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A&E Makes Ongoing Strides Toward “Ethical Thread”

As one of the largest manufacturers of industrial and consumer sewing thread and technical textiles in the world, the American & Efird (A&E) commitment to a comprehensive sustainability program is impactful.

The company, based in Mount Holy, N.C., spotlighted its ongoing progress and improvements to make “Ethic Thread” in the areas of safety, environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility in its 2017-2018 Corporate Sustainability Report.

Categories addressed in the report include water and product stewardship, solid waste, carbon footprint, energy conservation, social responsibility, employee health and safety, sustainable products, sustainable packaging and supply chain sustainability.

“We strive to produce and distribute responsible, premium quality, ethical thread products every day through excellence in innovation and good manufacturing practices,” Les Miller, CEO of A&E, said. “We are committed to ethical manufacturing. It’s the right thing to do for our customers and stakeholders, but also our future generations.”

The company, which supplies many top industrial and consumer brands with thread products, said its pledge is to create a better environment and society through responsible corporate actions, environmentally protective efforts and contributions to the communities in which it operates.

In the area of water conservation, A&E said it has recycled or reused more than 1.5 billion liters of wastewater since 2013, and has achieved a 48 percent reduction in global water consumption, as measured by liters per kilogram of thread, since 2006.

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The company noted in the report that its current year-over-year performance goal is a 2 percent reduction in water used per kilogram of thread produced.

The company’s Zero-Waste-to-Landfill status grew to encompass 16 global manufacturing operations and support facilities in 2017, with five other operations over the 91-percentile mark. A&E’s global goal is to achieve this level of sustainability in every manufacturing operation worldwide. The company has invested $12 million since 2010 in wastewater treatment technology.

In the category of carbon footprint and energy conservation, the company said it has achieved an 11 percent reduction of global carbon footprint since 2006 and a 7 percent reduction in global power consumption in that same time period.

In the area of energy conservation, 48 percent of the fuels used to make steam at A&E facilities were renewable and carbon-neutral in 2017. In several operations, the company uses renewable biomass fuels such as rice hulls, wood refuse and mustard-plant residue to create power.

In 2017, A&E launched two premium eco-friendly threads made with a recycled polyester core with Repreve fiber, derived from plastic water bottles. Perma Core using Repreve is a core-spun sewing thread, while Magic using Repreve air-entangled thread for specialty products such as activewear, intimate apparel and embroidery.

A&E owns or operates 27 manufacturing facilities and employs over 10,000 associates around the world directly or in partnership with joint venture partners.