How sustainable are your favourite brands?

News, blog and backgrounds about the sustainability scores of brands

Outdoor brands: green by default?

With spring coming up and winter sportswear on sale, outdoor brands are doing great business. The products on their websites are surrounded by images of beautiful landscapes. This ‘natural’ branding makes you, as a consumer, trust them easily for producing their products with attention and care for our earth. But is this true?

Source: Patagonia website

Best practices

Setting an example with their environmental policy and therefore on top of our ranking is Vaude, specialized in mountaineering. They score 11 out of 16 points. Inspiring facts:

  • According to the ‘Green Shape’ principle, half of their products are produced out of at least 90% organic materials, like recycled PET-bottles or polyester
  • Since 2008 the brand is a ‘Bluesign’ partner and 35% of their collections is following the regulations for use of water and chemicals

Furthermore, an honorable mention for Timberland is in place here because of their climate change policy. The brand provides a clear overview of their ecological footprint and has an active policy to become climate neutral in future. Additionally, they take the environment into account during the production of their clothes:

  • 34% of cotton is organic
  • Natural resources like bamboo and hemp
  • Recycling of PET-bottles to produce ‘green rubber’ soles

Unfortunately they did drop a few stitches by not making clear specifically what part of the total consists of environmental friendly materials. Nevertheless, so far they are doing a good job!

Still disappointing
Patagonia is often praised as champion of social corporate responsibility. With an impressive list of initiatives they come across as environmentalists. They work with the four R’s:

  • Reduce: only produce sustainable products
  • Repair: offer free repairing within 10 days
  • Reuse: hand in your redundant clothes
  • Recycle: make new sweaters out of worn out ones

Also, they are Bluesign partner best online casino and they donate 1% of their profits to the preservation of nature. Plenty of beautiful words and campaigns, but they don’t score very well in our ranking. Where Vaude offers clear numbers, Patagonia doesn’t. They speak about ‘Carbon Footprint Chronicles’ but don’t tell us much about their own. Neither do they present us facts about the actual use of eco-materials. Therefore, zero points for their environmental policy.

What about Nomad? They only collected one point for environmental and climate policy together. While they claim to work following the principle “good gear, less waste” they don’t provide us enough specifics about their policies and targets. A lot of work left to be done, we would say! A positive remark: they set a good example with they policy for conditions in the workplace.

Promising words call for action
The esthetically impressive and green branding from outdoor brands creates the expectation that they take good care of our environment and nature. Unfortunately, not all brands do. Our advice is simple: give information! Tell consumers what products are green and what share of those products are green. It’s not that hard to be transparent about the environment and climate, being a nature lover – or is it?

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One Comment

  1. Posted 04/05/2012 at 08:02 | Permalink

    I agree 100% with your statement that the Outdoor Industry should simply start demonstrating how green they are and how they want to protect Nature by all means…
    80% is still GREENWASHING and empty Slogans…like Northland Professional i asked you to rank ZERO Points is a new record!
    But you should add them to your list of Brands if you want to educate the people! I told the CEO of Northland Arno Pichler to take a look at the Rankabrand Questions and pay more attention to his GREEN Communication… You say:
    The esthetically impressive and green branding from outdoor brands creates the expectation that they take good care of our environment and nature. Unfortunately, not all brands do. Our advice is simple: give information! Tell consumers what products are green and what share of those products are green.
    People should know what they buy!