Our 3-year strategy
In order to make our products as sustainable as possible, we felt it was necessary to draw up a three-year plan to give us sufficient time to make the changes and also to test our product as the changes were made. This is essential in a business where extreme performance is a fundamental requirement.
The first change we made was to our backing cloth. We introduced organic cotton across all of our ranges and eliminated conventionally-grown cotton completely from our production. We then started testing on rPES and replaced our conventional polyester with recycled polyester thread.
In 2017 all dyes used in production were organic, that is to say, sourced from natural origins. So, they would contain no heavy metals or harmful substances.
As of November 2017, Chieftain Fabrics have joined the United Nations Global Compact. This is an initiative to encourage businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies and also to make an annual report on their implementation.
In order to be accepted as members, it was necessary for Chieftain Fabrics to outline the changes already made to products and production as well as planned changes for the coming years.
It is essential that all elements involved in our production are as sustainable as possible, so each separate ingredient must be the best it can be. We intend to remove DMF from our lacquers in early 2018 and by the end of 2018 all our lacquers will be water-based.
In 2019 we intend to launch our water-based PU fabric. This will be 100% recyclable and will have a very gentle impact on the environment as all the ingredients will be as ethically sourced as possible.
We have launched our new woven collection called Carousel. This is a product by Aquaclean. Carousel is made from 59% recycled cotton and 41% Polymide fibers. This means that this is almost 60% biodegradable. It is also PFC Free.
Chieftain Fabrics have completely eliminated DINP from our formulation.
DINP, (the most commonly used plasticiser in PVC manufacturing) was on the Subjects of Very High Concern list produced by the EU in conjunction with REACH (Regulation, Evaluation and Authorisation of Restricted Chemicals). It has since been removed from this list, however, and is now only banned in the manufacture of children’s toys which may be placed in little mouths.
This is why we thought it was a good idea to remove it from our recipe. We replaced it with a non-phthalic plasticiser which is an environmentally safe alternative; DOTP. This is a more difficult product to use and it took some time for our production lines to adapt. We think it was worth the effort, especially as it means our products are perfectly suitable for use in child-centric environments as well as demanding sectors such as transport, education and healthcare.
Covid 19 struck in 2020 which made it impossible for us to develop new products. Our priorities changed as our customers needed reassurance from us regarding the safety of our ranges and SARS-CoV-2. So, for Chieftain Fabrics, there was a considerable shift to our thinking and our plans.
We focused instead on what was important, our customers and their concerns in the face of a worldwide pandemic. At that stage, we had been using a highly reputable Swiss antimicrobial ingredient- Sanitized, for many years to ensure that our fabrics are safe to use in even the most demanding of environments. This provided us with the confidence to know that our products would be effective in environments where the Coronavirus was especially transmissible.
We were proud of our team as they prevailed throughout this difficult year. We never closed our doors and are incredibly grateful to the Chieftain team for their support and dedication throughout this difficult time.
After a rocky start to the year, we are finally able to plan again.
We have some exciting developments lined up for launch over the next two years.
In Autumn 2021, we hope to launch two new ranges; our Crib 7 range which offers a higher level of Flame Retardancy for extreme contract requirements. This has been several years in development. Flame retardants, when added to a fabric, make it stiff and unyielding. It is a real juggling act to produce a flexible fabric with a nice soft handle and one with the highest fire rating in the UK. We have finally produced a fabric we are happy with and will launch it later in 2021.
Our second product launch for 2021 will be our PU fabric. Soft and luxurious, this will be a game changer for Chieftain Fabrics. This long-awaited fabric will be available in 20 gorgeous colourways and is PVC free and made with only the most sustainable ingredients. It has taken us a long time to develop but we feel it is worth the wait.
On the technology side of things, our existing ranges are constantly being improved and ameliorated. Our vinyl fabrics are phthalate free and PAH free. Our lacquers are now water-based, massively reducing the need for solvents and is much kinder to nature.