Trade Resources Industry Views Mattes & Ammann First German and The EU Economic Area to Receive Step Certificate

Mattes & Ammann First German and The EU Economic Area to Receive Step Certificate

At the end of July 2013, the Swabian knitted fabrics manufacturer, Mattes & Ammann GmbH & Co. KG, became the first textile company in Germany and the EU economic area to be awarded the OEKO-TEX Sustainable Textile Production (STeP) certificate.

The family-run medium-sized business had completed the required assessment, including company audit, in a remarkably short period of just four weeks. Prof. Dr. Stefan Mecheels, head of the Hohenstein Institute, handed over the STeP certificate to owner and managing director Christoph Larsen-Mattes and his team on behalf of the OEKO-TEX Association.

"We would like to congratulate Mattes & Ammann on exemplary implementation of their sustainable company philosophy", said Mecheels. "Their example, over many years now, has shown that a careful and responsible approach pays off, even in a highly competitive market, and that example is giving other companies the courage to follow the same path."

"At the first stage of STeP certification, all company departments with relevance in terms of environmentally-friendly production workflows and social working conditions were analysed via a web-based assessment", explains OEKO-TEX auditor, Ortrud Weber, of the Hohenstein Institute.

The assessment looks at how chemicals and potentially hazardous materials are handled, as well as the company's environmental performance (measurable using various criteria), the implementation of an environmental management system, corporate responsibility for employees, efficient quality management and safety at the workplace.

The assessment was followed by an audit of the manufacturing site, during which OEKO-TEX verified the information provided by the company and created a detailed audit report.

The STeP certificate that is issued provides the result of the sustainability assessment as a transparent score. "The result achieved by Mattes & Ammann", concludes Weber, "far surpasses the basic requirements for STeP certification and is at a level that reflects current best practice."

"As a medium-sized family company, sustainability is a matter of course for us, for economic, ecological and social reasons, and it safeguards all of our livelihoods", says Christoph Larsen-Mattes, summing up his conviction.

And that is why Mattes & Ammann has established comprehensive measures and management systems in all operating departments that contribute to achieving ambitious targets: innovative product development, safe and high-quality products, efficient and safe production workflows, eco-friendly production technologies, as well as well-educated and motivated employees.

"What is positive here, above all", says Weber, summarising the impressions of the STeP company audit, "is that the solutions implemented so far are subject to ongoing re-assessment, so there is continuous improvement and forward development at all levels."

Mattes & Ammann is also able to communicate its achievements in environmental protection and social responsibility credibly and transparently with a large number of third-party certificates, including ISO 9001, ISO 14001, EMAS, OHSAS 18001, SCC and SA 8000.

Currently working with 300 employees and 500 machines and a total production area of around 36,000 m2 at its two factories in Meßstetten-Tieringen, Mattes & Ammann produce more than 56 million square metres of textile fabrics in circular knitting and warp knitting machines every year. Production is focused in particular on technical knitted fabrics for the automotive industry.

The company has ISO/TS 16949 certification and has been supplying well-known automotive manufacturers with three dimensional shaped interior cladding components such as ceilings, pillars and back shelves for more than 30 years.

The company also supplies other knitted fabrics for seat fabrics and slip covers, as well as materials used inside seats. Another important branch of production at Mattes & Ammann consists of knitwear for the home textiles industry, in particular 100% cotton and mixed-fibre mattress upholstery fabrics for leading manufacturers in Europe, the USA and Australia.

Sustainable Textile Production (STeP)

OEKO-TEX STeP (Sustainable Textile Production) is an independent certification system that brands, retail companies and manufacturers across the textile chain can use to prove and communicate their achievements in terms of sustainable production conditions credibly and transparently.

Certification is possible for production facilities of all processing stages from fibre production, spinning mills, weaving mills and knitting mills to finishing facilities and manufacturers of ready-made textile items.

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Mattes & Ammann First German to Receive STeP Certificate