Outdoor Gear: Striving For Sustainability
For years the outdoor industry has been one of contradiction. A community built on people’s love of green spaces, untouched landscapes and a thirst for the wilderness – yet one where the high-tech gear we all wear for our adventures has been full of harmful materials and processes that are damaging for the very environments we love to explore.
Patagonia has long recognised the importance of protecting our planet with an environmentally-focused ethos encompassing all they do. Other brands are also making rapid strides towards a more sustainable future and it’s clearly time we got behind the ones who are striving to care for the environment.
But being an eco-friendly consumer can be pretty confusing when you’re navigating the jargon-filled world of what is truly ethical and what’s just greenwashing. What’s bluesign® gear? What are PCFs? And how can sheep help to save the planet?
ADVENTURERS HAVE THE POWER
TO PROTECT THE OUTDOORS THEY LOVE
When it comes to brands built on good principles, Fjällräven is a shining example.
The clothing company was founded with the ethos to ‘act responsibly towards nature, animals and people’, and focuses on using sustainable and recycled fabrics. Their ReWool scheme even takes sheep wool from the meat industry destined for landfill and refashions it into warm, eco-friendly insulation. In 2015, Fjällräven declared war on pesky PFCs (which stands for perfluorocarbon) – chemical compounds widely used to make fabrics water repellent, at nature’s cost. Fjällräven’s Eco-Shell garments prove that brands can offer waterproofing without impacting on the environment.
It’s not just your outdoor gear going green – it’s how you care for it, too. Grangers is an eco-responsible aftercare brand whose cleaning and re-waterproofing products have been around for decades, even helping Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay summit Mount Everest. They were the first aftercare brand in the world to receive bluesign® partner status (a standard for environmental health and safety) for their totally PFC-free products.
And we wish all companies had the ambitions of market-leading backpack brand Osprey, who have announced their goal to be the ‘most progressive, transparent and sustainable outdoor hardgoods brand in the world’, aiming to become completely PFC-free by 2022 as well as switching to recycled materials.
By choosing to buy gear from brands like these, adventurers have the power to protect the outdoors they love for future generations to enjoy.
Here at Ellis Brigham, we are also working hard to improve our environmental credentials. Our 2nd Life scheme takes donated clothing and gear and gives it to homeless charities, helping those in need while reducing the amount of kit that goes into landfill.