With the global focus towards acting more sustainably, Madeira UK has been recognised by the professional clothing and uniforms industry, scooping two prestigious awards from the Professional Clothing Institute (PCIAW®).

The first was the acclaimed Sustainability Award, bestowed on an individual or company who has shown outstanding initiative and/or development in implementing sustainable solutions. 

The PCIAW® stated: As the winner of the PCIAW Sustainability Award 2021, Madeira proved it has carefully crafted policies and new products to create practical changes which will mitigate the business’ environmental impact, resulting in the first ever maximum score from the panel of independent judges”.  

The second award of the evening was a Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Karen Burrows, Managing Director at Madeira UK.

Karen was acknowledged for her contributions to the textile industry and her dedicated 30 years of commitment to Madeira’s progression. 

The origins of Madeira date back to 1919, when Burkhardt & Schmidt Garnfabrik was founded in Freiburg, Germany.

The company successfully became the first choice for embroiderers due to its strong innovation and quality-oriented decorative threads. 

Since a name change in 1975, the Madeira brand has stood for exquisite embroidery threads and gained global recognition.

Today, approximately 70% of the threads sold are produced at the headquarters in Germany, using modern and sustainable technologies.

Madeira UK, established in 1983 and based in Melmerby, North Yorkshire, was one of the first daughter companies and is now one of seventeen Madeira companies worldwide, alongside many global agents and distributors.

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Sustainability has underpinned Madeira’s activities from the beginning.

This was driven initially by the location of the business in Freiburg, known as the ‘greenest’ city in Europe.

Overall Freiburg has set itself some very ambitious targets, aiming to have reduced CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2030.

With the intention to be climate neutral, powered entirely by renewable energy by 2050.

To run a production plant under these conditions highlights Madeira’s longstanding desire to help protect the planet.

Madeira has modernised, expanded, and developed the production site in Freiburg to be one of the most modern and efficient embroidery thread manufacturing companies in the world, running one of the most high-tech and sustainable thread dyehouses in Europe, recycling heat and water where possible. 

Madeira’s vision of a more sustainable future has impacted the strategic direction of both product development and company policy.

All areas of the business are constantly under review to identify where changes can be made to support the sustainable philosophy.

By using technology to change processes, internal and external paper usage has been cut dramatically.

The use of plastic is minimised, and general recycling is automatic within the teams.   

Producing existing products in a sustainable way is something that Madeira has always been keen to maximise, but to create new products transforming the options available in the marketplace is truly innovative.

2021 has seen the launch of Madeira Green plus the development of two new sustainable ranges of machine embroidery thread, Polyneon Green and Sensa Green.

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Polyneon Green is made of 100% recycled post-consumer PET bottles. 

Created in response to the global demand to reduce plastic bottles, with Polyneon Green, Madeira is collecting, therefore reducing the amount of plastic in the environment, and making the textile industry more sustainable.

Sensa Green is the first coloured embroidery thread made from Lyocell.

Lyocell fibres are well known as being one of the most sustainable textile fibres on the market, and many eco-conscious manufacturers are already using it to create fabrics that are soft but strong.

Out of this renewable raw material and together with our European partners, we have developed a truly innovative and eco-friendly embroidery thread.

Madeira hasn’t stopped there.

The plastic spools for the majority of Madeira’s threads are also recyclable and the packaging for these new ranges is made from 66% recycled cardboard. 

Further sustainable product development has been via collaboration with Wear2Go.

The project began in 2008, originally with a consortium and partially funded by the EU, to produce a method of disassembling workwear and corporate clothing to prevent them going to landfill.

This shows a level of investment in sustainability that goes beyond looking at internal processes and products and highlights Madeira’s genuine interest in protecting the environment.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has naturally affected all businesses but the decision for Madeira to remain open to support customers, many of whom were supplying essential PPE directly to the NHS and uniforms for key workers was welcomed by the industry. 

 Karen Burrows, Managing Director at Madeira UK says: “Continuing with the philosophy instilled during the Covid-19 lockdowns, flexible working from home where possible is also reducing Madeira’s carbon footprint.”  

“Early in 2022 we will start to build a new building to assist the Company’s expansion plans.
Energy efficiency will be maximised and environmental aspects such as solar panels and electric car charging points are paramount.  

“Our customers rightly expect above average expertise and service plus a sense of responsibility towards the environment.

Madeira’s corporate philosophy is one of continual improvement and we are delighted to be the recipients of an award recognising the Madeira brand, our companywide improvements in sustainable practices and of course, my life-time achievement award”.

Madeira’s vision is for continued success as a trusted supplier to the industry via its high-quality products, technical know-how, its continued commitment to development and sustainability and to sustain and grow employment in the local area.

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