3 Outdoor Brands Pushing for Sustainability

It’s time to talk about the fun stuff: Gear!

The aim of the Green Adventurer is to become aware of the environmental impact of our gear. However, this does not mean that we are not allowed to enjoy our gear or get excited when companies start showing off their latest collection. It just means that we add sustainability into the decision making process.

So, to get excited about adding sustainability into the mix here are some examples of the awesome things outdoor brands are doing to make their gear more sustainable;

Picture

This is a great example of a company which is not just following sustainability standards, but really included sustainability in their DNA right from the start. The list of things they are doing to minimize the environmental impact of their gear is incredible. They are 100% PFC-free, all of their synthetic products are at least 50% recycled polyester, they re-use the scraps which are usually disposed of as lining for the jackets, and they have recently launched biodegradable polyamide shirts which only take about 3 years to break down. That’s right, a shirt with the advantages of synthetic fibers only this one is biodegradable!

Picture; World’s First Biodegradable Polyamide Product

Vaude

In Europe Vaude is more widely known, however, this does not mean that what they do is also widely known. One of the things they are doing really blew my mind; Vaude uses cow milk in their gear! The milk comes from left-over milk which otherwise would have been thrown away due to strict food regulations. This is combined with wool and is made into Qmilk felt which they use in some of their backpacks and shoes. This process does not only save milk from being thrown away, it also saves chemicals that are needed in regular felt making processes.

Vaude; Qmilk Felt Process

Pyua

This is a company dedicated to closing the loops. Their gear is designed with circularity in mind. Pyua only uses polyester fabrics and components, which makes even their multi-layered products 100% recyclable. Additionally, their products are made of recycled material, PFC-free, and made in Europe.

Pyua; Closed Loop Recycling

Do you know of any other brands doing awesome stuff? Let me know in the comments!

3 thoughts on “3 Outdoor Brands Pushing for Sustainability”

  1. Great brands and great ethical compasses in the field of outdoor gear!
    A brand as Houdini is also something to look into: https://www.houdinisportswear.com/us/planetary
    These guys combine the sustainable production with the quality of long time purchases, which is for me a difficult decision (if the decission HAS to be made at all) to make. iWith these high quality products ofcourse comes a high quality price, but that long time purchase part makes me think. Is it okay to buy a brand which is not necessarily green in production but of which I know will last long? Ofcourse it is better if that investment goes into green research (green brand) or so, but on direct impact a not so green product sounds not so bad, as well with the eye on the recycling techniques which are not necessarily “green product bound”.

    • Thanks for sharing Houdini, it definitely looks like a brand pushing sustainability to the next level!

      You raise an interesting question about buying long-lasting gear which may not be produced as sustainable as some other brands. In trying to answer this question I came across the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) that Arc’teryx did for their Alpha SV Jacket. They found that 65% of the environmental impact comes from the production of raw materials and manufacturing. I have contacted them to clarify whether the LCA also accounts for the idea that the long lifespan of their products may compensate for the impact generated during the production process. I will keep you posted.

      Apart from the generally long lifespan of gear I also see the outdoor industry as an innovative industry driven by intrinsic motivation to protect the environment. In this sense outdoor companies can also set an example for other industries on how to make business more sustainable. That is why I think it is important to support brands pushing for sustainability by consciously choosing green(er) gear.

      • I just got a reply from Arc’teryx and they confirm that the LCA does take the product lifespan into account. Explained in extremes it means that if you are able to extend the life of your jacket for 20 years you will definitely cause less environmental impact than someone who replaces their jacket every 10 years. However, based on the average lifespan of a jacket (used for their LCA) 65% of the impact is caused by the production of raw material and manufacturing. This shows that durability is indeed very important but that the production process is crucial in decreasing environmental impact.

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