Sustainability

As our business grows, our responsibilities grow to all identified stakeholders.

Our way of meeting these challenges is to make sustainability a key part of our operations and to keep it central to our plans for future success.

Ontex has taken its first steps towards sustainability, by implementing some ISO standards and a series of ecolabels.

Now, more than four decades on, the idea of caring for our people and the environment is firmly rooted in the way we work and the products we design and produce.

  • We promote ethical behaviour among all our employees and suppliers, wherever they are in the world.
  • Social and environmental considerations are included in all decision-making processes.
  • Accountability and transparency, legal compliance and long-term thinking are key parts of our strategy.

We published our first sustainability report in 2015, the same year the business was reorganized ensuring social and environmental considerations remain at the heart of future growth.

"The ambition is to get sustainability embedded in our Ontex DNA with clear focus on caring for people and offering  products to customers and consumers without compromising the needs of future generations."

Annick De Poorter,
Group R&D, Quality and Sustainability Director

Our ambition to improve sustainability, responsibility and knowledge

As part of our aim to do business in a more ethical and responsible way, we translated the classical three pillars of sustainability into three new focus points for Ontex:

Sustainability into our products

Ontex continuously monitors the impact its products may have on the environment. 

To achieve the lowest possible impact, we are committed to: 

  • Make sure all products are safe.
  • Use only wood-based materials from suppliers who can demonstrate that their products originate from responsibly managed forests. 
  • Constantly seek ways to reduce product and packaging weight with similar or improved quality characteristics (eco-efficiency).
  • Focus on responsibly sourcing for raw materials.
  • Develop new eco-conscious products.

Ontex makes sure that all its products are compliant with various legal obligations, official recommendations, code of practices, voluntary commitments and state-of-the-art toxicological considerations. 

All used fluff pulp, airlaid, tissue and viscose purchased by Ontex originates from well-known sources. We consider it important that the origin of our wood-based products can be demonstrated through credible, independent certification based on international standards. In this context we recognize the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification™ (PEFC™), the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®), the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) and labels based on equivalent principles as evidence of sustainable sourcing.

75% of all Ontex plants worldwide are PEFC™ or FSC® Chain of custody certified. 

Over the past years, Ontex succeeded to reduce the total raw material and packaging usage per product drastically with a continuous guarantee of a similar or improved quality by using new technologies and finding some innovative solutions. 

  • In the past six years, we have been able to reduce the raw materials in our baby diapers by more than 14 per cent.
  • This has contributed to a reduction in weight of our diapers during the past 10 years, with more than 10 per cent, while our premium Ontex diapers weigh 25 per cent less than they did 15 years ago. 

Additionally Ontex achieved an average recycling rate over the past years of more than 85 per cent for all raw material waste in production. 

Building sustainability into our organization

Sustainability is something we work towards in every area of our business, from being a good employer, through to our impact on the environment.

Our environmental and energy policy commits us to minimizing the environmental impact of all our activities. While the Occupational Health and Safety Policy commits us to ensure a safe and healthy work environment for all our employees. Next to the Quality policy, these policies will form the platform of our sustainability approach as indicated in our Sustainability Charter.

This includes transporting raw materials and finished products, energy consumption and waste from the manufacturing process.
It also means providing the best and safest working conditions for our employees and promoting a healthy work/life balance.

  • Two thirds of our 20 manufacturing plants have a certified environmental management system (ISO 14001).
  • Six plants have a certified energy management system and we are working towards extending this to the rest of the sites (ISO 50001)

Building sustainability into our knowledge base

To help meet sustainability targets, we see exchange of knowledge as extremely important.

This includes sharing best practice and information with suppliers and customers and within our own organization.

  • Investing in partnerships with suppliers and customers helps us communicate better.
  • We are active members of key associations and trade bodies for the non-woven and disposable hygiene products industry, which supports our efforts to introduce and develop sustainability strategies.
  • We set up and are continuing to expand the Continence Institute, an initiative which offers advice and education on continence assessment, management and treatment.
  • With 500 students across Australia, Belgium, France, Germany and the UK, we see this as a long-term commitment to our customers, suppliers and consumers. 

Sustainability reports

More detail on our sustainability strategy and our activities can be found in our Sustainability Report and other reports, by clicking on the links below: