6 Ethical outdoor clothing brands painting the industry green
We take a look at some of our clothing brands and the steps they're taking to improve the outdoor industry and the world surrounding it.
Things need to be better
We’re outdoor lovers; we're obsessed with dense woodland, beautiful white mountains and the striking silhouette of a grassy hill at sunrise. As gearheads also, we are constantly stocking our stores with the latest and greatest gear so that we can get the highest enjoyment out of Earth’s beautiful spaces. However, it's really important to us that we consider the impact our brand’s habits have on the environment, the talented people who make the products and the animals which supply us with materials such as wool and down.
We’re going to highlight some of our brands which really stand out from others in ethical action, who strive to not only improve on the way they make their products but improve the way the entire outdoor gear industry operates.
New to our range, were very proud to be stocking Patagonia founded by the adventurer and environmentalist Yvon Chouinard in 1973, California. Honestly, we’re struggling to choose what to highlight as over the years Patagonia have had just so many programs and activities that aim to help the environment. In the last 35 years, Patagonia has donated over £70 million to grassroots activist organizations worldwide working on land, water, climate, biodiversity, and communities. Their Worn-Wear program ensures that your gear is of exceptional quality and easily fixable, making it last much longer. Plus, they keep a close eye on every step of the manufacturing process to ensure a minimal environmental and social impact, which includes using many recycled materials, organic cotton and traceable goose down.
2. The North Face
Another Californian brand, The North Face was founded in 1968 by Conservationists Suzie and Douglas Tompkins. The company has always encouraged its customers to enjoy the outdoors “from your backyard to the Himalayas.” The Conservation Alliance cofounders have contributed over a million pounds to a grant fund, and still work to lessen their impact on the environment. Rather modestly as well on their part, it is The North face who are to credit for the creation of the Responsible Down Standard which ensures the prohibition of any live-plucking, molt-harvesting or force feeding of any ducks or geese which provide us the down keeping us warm. The Responsible Down Standard has been taken up by many other manufacturers from the outdoor industry and beyond.
Icebreaker was created by a 24-year-old Jeremy Moon in 1995, New Zealand. It has one of the best reputations in the industry for high quality merino wool baselayers and outher technical outdoor garments. Since its beginning almost 25 years ago, it has been devoted to the welfare of the very special sheep which provide us with the miracle wool, Merino. Their growers all commit to meeting their strict animal welfare code. The 5 key freedoms for their flocks mean you can feel happy knowing that the sheep felt just as good making your Icebreaker merino as you will feel wearing it.
They are as follows:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst
- Freedom from Discomfort
- Freedom from injury and disease
- Freedom to roam
- Freedom from distress
An iconic outdoor brand from Sweden, founded in 1960 by Åke Nordin, then an outdoorsy teenager. Strongly against fast fashion and the impact it has, the three main principles put into every product are: functionality, durability and dependability. Using only the toughest, sustainable materials in their products ensures items last longer and are easily repairable, something they strongly endorse.
In 1994 the company began protecting its namesake (Fjällräven means Arctic Fox in Swedish) together with a team of scientists at Stockholm University, led by Professor Anders Angerbjörn. This project launched the Arctic Fox Initiative, a project which has funded many non-profit organisations benefitting and helping protect the world around us. Sustainability is at the core of everything they do starting from the first design drawings where materials even then are carefully selected and produced with their strict sustainable practises in mind.
With a mission to provide “timeless quality, intuitive design and simplicity” to their products, Arc’teryx is a Vancouver-based brand started by climbers in 1989. The company continually looks to pioneer new products that can withstand the lifestyles of hardcore adventurers. Every product is given a Life Cycle Assessment to pinpoint and mitigate stages in its lifespan that leave an environmental imprint. Arc’teryx’s commitment to sustainability begins with ethically-sourced materials and ends with quality, as each item is meant to last season after season. This is why the company emphasizes proper care and repair of their items, offering expert repair services at an affordable price or covered under warranty.
The British Outdoor Company founded by Nick Brown (also founder of Nikwax) began using its own Analogy Waterproof system back in the 1980s, all of its products are PFC free. Páramo’s partnership with the Miquelina Foundation in Bogotá, Colombia began in 1992. This partnership gives valuable opportunities for vulnerable people – women at risk of homelessness and drugs are offered training and employment, homes and childcare. Over 80% of Páramo’s annual production occurs at Miquelina, including all our Analogy waterproof garments which we keep in store and online. All garments manufactured at Miquelina now carry the World Fair Trade Organization Fair Trade label. Páramo also offer a recycling scheme and contribute very generously to the World Land Trust, an organisation devoted to protecting the world’s most important and threatened habitats.
This post was written by Oli, our beardy gear boffin who always sorts his recycling properly. Oli is a big fan of Unspoilt wilderness and roaring campfires. He is happiest out on the hill or in the woods, wildcamping with his two Very Large Dogs. Here he is melting snow with a spoon in his mouth.