Hultafors Group | Developments in workwear sustainability

Hultafors Group | Developments in workwear sustainability

Peter Dumigan, Managing Director of the Hultafors Group UK, discusses the sustainability drive that’s at the heart of the company’s philosophy.

Just as the effects of plastic waste on the environment has been brought to the centre of consumer consciousness in recent years, so the problems caused by the disposal of shoes and clothing are also coming to the fore, says Hultafors. Images of ‘ragpickers’ on waste clothing mountains in Africa are an increasing cause for concern as landfill sites become overwhelmed and we dispose of our waste on someone else’s doorstep.

It’s not just consumer waste that’s causing problems. Used clothing and footwear from corporate users also end up in landfill or on waste mountains overseas and therefore need to be disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner so that ‘footprints’ can be maintained at levels that benefit everyone, not just the environment.

That’s why the sourcing of sustainable and environmentally responsible safety footwear and workwear is becoming key parts of companies’ corporate sustainability policies. Added to which, without responsible management, pressure will grow on raw material sourcing, manufacturing costs will increase and working conditions will deteriorate.

Some working clothes and protective wear – including products in the Snickers Workwear range – is now being manufactured from specialist textiles that feature recycled polyester. Snickers Workwear is also a member of The Better Cotton Initiative, the largest cotton sustainability programme in the world, which aims to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it as well as for the environment it grows in. Going forward, there is now a commitment to source 80% of its cotton fabrics as ‘more sustainable cotton’ by 2023. That is to say, cotton sourced through the Better Cotton Initiative, organic cotton or recycled cotton.

We’ve all seen how quickly clothing and footwear containers at waste disposal centres fill up almost as quickly as any other, which is why corporates not only have to source effectively but also ensure that footwear and garments are disposed of in an environmentally responsible way.

The Hultafors Group’s latest brand addition to its PPE portfolio – EMMA Safety Footwear – has the solution. It’s a policy of ‘100% Circularity’ in all its products. Every product in the range is made entirely from recycled or recyclable materials. It’s a 100% ‘circular’ manufacturing, usage and recycling process for every shoe and boot it produces.

Critically, it’s complemented by a service that takes back used shoes and boots for recycling when they’re replaced by new EMMA products, therefore enabling environmentally responsible companies and individuals to make a positive footprint in their workplaces.

With a 90-year pedigree, EMMA Safety Footwear is a fully EU-accredited range of shoes and boots that satisfy a wide range of user needs and workplaces – including light and heavy industry, chemical and construction, facilities and logistics sectors plus office and retail environments.

Complementing the Solid Gear and Toe Guard range, this safety footwear includes all the Hultafors Group hallmarks of hi-tech designs that combine quality materials for comfort, maximum safety and wellbeing at work.

The Hultafors Group is working with its chain partners on an agreed basis to take care of the returns logistics to ensure that every used part of a shoe or boot can be put to good use and save you the problem of sustainable and environmentally responsible disposal:

  • Customers collect used EMMA safety footwear to be exchanged for new products
  • Collection of gathered shoes on-site
  • Transport to EMMA safety footwear for further processing
  • Footwear dismantled, components recycled and redistributed as raw materials

The ‘100% Circular’ product range has been created by thinking about the future of the environment and corporate responsibility from a new perspective This safety footwear allows you, as the customer, to make some positive choices for people and the planet by creating a positive footprint in everything you do in the workplace.

For more information on EMMA Safety Footwear, visit

Hultafors Group designs and manufactures the EMMA, Solid Gear and Toe Guard brands of safety footwear, as well as the Hultafors Tools range and Snickers Workwear.

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