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An eco approach to insulated jackets

Words by Taunton Leisure

on 28/10/2021 14:51:00

An eco approach to insulated jackets

Take a look as we highlight the approaches from our brands towards making the perfect, ethical, insulated jacket.

Over the last few years many of our suppliers have put great work into the advancement of outdoor equipment technologies, specifically with the goal of making their products as for good for the planet and those who make them as they can. Today on the TL blog we’ll be highlighting some of the fantastic steps taken by companies like Patagonia, Rab, Mountain Equipment and more to show you exactly what kind of things can be achieved when making one of our favourite cold season essentials, the classic insulated jacket.

Nothing keeps you cosy and warm like a decent insulated jacket in the autumn, winter and misleadingly chilly spring. Whether made using down or synthetic insulation, there are certain steps that can be taken in order to make these products as ethical as possible, let’s start with one of the most pressing matters.

All of our brands use ethically sourced down
One of the highest points of contention surrounding insulated jackets is the insulation itself. Many of our jackets contain feathers from ducks and geese, it is undoubtedly one of the best performing insulative materials out there. It keeps you warm efficiently while remaining highly breathable, very lightweight and is immensely packable. However the ethics surrounding down and its sourcing has been highlighted over the last few years and has gained quite a poor reputation.
Each and every one of our brands has in place a system for carefully monitoring and ensuring that their down is sourced from cruelty free suppliers. As a rule, one of the best and most ethical ways of sourcing down is as a by-product of the meat industry.
Rab, The North Face, Montane and Patagonia are all certified by the Responsible Down Standard. This is an independent organisation which inspects every link in the supply chain to make sure that the animals are treated with dignity and do not come to any unnecessary harm. Inspection is rigorous and certification is carried out regularly, ensuring these practices are repeated and regularly updated.
Mountain Equipment uses a variety of independant organisations to audit their supply chains. ME will not take any down which is not 100% traceable. Their Down Codex is a way of tracing each and every product they make to the suppliers who provided the down. You can even look up the down in your own Mountain Equipment products by searching the 12 letter code on the Down Codex label within on their website so that you too can see exactly where your down comes from.
Fjällräven’s Down Promise has ensured 100% traceable down in all Fjällräven products since 2014, tracing down also ensures that it is definitely of the utmost quality worthy of these premium brands.
Last but not least, Rab are now using 100% recycled down in some of their products including their best selling Microlight range. They source this from a company called P.U.R.E. Based in Italy, P.U.R.E source their down from high-quality post consumer waist such as discarded bedding. After a lengthy treatment of washing and revitalising, this new recycled down performs every bit as well as virgin down and takes but a fraction of its toll on the planet.

Climbing the North Face Bypass route on Mt Athabasca 3491m in the Canadian Rockies
Photographer Tim Banfield

More brands are making use of recycled materials

A large part of what makes up an insulated jacket has the potential to be quite harmful on the environment, the polluting habits of polyester and other plastics have been highly talked about over the last few years. This is certainly something taken on board by our brands as they’ve begun the process of converting all plastic elements within their products to recycled alternatives. This includes the polyester outers, inners and of course the synthetic methods of insulation used within some jackets.
Rab’s Cirrus insulated jackets now utilise Recycled PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Luxe. This great product provides the look, feel, and performance of down, using 100% recycled synthetic fibres. Water-resistant PrimaLoft fibres deliver down-like warmth, packability and lightweight loft, even in wet conditions. Additionally, our full range of Rab insulated jackets uses differing variants of Pertex Quantum Eco. This material performs superbly against the wind and light rain and is tough enough to withstand serious abrasion, it is of course also 100% recycled from discarded plastic bottles.
Speaking of plastic bottles, our full range of Patagonia’s polyester built products including their insulated jackets are made of them. The polyester bits such as the outer fabric and syntetic insulation anyway. If you’d like to read more on how Patagonia make great use of recycled polyester, check our our article HERE.
Montane, Fjällräven, ME and TNF all also utilise similar technologies.

All of our brands have a form of Fair trade certification

Every decent outdoor garment requires the eye and skill of an experienced maker. With the industry today, it is impossible to make an ethical product without treating the manufacturers fairly for their great work. It takes an immensely talented workforce to craft the kinds of insulated jackets with which our brands bring out. That is why it is so important that these talented people are properly compensated for their superb work.
To begin, all of our brands are Fairtrade certified however some have pushed it further by aligning themselves with other independent organisations whose chief aim is to create an industry which thrives to be the most ethical it can be.
Fjällräven is a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, an industry-wide group of more than 80 leading clothing and footwear companies and NGOs. Together they share information and best practices, to work towards reducing the environmental and social impacts of the industry.
Mountain Equipment have thrived year after year within the Fair Wear Foundation, a non-profit organisation. They know there’s a better way to make clothes. Their mission is to see a world where the garment industry supports workers in realising their rights to safe, dignified, properly paid employment.

Shop our great, ethical range of Insulated Jackets HERE

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