IF YOU ARE A BRAND THIS IS YOUR SPACE! HERE YOU CAN FIND TIPS AND IDEAS TO IMPROVE YOUR BRAND’S SUSTAINABILITY, AND TO SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE WITH OTHERS!
We know it is hard to achieve these goals and we want to give you ideas and tools to make these commitments easier for you. It is not about being the best but to join strengths and knowledge to do the best we can for the planet. Here is a guide with ideas, suggestions and tips to achieve those goals. Share your ideas so others can adopt them. Together we can accelerate the pace to win this race.
Click the goals to find various solutions:
GOAL 1: Implement circular economy principles for all products.
A circular economy is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.
- Look at the environmental footprint of the source materials to produce your products (https://portal.higg.org/5f32780c63a968000fd08f64/product-tools/msi/dashboard).
- Find out whether the materials can be obtained from recycled ones. For plant-based and animal-based products, look for materials coming from regenerative agriculture (https://regenorganic.org/).
- Make sure the production process in your factories and your suppliers’ factories minimizes waste and pollution (example of management systems for large companies: EMAS, ISO 14001)
- In addition to ensuring product durability and reparability (GOAL 2), design products in a way that allows easy recycling (i.e. with an easy separability process at the end-of-life, using non-mixed materials or mono-material design…)
- Ellen MacArthur Foundation https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/ .
- Cradle to Cradle certification: https://www.c2ccertified.org.
GOAL 2: Design your products to be durable and repairable. Promote circular business models.
- Make sure to use materials that are durable (selecting high-quality trims, durable fabrics, not-too-thin layers of materials, etc.).
- Design products to make them durable (robust assembly, robust sewing, limiting use of parts that you know can usually be quickly broken, etc.).
- Set up standards for product durability tests and have the products/prototypes tested by athletes and frequent practitioners in the field.
- Replace seasonal / yearly collections with timeless editions to stop fast fashion and planned obsolescence.
- Consider setting up longer warranty times.
- Enable easy reparation of partially damaged products. Prioritize modular construction so that if a part cannot be repaired you provide the option to purchase a exchange that part.
- On your website, publish “how to” tips/videos for repairing your products. (Make gear last).
- Webinar “Lifetime of Outdoor Apparel, Footwear & Gear” https://vimeo.com/468106460
- Collect used gear from the shops to repair or recycle.
- Have repairing facilities in shops or at events.
- Develop circular business models (rental, subscription, second-hand, etc.) and encourage them through consumer incentives (for example: have a rebate for second-hand products when you buy a new product, etc.).
- Rental model example: Vaude
GOAL 3: Exploit the present possibilities for recycling and environmentally friendly disposal or introduce an improved system for collecting and recycling your products. Become waste free for direct operations, products and packaging.
- Set up a disposal point for used products in your shops or retailers.
- Set up disposal points for used products at events you organize.
- Inform about disposal points for your products on your website.
- Promote used product buy-out scheme in shops to ensure correct disposal and recycling. For instance, in the form of coupons with a % discount on a new product in exchange for the old product or reward recycling with platforms like Pantapa, TerraCycle, etc. This might encourage good practice.
- Design product patterns in a way that creates as little cutting waste and material waste as possible.
- Collect and reuse waste from the production process (i.e. dead stock fabrics, cutting leftovers, etc.) Some brands use dead stock to design new pieces. Do it or send this leftovers to brands that can produce new products from it.
- Don’t destroy unsold product stock: sell them through outlet stores, donate them to charity organisations, etc.
- Go zero waste in packaging. (Zero Waste International Alliance)
- Use reusable packaging sollutions (RePack)
- Design packaging to be minimal and functional. The weight of the total packaging shouldn’t be more than 10% of the product weight.
- Make packaging of 100% recyclable or compostable materials or intended for reuse.
- How to reduce waste in your packaging: https://www.billerudkorsnas.com/managed-packaging/knowledge-center/articles/how-to-reduce-waste-in-your-packaging
- Avoid plastic and polybags in packaging.
- Use recycled paper and cardboardss.
- If using plastic, use 100% recycled and recyclable.
- Use plastic substitutes as noplast for food packaging.
- Limit the use of polybags: limit individual polybags, fold/roll pieces to limit polybag sizes, look for options to collect and recycle polybags (at warehouses, in stores, etc.) before they go to the end-consumer, etc. https://fashionforgood.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/FashionforGood_Polybags_in_the_Fashion_Industry_Whitepaper-1.pdf.
- Be sure that the disposal of the packaging is selective. For instance,tell your consumers where to dispose of the packaging, or do the unpackaging in the shops and logistic centers to control all the selective disposal — only giving unpackaged product to the consumer).
- Association working for zero packing: Une bouteille à la mer.
- Solutions database: https://www.drawdown.org/.
GOAL 4: Reduce the use of chemicals and develop mitigation strategies against microplastic pollution.
- Consider the recommendations of the Roadmap to Zero program from the ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals).
- Set up a Restricted Substance List for your products and processes based on international regulations (such as REACH in Europe) and other companies’ best practices.
- Consider moving to PVC-free.
- Consider moving to PFC-free. (https://detox-outdoor.org)
- Limitate the use of polyester (this material loses microfibers when washed).
- Do antibacterial treatments to polyester made products to reduce the necessity for washing (https://polygiene.com/).
- Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) for all natural fabric materials (i.e. not synthetics).
- Responsible Down Standard (RDS) or Global Traceable Down Standard for down-insulated products.
- OEKO-TEX Standard 100 to certify the absence of harmful chemical substances in textiles.
- Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) for products containing wool.
- Leather Working Group (LWG) standard for leather, suede and nubuck product or parts.
GOAL 5: Respect the water resources: reduce water consumption and water pollution in all your activities, including (but not limited to) all your products.
- Reuse the water by implementing systems such as membrane-driven systems that can achieve 70 to 85 percent recovery of water. Another alternative areor evaporative technologies that can increase recovery to 99 percent.
- Use toilet water for industrial uses. “Toilet-to-turf” reuse water for business purposes such as power generation, landscaping, manufacturing, toilet-flushing, car washing and agricultural irrigation.
- Fix the pipes to avoid wasting water by leakages.
- Evaluate environmental impacts related to water for a product or site (ISO 1404 standard). This makes it possible to identify and prioritize appropriate action plans and internalise the economic costs.
- Waste water treatement: https://global-uploads.webflow.com/5ed628f951e6c112227290bb/5f383d5c99906525d8fddb97_EOG%20Waste%20Water%20treatment%20low%20res.pdf
GOAL 6: Reduce the GHG emissions by 65% for all actions and be carbon neutral.
- Have an energy consumption audit, to identify what the energy consumption is and where you can improve. Change to 100% renewable energy in all operations (example of management systems for large companies: ISO 50001).
- Allow work from home when possible.
- Promote teleworking and provide financial support for users of soft mobility (bicycle, train, carpooling etc…).
- Use video conferences instead of business trips.
- Subsidize public transportation and organize carpooling for employees.
- Upgrade your fleet of vehicles to electrical cars.
- Make your offices and locals more energy efficient with simple actions such as switching to energy-saving lighting, choosing energy efficient appliances, ensuring a good insulation and having regular maintenance of cooling and heating systems.
- Prioritize digital files and signatures to avoid the use of paper.
- Directory of climate action pathways
- You can find what some companies do to be climate neutral here: https://climateaction.unfccc.int/
- Solutions database: https://www.drawdown.org/
- Webinar Outdoor Industry Climate Strategy: https://vimeo.com/468103470
- Consider joining international/sectoral initiatives to strengthen collective action, such as the Climate action corps from the Outdoor Industry Association, Science-Based Targets initiative, UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, The Fashion Pact…
- Certification Carbon trust
- Corporate climate action by Science Based Targets
GOAL 7: Target to use only energy from 100% renewable sources across all operations.
- Use renewable energy to power your offices, factories, logistic centers and transport. This can be done through installation of solar panels, use of geothermal energy or switch to an energy company who uses only renewable energy.
GOAL 8 : Have a sustainable supply chain.
In the outdoor industry, about 90% of a company’s carbon footprint does not come from its own operations but from its supply chain (suppliers’ own emissions, logistics emissions, material sourcing, etc.) so working on these areas will greatly improve the global carbon footprint. Support your supply chain towards becoming more sustainable!
- Ensure that your supply chain works towards the same environmental commitments as your company does.
- Support them towards better environmental practices: organize environmental training sessions, share tips, help them monitor their environmental impact, provide them with financial support and environmental expertise, etc.
- Start by mapping your carbon footprint throughout your operations and supply chain to determine where to act first: see ISO 14064 norm, the reference for carbon footprint. Furthermore, consider contacting/joining CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) for help on how to best assess and monitor carbon emissions (https://www.cdp.net/).
- Monitor your suppliers’ environmental footprint (for example: Higg Facility Environmental Module: https://apparelcoalition.org/higg-facility-tools/).
- Encourage and help your suppliers’ transition from fossil-based energy to clean energy (for example: Clean Energy Investment Accelerator, Clean by Design program, etc.).
- Analyze your logistics flows and transportation means and switch to less carbon-intensive transportation solutions (boat, road, train transportation instead of airplane). If lead times are an issue, consider educating your consumers on this issue by explaining that delivery times might be longer to save carbon emissions.
- Identify and source low-carbon materials: materials that are recycled, organic, regenerative, etc. (Higg Materials Sustainability Index provides some information about materials carbon footprint:https://apparelcoalition.org/higg-product-tools/).
- Ensure great working conditions for the supply workers.
- Have living wages instead of minimum wages (the minimum to have housing, food, health, etc. in the supply countries).
- Certification Fair Wear https://www.fairwear.org
- Floor Wage Alliance: https://asia.floorwage.org
- Fair Trade Economy common good https://www.ecogood.org/
GOAL 9: Publish the Product Carbon Footprint (PCA) or the environmental footprint of the products.
- Calculate and publish the PCA or the environmental footprint of your products on your website and on the tags of the products.
- Educate, e.g.via commercials, about the ecological footprint of each product.
- Here are various methodologies and protocols to calculate the environmental footprints of products and organisations: https://ec.europa.eu/environment/eussd/pdf/Deliverable.pdf
- Example (apple)
- Example of sustainability report (Vaude)
GOAL 10: Have a responsible marketing and communications promoting outdoor-friendly practices.
- Avoid using helicopters when shooting promotion content, use drones instead.
- Don’t encourage harmful environmental practices through social media.
- Limit disclosing location of mountain places on social media (this limits big amounts of people going to the same location and increasing the land damage and biodiversity risks).
- Communicate environmental initiatives (plogga, etc.) and responsible outdoor educational content.
- Avoid photographers traveling from far away to do a shooting, prioritize local photographers and filmmakers instead.
- Limit the travel support of the sponsored athletes to 3 Tons CO2e/year.
- Reduce the product allocation the sponsored athletes receive to the minimum required for your and their activities.
- Offset the carbon footprint evaluations for your athletes, and where possible, invest in low-carbon travel options (train or bus passes for athletes).
- Stipulate a travel budget that can only be accessed for low-carbon trips.
- Taking care of the environment is linked to taking care of society. That’s why it is important to move towards an authentic inclusion. Take the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge: https://www.insolidarityproject.com/the-pledge.
Several ecolabel certifications:
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