“It’s easy to get lost in the sea of labels, certifications and all the hifalutin promises regarding sustainability and environmentally-friendly production. I mean, there are so many manufacturers out there, working tirelessly to establish sustainability in both their product line and their value chain. A very welcome development, if I do say so myself. Of course, as it is with every movement, you’ll find some brands spearheading the movement.
One such brand is the German company known as VAUDE. The outdoor company from Tettnang is not only a member of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles but have even created their very own label called Green Shape, in accordance with which over 88% of the company’s products have been manufactured as of 2017. In the following, we’re going to talk about both Green Shape as well as VAUDE’s other environmental endeavours.
The need for an their own label
The Green Shape label is the result of the desire to introduce a uniform quality evaluation system for ecological products geared toward all parts of the product lifecycle as opposed to only certain areas. In other words, the focus is not only on environmentally-friendly fabrics and socially-acceptable products but also on the recyclability of the products, easy and gentle care as well as a long lifespan and repair service. More specifically, this means:
- VAUDE emphasises the use of certified resource-conserving materials (e.g. bluesign, Ökotex 100, GOTS, etc.) and recycled materials. Plus, environmentally-friendly natural materials are used, such as organic cotton, Tencel or hemp. What’s more, there are no PTFE membranes, genetically engineered products or nanotechnology involved in Green Shape products. Other eco criteria include refraining from using bleaches containing chlorine or hypochlorides.
- The manufacturing sites have verified social standards as well. All suppliers were and are subject to intensive training in the areas of environmental, chemical, workers’ safety management and social standards. Printing methods are also environmentally friendly and free of any harmful substances.
- Central topics of design and development are reparability and the lifespan of the product.
More detailed information on the Green Shape label can be found here!
VAUDE’s dedication goes far beyond jackets, trousers, shoes as well as their employees and suppliers. In fact, it extends throughout all areas of the company, something VAUDE calls the “green theme”. The company’s headquarters in Germany is “climate neutral” and has an in-house childcare centre and organic cafeteria. Plus, the products are transported in an environmentally-friendly way. And, they even have their own repair service that customers can contact if there happens to be a problem with one of their products. There’s also a VAUDE second-hand shop on eBay where old products are sold.
As was already mentioned, VAUDE is a member of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles and a bluesign system partner. They’re also an affiliate of the Fair Wear Foundation, which supervises the supply chain and working conditions and helps to uphold social standards. In collaboration with the Economy for the Common Good, VAUDE regularly creates a balance sheet that assesses their contribution to the common good as well.
One of VAUDE’s many partners is the WWF. As a partner, VAUDE supports various projects, such as the removal of so-called ghost nets (fishing nets) in the Baltic Sea, and even supplies WWF employees with clothing and gear. Along with myclimate, VAUDE also works tirelessly on reducing emissions. Since 2002, the company has also been the main sponsor of DAV (German Alpine Club).
Just lip service?
In all honesty, it has been extremely difficult to find a fly in the ointment, as it were. So difficult, in fact, that I haven’t found a single one. At the very most, one could criticise the fact that a small portion of their gear is treated with PFCs (per- and polyfluorinated chemicals). But this, too, should be history by 2018, thanks to the Greenpeace’s Detox Campaign. For more detailed information on VAUDE’s efforts, have a look at their sustainability report. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! Post a comment or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.