The realization of the BDCS articles with maximum attention to people and nature. Sustainability is a doing word here.

Our planet still has an eternity to last and global warming as a result of CO2 emissions is a serious threat and must be limited where possible. In addition, people and society deserve to be treated with respect.

All members of the consortium and its suppliers consciously work in the spirit of the ISO 26000 guideline. This standard provides support to organizations in both the public and private sectors, in both developed and developing countries, in line with international conventions, treaties and guidelines, such as those of the UN, ILO, OECD and Global Impact.

It is not just an empty concept but an effective way of acting that is also traceable. International independent control bodies will actually record within the organization whether work is being done according to the ISO 26000 guidelines.

Examples of this are the STeP certificates. STeP stands for Sustainable Textiles Production and is awarded by OEKO-TEX®. This body analyzes the degree of sustainable management within the organization of a large number of aspects that have been included in the ISO 26000 guideline.

Certification according to STeP by OEKO-TEX®

A few aspects as an example:

Environment, raw materials, energy and emissions:

  • Raw materials
  • Energy and water consumption
  • Biodiversity
  • Limiting emissions, waste water and waste
  • Transportation

Working conditions and decent work:

  • Training and education
  • Diversity and equal opportunities
  • Equal appreciation of men and women

Human rights:

  • Ban on Discrimination
  • Ban on child labour
  • Security Policy

Fair business:

  • Acting ethically
  • Audience and community

Consumer affairs:

  • Consumer health and safety
  • Marketing and communication
  • Labeling

In addition to STeP, other available certificates/audits are also traceable within the SSC consortium and suppliers:

  • Fairtrade (checks on ecological and social criteria)
  • Bluesign (checks for environment, health, production safety)
  • Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) (checks on ecological and social criteria)
  • Oeko-Tex 100 (checks for ecological aspects & non-harmful effects on users)
  • AMFORI BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative), checks on management system
  • ISO 45001 (checks on health and safety of workers)
  • Fsc (checks for responsible forest management, in the context of recycled packaging)

Within the BDCS project this results in:

1. Minimize the ecological transport footprint

The choice for an almost complete Near shore (close to EU) and On shore (EU) approach ensures a minimization of the CO² footprint, which can be called unique in combination with the challenging requirements of the Ministry of Defense. Within our range we can already achieve a reduction of emissions of up to 31%, however compared to the more traditional value chains based on Off Shore productions this will undoubtedly be well above 60%.

2. Minimize raw material consumption and waste streams

Since the main fabric for the BDCS concept, namely VTX RIPSTOP® is firstly lighter and secondly stronger than the current combat uniform, it is clear that less (natural) resources will be consumed and that they will last longer.

This fulfills the 2 main pillars of "materials-sustainable development".

In addition, the project uses as little packaging material as possible. Use of recyclable and recycled packaging material is the rule.

No water repellent finishes are used on the combat equipment. So no PFAS problems during the production processes or during wear or daily maintenance. The comfort function of cotton, as part of the intimate composition of the fabric, is also preserved.

A water-repellent finish was used on the insulation articles, more specifically an environmentally-friendly PFAS-free type. This is in the interest of the user's safety, because if the insulation material gets wet, it loses part of its efficiency.

Within the BDCS concept, strong focus has already been placed on the use of recycled raw materials for both the Nylon outer fabric and the insulation material used in the high insulation clothing.

Flame retardant finishes were also not used. Thanks to the Cordura® PA fiber instead of the usual polyester, an automatic inherent retardation of the ignition and associated flame displacement was introduced without the need for additional chemical processing.

3. Recyclability of the materials

SSC and Defense are fully committed to the use of recycled materials. SSC is technically able to offer the highest possible recycling; by means of chemical recycling we are able to convert the existing products into new yarns that will eventually lead to a new textile product, for example T-shirts. Cradle to Cradle is not a hollow concept for us, it is not a story but reality. It means that the raw materials you use can be fully reused, without losing their value.

A number of future innovation projects/studies are within the scope of the multi-year BDCS contract to further increase sustainability: for example the introduction of flax instead of cotton, and later the use of recycled polyamide instead of the new ('virgin') polyamide.

4. End Of Life

The existing clothing was also considered, the consortium SSC will be responsible for the collection of the current clothing at the time of the roll-out of the clothing package. On the day of the roll-out, every soldier will be given the opportunity to hand in his old clothes, an interesting reward package will be developed to encourage this.

The clothing will be sorted according to composition and converted into fibers by Frankenhuis, part of the Boer Group in the Netherlands, which in turn will form the basis of new products.