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Why our Restricted Substances
is tougher than the law 

May 2023

“Chemicals” often get a bad rap when, in fact, they are part of our natural world. Chemical substances can be found in everything from the nature trail you walk on to the coffee you drink and the shampoo you use to wash your hair. And yes, chemical substances also make up the clothing you wear. Some have natural origins while others are man made. Both can slide either way on the safe-to-dangerous spectrum for human exposure. It all depends on the quantity.  

Responsibly managing chemicals, or substances, in our supply chain is a fundamental part of the work we do at Haglöfs to manufacture products with as little impact as possible. Helping us to do just that is our Restricted Substances List (RSL) which details all the chemicals and other substances, like heavy metals and phthalates that we restrict in order to minimize harm to consumers, factory workers and the environment. The list includes allowable chemical limits for our products as well as the raw materials used to make them. And it goes beyond what is required by law. 

Why is our list stricter than the law? 

In addition to meeting regulations established by laws like the EU REACH SVHC (substances of very high concern) list, and the California Proposition 65 substances list, all Haglöfs suppliers are expected to manage and test for additional chemicals listed on our RSL, using industry best practices.  

Why do we go beyond what’s required by law? Our Product Compliance Specialist Martin Ericsson explains:  

“Our aim is to minimize as much impact as possible throughout the entire supply chain and the REACH regulation is not strict or far-reaching enough to help us achieve that aim,” says Martin. “Working with our Restricted Substances List, which includes guidelines from the bluesign® system, helps to ensure that it’s not just the finished product that is safe, but also the base material and the working environment along the way. So it’s more than just the end product chemical compliance but even chemical waste handling during the entire manufacturing cycle.” 

What kinds of substances do we restrict? 

The list is long, ranging from specific types of colorants to PFAS and oxo-degradable plastics. You can read the full list here. It’s important to clarify that the restrictions aren’t necessarily about completely eliminating the presence of a given substance, but rather keeping its quantity under a safe and acceptable level.   

“All substances are safe at specific levels, and all substances are dangerous at specific levels,” says Martin. “So to be able to say that we don’t have anything in our products that is dangerous to workers or the end user or anything in between, we need to specify what those substances are and at what levels we can accept them at.”   

In order to cover as comprehensive a scope as possible, our RSL combines lists from the experienced organizations bluesign® and AFIRM Group, in addition to a list of additional substances we have decided to limit based on scientific findings.   

For all products, we follow the bluesign® restricted substances list. It’s an international standard developed with the goal of eliminating harmful substances right from the start of the manufacturing process. Following the bluesign® RSL and system helps reduce impact on workers and the environment, ensure responsible use of resources, and guarantee the highest level of consumer safety. The bluesign® system includes a classification system that determines limits based on how close to the skin a product is. For example, a base layer would have higher restrictions than a backpack. All products intended for children are restricted to the next-to skin levels. The bluesign® RSL is updated periodically and you can find the latest version here: https://www.bluesign.com/en/downloads     

For all packaging, we follow the AFIRM Group restricted substances list. AFIRM supplies a tool for establishing chemical management knowledge and processes. They also build base compliance with chemical restrictions and provide a common base for testing packaging. 

Learn more here: http://www.afirm-group.com  

 We also restrict:  

  • Usage of biocides and anti-microbial finishes  
  • Usage of PFAS (identified as harmful), except for limited cases  
  • Usage of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), except for limited cases 

To learn more about what’s on our Restricted Substances List,  read it in full here.