our customers are looking for unique products, services and digital solutions to support their objectives.
  • Our shareholders require a strategic balance of growth and efficiency, to deliver sustainable, high quality earnings.
  • For our employees, we must provide an environment that offers them growth to reach their maximum potential within a safe, respectful and inclusive workplace.


Our Policy

Sustainability Policy

For many years, Coats has had a robust approach to sustainability, underpinned by a long-standing commitment to high standards of corporate behaviour. Limiting impact on the environment is a fundamental part of its business. Coats’ ambitious new strategy ‘Pioneering a sustainable future’, launched during 2018, focuses on five priority areas where “we can accelerate progress, through the targeted investment of capital and resources. Through these five areas, we demonstrate our support for the UN Sustainability Development Goals.”s

Priority Areas
  • Water: This is a precious resource. In some parts of the world as water scarcity becomes more apparent, then so do the risks we potentially face—not least competition for resources, higher costs, the effect on water quality, and the possibility that water shortages will limit production. These risks are often shared with the community around us.
  • Energy: The effects of climate change could have far reaching consequences and risks for our business, whether this relates to disruption to our supply chain, availability of raw materials or increased costs of energy. It is in our interests to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and to play a part in combating climate change.
  • Effluent and emissions: While we seek to optimise our processes, we will always generate some wastewater and some of this will be discharged to the environment. We have strict internal and external standards to which we adhere to protect our local environment and avoid damage to the watersheds on which ultimately both our business and the neighbouring communities depend.
  • Social: We are a global business that operates in over 50 countries on six continents, with a wide and diverse range of cultures. We seek to create a culture of inclusiveness, honesty, and positive teamwork where each employee can reach their potential in a safe working environment. High ethical standards underpin the way we do business, as we build trust and ensure fair practices with our suppliers and customers.
  • Living sustainably: Natural resources are becoming increasingly scarce. Environmental factors and population growth are increasing demand and putting pressure on the ecosystems of which we are a part. We follow the principles of the waste hierarchy to reduce, reuse and recycle our waste in an efficient and, ultimately, value creating way. This requires us to use resources, efficiently and limit the disposal of waste to landfill. Corporate responsibility and sustainability are core to the way the company does business. Coats is pioneering a sustainable future by finding new and innovative ways to create long-term, sustainable growth. “We are transforming our business, investing in new techniques and technologies, and continuously improving our policies, processes and programmes in order to create a lasting positive impact. Through collaboration, partnership and the sharing of knowledge and goals, we can transform our industry and bring about positive, long-lasting change that supports businesses, people, and our planet.”




Sustainability Initiatives

Ambas: Coats continually looks for ways to develop its manufacturing sites to make them more sustainable. “As our largest, most advanced and most sustainable site, our Ambas facility located in the Indian countryside, is one of our most notable success stories.” Major investment has resulted in significant contributions made towards each of our five priority areas for sustainability. The site now has a new synthetic dye house, a biomass-based steam boiler and an onsite solar power plant, in addition to a reverse osmosis effluent treatment plant that has the ability to recycle 95 per cent of the water it uses during the manufacturing process, with zero discharge of effluent to the environment. Nearly 90 per cent of the energy used on site is from renewable sources, of which 3.5MW is from the onsite solar installations. A wide range of community and education projects are held across this site to benefit and upskill employees, and Ambas is also recognised as a single use plastic free zone where plastic dye centres are recycled to be used in finished goods.

Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals: Aiming to ensure that the water it discharges is safe and will not damage the environment around our factories is of great importance to Coats. Over the past five years, Coats has committed investment towards new effluent treatment plants and technologies across several of its sites, including Honduras, Vietnam and India. In 2016, Coats signed up to the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Programme. Through the ongoing commitment, “we will be working with the industry to eliminate hazardous chemicals from both our own operations and the rest of the supply chain.”

Cradle to Cradle Certified™ GOLD denim jeans: Coats recognises that its threads are only a small part of the customer’s products. But because of our close relationship and technical expertise we often work with them to help achieve their own ambitious sustainability goals.” In 2018 Fashion For Good published the story behind creating the first Cradle to Cradle Certified™ GOLD denim jeans for C&A. Coats worked alongside a number of other suppliers as a contributor towards this project, providing C2C Certified™ sewing threads to be incorporated into the denim jeans.

“The customer need was to develop the highest level of C2C Certified™ sewing thread so we worked together to identify and develop the best solution. Customer collaboration like this is innovation at its best: working together on site to combine our thread expertise directly with the customer’s practical manufacturing requirements to create and test a new product that exactly meets the customer’s needs.” — Adrian Elliott, President, Apparel and Footwear, Coats

Juchitán Oaxaca State: Coats extends its social commitments beyond creating safe and sustainable places to work. “We pride ourselves on being a part of the surrounding communities, ensuring their health and well-being.” The women of Juchitán Oaxaca State, Mexico, are internationally recognised for their embroidery of traditional costumes. After an earthquake of 8.2 magnitude on the Richter Scale led to severe material and human loss, Coats donated colourful threads and looms to the women of the most affected area, to help them continue to embroider beautiful costumes. Actions carried out by Coats provided the help needed to enable the women of Juchitán to rebuild their community and local economy.


Over All

Circularity View Point

Circularity is at the forefront of the textiles industry. It is widely acknowledged that the current linear system of ‘take-make-waste’ is unsustainable due to the significant environmental impacts associated with it. Coats is starting to take steps towards circularity. “Our development of the world’s first 100 per cent recycled premium sewing thread has been a key highlight in this area, and something Coats is extremely proud of as part of our efforts to be more sustainable.” Achieving circularity in textiles is essential. Within the industry, there needs to be a key focus on the development of ways to recycle textile materials back into textile materials. However, progress is currently hindered by technological, structural and supply chain related challenges. “As we progress towards the future, at Coats we hope to use our innovative strengths to develop further solutions that contribute towards the transition to a circular fashion system where possible.”



Circularity Initiatives Planned

Thread innovation: As the need to accelerate the industry’s transition to a circular fashion system becomes increasingly paramount, and front of mind, Coats is greatly interested in the opportunities at hand to find ways of contributing towards circularity in fashion.

Coats’ product contribution to final products is minuscule (around 1 per cent) and “hence we cannot expect to recover that ourselves to achieve circularity in our products. However, as restless pioneers, we always seek to create new advanced materials and partner with customers across multiple industries to realise the challenges they face.”

Coats has been making threads for 250 years with the target being that their premium quality, strength and durability, ensure they outlive the lifespan of the final product to avoid seam failure resulting in the end of life of a garment. Through the discussions with brands and individuals engaged in the process of garment recycling, it is recognised that the durability of thread is a key obstacle to achieving a circular fashion supply chain. Very often garments need to be disassembled prior to recycling and this is currently a laborious and high cost process.

In response to this identified challenge, Coats is currently in the process of looking at options for developing threads that are able to withstand all the challenges they meet in sewing and subsequent garment use, but which can then be easily removed from the seams at the end of life in order to facilitate garment disassembly.

Collaboration across supply chain: Coats understands the necessity of extending its reach across the supply chain to make a greater impact in the domain of sustainability. An important aspect of this for Coats is to ensure it engages with like-minded people, businesses and organisations, to involve itself in conversation, projects and thinking behind new concepts for the transition to circular fashion. Therefore, a focus area is the continual development of partnership programmes with key brand customers, in addition to growing its presence within the network.

Coats is steadily becoming more actively involved in this area. During 2019, the company exhibited and presented as keynote speakers at both the Drapers Sustainable Fashion Conference, London, as well at the Sustainability Talks Summit, Istanbul, the first and biggest sustainability event in Turkey.



Sustainable Products

Coats® EcoVerde™ : Coats EcoVerde is a revolutionary product range, including Coats Epic EcoVerde and Coats Gramax EcoVerde, featuring 100 per cent recycled premium sewing threads. As the only globally available 100 per cent recycled range of premium corespun and textured sewing threads on the market today, EcoVerde offers the same proven level of performance as the industry’s leading non-recycled threads. The process begins with used plastic PET drinks bottles being collected from consumers, sorted, cleaned, chopped into flakes and then melted down and extruded into the fibre and filaments from which EcoVerde sewing threads are made. Because it consists entirely of recycled plastic fibres, Coats EcoVerde has a significantly lower environmental footprint than virgin fibres. This material meets the Global Recycle Standards (GRS). The EcoVerde range has expanded beyond the production of threads to include recycled metal and plastic zips, Opti M EcoVerde and Opti S EcoVerde, in addition to recycled plastic interlining, Permess EcoVerde.

Coats® Tre Cerchi Vero™ & Tre Cerchi Vero +™ : Coats Tre Cerchi products are made from 100 per cent cotton thread from sustainable raw materials, offering an eco-friendly solution for sewing beautiful, luxurious seams on a wide range of products. Tre Cerchi Vero+™ threads use Cradle to Cradle™ approved dyes and chemicals and are completely free of harmful substances, including pesticides.

Coats® Drybond™ AWF : Coats Drybond™ AWF is an eco-friendly anti-wicking thread specially formulated with a PFC-free finish, ideal for footwear and outdoor goods that require a high degree of water resistance. This leading development is one of the many positive actions taken by Coats to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability and safety.

Coats® Lattice™ & Lattice P2C™ : Used for footwear apparel, Coats Lattice and Lattice P2C (performance to component) technology maximises performance and eliminates waste. Lattice is an optimised continuous fibre laying technique to create preforms without cutting or chopping fibres. This allows customers to specify the exact position and direction of fibres for their application without compromising strength. Lattice P2C is the final moulded composite product, providing advanced performance and precise match to customer requirements that are extremely difficult to achieve by other existing technologies. Compared to more traditional composite operations that waste 30 per cent more material, Lattice and Lattice P2C reduce material waste to less than 5 per cent, using continuous fibre placement.


Contact Us

Web : www.coats.com

Our Location

4 Longwalk Road, Stockley Park,
Uxbridge, UB11 1FE, UK