NIKWAX, a global leader in innovative, environmentally safe aftercare and waterproofing solutions, has extended its commitment to human and environmental safety as part of its Sustainability Roadmap 2025.
Nikwax continues outdoor industry safety leadership by implementing a Chemical Management System (CMS) that looks after its employees, its customers and the environment through precise, safe management of chemical substances. It also demonstrates the sustainable qualities of Nikwax products.
The Nikwax CMS goes above and beyond legal requirements to eliminate hazardous chemistry from the entire manufacturing process – from sourcing to bottling. It allows the brand to add chemicals of concern to its unique Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL), ensuring they react quickly to emerging safety evidence so that nothing dangerous comes in or gets out into people’s homes and the environment.
Tim Pickering, Director of Product and Brand, said, “Nikwax has had a long, proud history of ‘doing the right thing’ when it comes to the selection of safer chemistry, including the complete avoidance of PFC’s. The new Chemical Management System takes this even further, ensuring that nothing hazardous has been present in our manufacturing processes.
“We are going beyond industry best practice to ensure our products continue to be safer for people, and our planet.”
Five key principles to ensure the safe processing of Nikwax chemicals:
- Input management – ensuring nothing hazardous comes in, via effective sourcing, screening and its unique Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL).
- Inventory/stock – knowing exactly what the company has on its sites, via precise inventory management.
- Chemical handling – handling chemicals safely through continually reviewed expert training.
- Chemical storage – storing chemicals safely and following cast iron procedures.
- Output management – ensuring nothing hazardous gets out via stringent output controls that includes wastewater testing.
Nikwax will undergo three auditing procedures to prove both the veracity of its CMS and the brand’s core commitment to transparency:
- Annual ISO 9001 audit to demonstrate Nikwax is following its own processes comprehensively.
- CMS-focussed additional auditing, reviewed within the ISO 9001 audit
- Independent audit that covers all chemicals on-site plus input and output effluent
Nikwax has published its CMS POLICY MANUAL and the methodology behind its integration into their ISO 9001 audits.
The CMS is one of 20 sustainability projects that will help Nikwax fulfil its goals and champion transparency by demonstrating it does exactly what the company’s says it does – not exposing humans and the environment to hazardous chemistry. Outdoor industry companies have a fundamental responsibility to help preserve the natural environment and its people and Nikwax will play a crucial role in reshaping the industry and beyond, for future generations to come.
Nikwax was founded in 1977 by Nick Brown, a keen mountain walker and traveller, who designed his own product – a waterproofing wax – to keep his leather mountain boots dry. Subsequently, Nikwax has become the global leader in environmentally safe aftercare and waterproofing solutions that extend the life and performance of technical footwear, clothing and equipment. Nikwax care products are distributed to 52 countries.
Nikwax is the only major aftercare company to have never used aerosols or fluorocarbons. Nikwax products are all PFC-free, use advanced elastomer technology, are not tested on animals and are non-persistent in the environment.
Following his participation in the first Green Chemistry & Commerce Council European Forum last year, Pickering told us, “It was remarkable the number of large brands who were surprised to learn that Nikwax products were completely fluorocarbon free (PFC-Free) and could match, or exceed the performance of fluorocarbon products.
“It was a stark reminder that a significant amount of these hideously toxic chemicals is still in use across the general chemical industry. However, by having our voice at the table, we’re able to help others understand that high performance does not need to have a high human health, or environmental cost.”
Nikwax has received numerous awards including the prestigious Queen’s Award (4x), The Sunday Times Best Green Award (3x), the Green Apple Award (x2), and is ISO 9001 and 14001 certified. In 2014, Nikwax won the Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development, one of only 13 UK companies to receive this pinnacle award for sustainable business and the only outdoor company to have ever received the award.
In February 2022, Brown passed control of Nikwax to his employees, on three continents, by selling his business to their newly formed Employee Ownership Trust.