The Supply Chain – Interview with Caro

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Supply chain - interview
Mountain lover Caro

As a retailer, Alpinetrek has a very special role in the supply chain. As the bridge between manufacturers and customers, Alpinetrek can influence sustainability both through its selection of products and brands, as well as through its presentation of product information in the shop.

Alpinetrek sees close cooperation with suppliers as one of its greatest points of influence for advancing sustainability in the outdoor industry. In this interview with Carolin, Team Lead in Project Management Merch, we find out which issues the purchasing department is currently working on and why she feels positive about the future.

In October 2021, Alpinetrek announced ambitious, scientifically verified climate protection targets – so-called Science Based Targets. One target is for 75% of its suppliers (measured by turnover) to set themselves scientific climate protection targets by 2026 in order to make a positive contribution to reaching the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement. What is the current situation?

We have now been working for about a year to achieve this goal. The first step was, of course, to inform all our suppliers about our target and explain our motivations behind it. All in all, we have received a lot of positive feedback about it.

The second step was to ask our suppliers: Where do you currently stand in terms of climate protection? What goals have you set yourselves on this subject? An initial evaluation showed that around 17% of our suppliers (measured by turnover) already have science-based targets, i.e. climate protection targets that have been developed on a scientific basis and are compliant with the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement. Another 40% or so of our suppliers (by turnover) have planned to set science-based climate protection targets or have other climate protection targets. We still have to check these for conformity with the 1.5°C target.

However, in a nutshell: we are really pleased with how many of our suppliers are already actively committed to climate protection and are adapting their processes and products accordingly. We are optimistic in this respect that we can reach our target by 2026.

Recyclable packaging
The packaging of Alpinetrek

When it comes to climate protection, Alpinetrek works closely with its suppliers. Why?

Before we could define our scientifically based climate protection targets, we first had to conduct an extensive data analysis. We divided all the products available in our shop into clusters, researched material compositions, weight and countries of origin, and based on this, determined the emission values for all of our products. These emissions are about seven times larger than our own corporate emissions. So it became clear to us that we had to take a more active role on this subject. It is one of our greatest areas of potential to make a real difference.

Of course, this also holds true for other sustainability issues in the supply chain. That is why we have strongly integrated the subject into the Alpinetrek sustainability strategy since 2022. Our goal is to strengthen our cooperation with suppliers in order to promote sustainability even further along the supply chain. But we are taking things one step at a time: our immediate focus here is on climate protection.

Label climate neutral on an Alpinetrek T-shirt. Only comes about through close cooperation with suppliers in the supply chain
Climate neutrality at Alpinetrek

So, when it comes to sustainability, Alpinetrek relies heavily on cooperation with its suppliers. How does good collaboration work to improve sustainability outcomes in supply chains?

The outdoor industry is closely connected to nature. Acting sustainably is therefore now at the top of the agenda for most brands and manufacturers. This is a development that has become increasingly significant in recent years. There are now a number of brands that incorporate sustainable practices into their product development right from the start.

But, of course, there are still areas where we can achieve even better results together – climate protection is a good example of this. In order to achieve real change in our supply chain, we are committed to building strong relationships and long-term partnerships.

We know most of our suppliers personally and have regular communication with them. We have been working with many of them for several years. An open and trusting partnership – we consider this to be important and the basis for further advancing sustainability along the supply chain in close cooperation with our suppliers.

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