In 2019, we started an exciting journey at Alpinetrek: we set out on the path to improved sustainability. It soon became clear that, to have a real impact, we needed to focus on one area at a time. We decided to focus on the issue of climate protection. Alpine Trekker Johanna has been there from the beginning – from shaky first steps to small projects, to what is now an ambitious plan. In this interview, she talks about milestones reached, ambitious goals and the fact that there is often no easy solution when it comes to climate protection.
Alpinetrek made a decision in 2019, to make an effective contribution towards climate protection. How far along the road are you? What have you already achieved? What lies ahead for you?
We started from nothing and have gradually built up our knowledge and gained experience. To do this, we first had to establish some facts: How much emissions does Alpinetrek produce? Where are our biggest sources of emissions and therefore our greatest areas of influence?
That’s why we set out to create our first carbon footprint balance sheet, which we have updated annually ever since. On this basis, we have developed a climate protection strategy. Always with the goal: to avoid and reduce emissions. With many measures, large and small, we have already been able to achieve a lot. For example, we have switched to 100% green electricity, improved warehouse systems and optimised box sizes to ship less empty air.
At the same time, we are aware that there is still a lot to do. Because our goal as a company is to make an effective contribution to the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement. To this end, we have formulated science-based climate targets that have been validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative since October 2021. A key measure to achieve these goals is to encourage our suppliers to do more to protect the climate.
So Alpinetrek is already very active in the area of climate protection. Despite this, online retail has an impact on the climate and the environment – parcels have to be packed, brought from A to B and sometimes sent back again. Isn’t it therefore more environmentally and climate friendly to buy locally?
This is a truly fascinating question that we are very concerned about. And not just us, but also scientists. As a result, there are now a number of studies on this issue. For the first time in 2015, the Clean Tech Institute, commissioned by the Otto Group and Hermes scientifically investigated this question. The result: online retail generally performs better than brick-and-mortar retail in terms of emissions.
The reason: a more efficient delivery system. In online retail, deliveries are condensed, i.e. a few vehicles deliver many parcels. In retail, on the other hand, many customers use their cars for individual trips – a far less efficient practice. This is also the conclusion of a recent study by the University of St. Gallen. So it seems that, in most cases, online retail is better for the climate than store-based retail.
However, it is clear that the carbon footprint of individuals also depends on that individual’s actions. Will there be a return? Do you cycle or use public transport to get into town?
It seems there is no clear-cut solution here. So how can you shop more climate-friendly at Alpinetrek?
First and foremost, it is important to make a conscious purchasing decision. We try to support our customers by providing detailed product information and helpful reviews from other customers. In addition, you will find other useful tools in our online shop, such as detailed buying guides for numerous categories or calculators to determine, for example, your climbing shoe size or the optimal length of your walking poles.
In terms of sustainability, certified labels also serve as a useful reference. That’s why we also have a “shop consciously” filter in our shop – so our customers can quickly and easily find products with sustainable features. This makes it a lot easier to search for products that are environmentally-friendly and socially responsibly produced.