Green Policy

Information concerning the production at Northern Flags Ltd.

Northern Flags Ltd are a textile printer for the production of promotional textile. The production encloses: digital prepress, screen making, flat bed screen printing, dye sublimation, latex, UV printing and after print washing.

1. Law and Rules

1.1 Our group head office is situated in the Netherlands and has to fulfil all local, national and European law and rules. To produce in Europe and especially in the Netherlands means that you must fulfil all of the ETI Base Code. These points are all regulated by law. For the safety of the workers in Holland the Dutch law regulates far more than the Base Code. From health service to safety prevention, from unemployment benefit to care leave, from a ban of smoking to rest time regulations and so on. To run the production mill Faber operates several licenses from the authorities. Such as:

1.2 This permit contains all rules Northern Flags has to fulfil to avoid any damage to the environment. One of the demands is that every four years an environmental policy plan has to be made where Northern Flags commits itself to improve the decrease of ecology impact. Another demand is that Faber has to produce every year an environmental impact statement every year to comply with all rules and regulations.

1.3 As a company, you need an environmental permit before you can apply for a building permit. The building permit contains rules concerning the safety of the construction and rules to fulfil the highest or latest standards concerning energy savings. Even after completion of the building construction and the installation of the machines the national government offers further suggestions and subsidies to maximise the improvement of energy savings.

1.4 If a company produces waste water a waste water discharge permit is necessary. This permit contains all rules to avoid any damage to the quality of the surface water. Northern Flags has a permit to discharge into a communal biological sewage treatment plant. This permit contains demands to continually minimize the impact to the environment. The proper authorities can demand that the company must invest in BAT techniques if necessary, for example the installation of a sewage treatment plant on site if discharge into a communal treatment plant is not allowed.

2. Textile

2.1 Ecological aspects. 100% polyester yarns are used to make the fabrics. These polyester yarns are completely free from any hazardous components. They are free from heavy metals, nontoxic, non-mutagenic, non-carcinogenic. All fabrics are EU produced. Northern Flags chose 100% polyester as this is less environmentally harmful than cotton. The production of polyester needs less water, less energy, no pesticides and no insecticides.

2.2 The fabric construction is made by knitting-, weaving- and non-woven production techniques. These processes are dry processes without the use of chemicals. After production, the fabric will be made ready to print. This means the fabric will be washed, optical whitened and thermos stabilized. These processes are completed in Western European countries without the use of hazardous or polluting chemicals.

2.3 Safety Aspects. Polyester fabrics don’t need extra safety precautions because there is no risk of dust while handling the polyester fabrics.

3. Chemicals and Dyestuffs

3.1 Ecological Aspects. All the chemical and dye stuffs are free from heavy metals are not toxic, not mutagenic and not carcinogenic. Both printing systems for disperse print as well as pigment print are 100% water based systems. All chemicals and dyestuffs are chosen for their ability to be biologically eliminated in a communal sewage treatment plant. Therefore, it is not necessary that Northern Flags have to invest in their own treatment plant.

The emissions to the air are that low that no extra measures have to be taken. To avoid any risk of pollution in to the soil all chemicals and dyestuffs are stored in special containers. Northern Flags produced a new soil pollution risk document in 2007. All possible risks where pollution to the soil can develop are listed. And after that a plan was issued to eliminate those risks.

3.2 Safety Aspects. In addition to the ecological aspects the chemicals and dyestuffs are also chosen on their safety merits towards the workers. All chemicals and dyestuffs have the assessment “V” (means safe). To use the chemicals and dyestuffs there are no extra precautions necessary to the workers other than hand gloves and safety glasses.

4. Solvents

4.1 Ecological Aspects. At Northern Flags there are two solvents in use to clean the printing belt. The used solvents are free from heavy metals and are not toxic, not mutagenic and not carcinogenic. One type is used once a week for 1 hour, to wash dye residues off the print belts. Contaminated solvent is collected in a recycle bin. This waste is transported to an authorized processing company for chemical waste.

4.2 Safety Aspects. At the working spot where these solvents are used, an exhaust system is installed. Because of the minor use of solvents, the great interval and the short working time with solvents, the concentrations of solvents in the air is far below to the MAC of these solvents. Therefore the precautions are restricted to wearing gloves and safety glasses.

5. Environmental and Safety Management System

5.1 Northern Flags adhere to all of the rules and regulations from the proper authorities’. Northern Flags voluntarily suggested a few covenants with ministries. These are: Environment covenant, energy covenant and waste packaging covenant. Through these covenants Faber agreed to improve the environmental performance. Therefore, Northern Flags made several long-range plans and carried them out. Northern Flags has an ecological care system based on the principals of ISO 14001. To keep the Deming circle (Plan, Do, Check, Act) going, the system is automatic with the software tool “Make Sure”. The system is divided in the ecological aspects: air, water, soil, energy, waste and safety.

For both environment and health, Northern Flags made policy statements.

5.2 In relation to decrease the emissions of the components related to the ecological aspects, air, can be reported that the aims have been achieved.

5.3 Northern Flags utilises mainly groundwater as process water. A permit is needed and given by the proper authorities. 70% of the permitted amount is used. But even than the aim is still to decrease the amount of used water.

5.4 Northern Flags restricted by law for protection to the earth. To prevent soil pollution in the future, a soil pollution risk assessment has been made. Northern Flags invested a vast amount in soil protection systems, such as:

  • Collect containers for liquid chemicals and dyestuffs
  • PGS 15 based storage location fir burnable liquids
  • Several vaults for smaller burnable packaging
  • Certified liquid closed floors
  • 5.5 At this moment, the second energy covenant is ending and the third one is being implemented. In the second covenant, Northern Flags realised a saving of more than 10%. In this third covenant, we agreed to save an extra 20% energy to the year 2020 in comparison to the year 2008. Also, the use of sustainable energy must be taken into account.

    5.6 Waste will be as much as possible separated and reused. If recycling is not possible, the second step is looking for useful application. Rest waste will be discharged to a waste burning plant. Chemical waste is collected and stored separately and discharged to an authorised processing company. Waste is distinguished as paper, wood, iron, textile, hazardous waste and rest waste. To minimise the amount of packaging brought into the market a packaging covenant is made with the regarding ministry.

    5.7 Northern Flags complies with the Dutch Occupational Health and Safety Act. Every 4 years the health and safety risk analysis from the whole production mill must be renewed. This was last done in 2007.

    5.8 All actuated equipment must be CE certified before it is used by workers. Workers must be instructed concerning health and safety before they are allowed to operate the equipment. Northern Flags is by law obliged to monitor workers who become ill, whatever the reason (private or work related). As soon as possible a reintegration plan must be made. Both the worker and the employer have to do their best to reintegrate the worker. All working places at Northern Flags fulfil the latest health and safety regulations. For calamity situations, Northern Flags set up a company based emergency plan.

    6. Chain approach

    Northern Flags is a part of the complete production chain from start to finish. Not only must Northern Flags comply with all law and regulations concerning environment and safety, but our suppliers must fulfil this. So, after disposal of the products, we endure that they do not cause any damage to the environment or to people. In this case, Northern Flags decided to make a step ahead and made a start with sustainable production based on the start to finish principles. The first complete biodegradable product is in a test phase at the moment.

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