At Sockwell, we strive to be good stewards of the environment in all aspects of how we operate. This principle of environmental stewardship guides our decisions at every level of our business—from choosing our raw materials and emphasis on ethical US-based producers, to manufacturing and packaging methods and our internal operations. All aspects of Sockwell's footprint and the decisions made by our company are made with an effort minimize our environmental and social impact and ensure the welfare of the animals farmed for the wool in our socks.
5 Freedoms of Animal Welfare
Sockwell is committed to ensuring that all animal-derived products used in our products are sourced from animals raised under the principles of the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare.
- Freedom from hunger and thirst, by ready access to water and a diet to maintain health and vigour.
- Freedom from discomfort, by providing an appropriate environment.
- Freedom from pain, injury and disease, by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
- Freedom to express normal behaviour, by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and appropriate company of the animal’s own kind.
- Freedom from fear and distress, by ensuring conditions and treatment, which avoid mental suffering.
The animal derived product we use, wool, is raised domestically by US farmers and is sourced through Chargeurs who ensures that the wool they source and process on our behalf is from farmers respecting these Five Freedoms.
Additionally, none of the farmers from whom our product is sourced employ mulesing, which is the painful removal of the folds of skin from a sheep's hindquarters. Our merino wool comes from the Rambouilette sheep breed. This breed is known for having “smooth butts” versus wrinkles that other merino breeds have. This means they have a natural resistance to parasites and disease and eliminates the need for mulesing.
Chemicals Management and Environmental Commitment
We work to manufacture our products with the least amount of only well understood and benign chemical inputs. Every decision we make is targeted around minimizing the environmental impact of producing our products. We will not employ the use of any dyes or chemicals found on the European Union Priority Candidate List or that are non-compliant with OKEO-TEX Standard 100.
We will only work with suppliers who comply with all appropriate standards for wastewater quality. Water is a precious global asset that must be protected. In addition, Sockwell will only work with suppliers who comply with all appropriate standards for Air Emissions. As with water, clean air is a precious global asset that must be protected.
Sockwell sources its wool from US producers. The product is purchased through Chargeurs and is all superwashed or shrink treated at Chargeurs’ plant in South Carolina. The superwash equipment and procedure used at Chargeurs is state of the art and utilizes processes that have no environmental impact and emit an effluent that is cleaner that than the inputs used in the system.
Sockwell requires suppliers using chemicals to certify annually that they meet the above standards.
Sockwell is focused on reducing in every way possible the environmental impact from its activities. This begins with responsible sourcing of raw material from suppliers focused on reducing the environmental impact from their activities as well. We will focus on selecting raw materials where possible that are sustainably produced or are produced from recycled materials.
Our key raw materials are:
- Merino Wool: We source our wool from humanely treated sheep, primarily grown in the US. The wool is processed using environmentally friendly and sustainable practices that do no environmental harm. Wool is naturally biodegradable.
- Alpaca: We source our alpaca fiber from humanely treated alpaca. The fiber is processed using environmentally friendly and sustainable practices that do no environmental harm. Alpaca is naturally biodegradable.
- Bamboo: We source our bamboo fiber, a naturally renewable material, from suppliers who adhere to responsible environmental practices with regards to their production practices. Bamboo fiber is naturally biodegradable.
- Nylon: We are working on moving our nylon materials to a program sourced from Repreve® recycled nylon made from pre-consumer industrial waste. We have set as a goal having the majority of our production moved to recycled nylon material by the end of 2021, and the full program transitioned by the end of 2022.
Packaging: We are committed to using fully recyclable packaging materials. Our hanger packs are made of recyclable and/or biodegradable paper stock and the associated plastic hook is recyclable as well. All packaging is marked with appropriate How2Recycle labeling.
We ship products purchased from SockwellUSA.com in poly-mailer bags from EcoEnclose. They are made of 100% recycled content (50% post-consumer waste) and printed with environmentally friendly ink. The bags are fully recyclable, and they even have a secondary adhesive strip allowing you to reuse the mailer if you want. Plus, our poly bags are made right here in the USA.
In addition to the above material selections with regards to environmental management, we strive to use US-based suppliers in all avenues of our business to reduce the distance materials must travel as well as to insure the best environmental practices are adhered to.
Warehousing & Office Operations
We operate our warehouse and office to be near-zero landfill. In our warehousing and office operations, we recycle all excess Paper, Cardboard, Pallets, and Poly Bag material generated. The consequence is that our weekly waste generated from our entire operation including food waste is less than the volume of a city residential waste container.
Manufacturing Code of Conduct
Sockwell adheres to the Fair Labor Association Workplace Code of Conduct (Exhibit A). The FLA Workplace Code of Conduct defines labor standards that aim to achieve decent and humane working conditions. The Code’s standards are based on the International Labor Organization standards and internationally accept good labor practices. Along with establishing a good workplace environment for our own staff, we also require all of our suppliers to adhere to the Workplace Code of Conduct and to certify such on an annual basis.
A central element of our manufacturing strategy is a stated goal of sourcing all possible elements of the product from domestic US-based sources. This strategy serves a number of goals including creating US jobs, insuring all products are produced using fair labor practices, and reducing the overall carbon footprint of the brand.