Icebreaker: everything you need to know about sustainable merino wool
Eco-Friendly Brands | November 25, 2022
April 11, 2022
In this article, you will learn more about the following eco-friendly brands:
First and foremost, to be eco-friendly, a company must apply principles and implement processes that allow it to respect and preserve the environment, the planet and humans over the long term.
If you want to shop responsibly, the best thing to do is not to buy anything, since consuming requires the production of goods and the use of resources and materials that have an impact on the environment. On the other hand, consuming better will allow you to enjoy your outdoor activities while minimizing the impact.
Opting for eco-friendly brands allows you to:
There are a variety of eco-friendly and environmentally friendly certifications for which outdoor brands can opt.
Bluesign® is an independent authority that certifies that each stage of textile production is done responsibly, with the lowest possible impact on people and the planet.
If an item has the bluesign® logo, it means that the company has been approved by the organization and upholds the standards required by Bluesign: the item is made of at least 90% textile fibers and 30% accessories (zipper, laces, etc.) and is approved by Bluesign.
Established by Textile Exchange, this certification protects animal welfare and ensures that down and feathers from ducks and geese used in coats, sleeping bags and other down products are harvested from animals that are not subject to animal cruelty (such as live plucking or force feeding).
Also implemented by the Textile Exchange, the RWS standard can voluntarily endorsed by farmers, textile producers, and brands who wish to ensure the welfare of sheep, protect grazing lands and respect the five freedoms of animal welfare, which are:
To achieve B Corp certification, brands must meet high standards of performance, accountability and transparency verified in all areas of the business; from the supply chain to raw materials. To become certified, a company must:
Fair Trade is a global movement that brings together producers, businesses, consumers, advocates and organizations with a common goal: to benefit people and the planet through fair trade.
Items bearing the Fair Trade mark meet rigorous social, environmental and economic standards and ensure that workers have good working conditions, that the environment is protected, that livelihoods are adequate and sustainable, and that funds are allocated for community development.
In addition to becoming climate neutral in 2022, Vaude makes bags and other items stamped with the Green Shape logo, meaning they are made from natural, environmentally friendly, bluesign-approved and/or recycled materials, such as lyocell (a biodegradable cellulosic fiber) and organic cotton. Some bags are even plastic-free.
The German brand also works with the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) to maintain high social performance and ensure good working conditions and fair wages for employees at their production facility in Asia and their suppliers and subcontractors worldwide. All of which has a positive impact on the earth and its inhabitants.
Few companies still make clothing in Canada. In addition to supporting local commerce by purchasing coats made in Montreal and Victoriaville, Quebec, you are helping to reduce transportation-related GHG emissions and participating in the circular economy, as each piece is designed with a high level of quality and the ability to be repaired or recycled.
Quartz Co. also relies on Pertex® and recycled polyester made from post-consumer plastic bottles, both Global Recycle Standard, bluesign® and OEKO-TEX certified; Repreve® fiber from recycled materials, recycled nylon, and traceable Canadian white duck down in the design and production of winter coats, parkas, and lightweight jackets.
As an added bonus, all Quartz Co. coats come with a lifetime guarantee. A brilliant choice!
This company, based in Montreal, Quebec, formerly known as Indygena, designs clothing for active women. The company’s mission? To take an approach far-removed from fast-fashion and provide quality, functional, versatile coats and outerwear made from the most eco-friendly, recycled, and sustainable fibers possible – some are even bluesign® approved.
As well, Indyeva aims to use 100% recycled synthetic fibers and organic, natural fibers by 2025. Definitely worth checking out!
The name Tentree gives a good clue about the cause behind this Canadian brand. Inspired by the responsible fashion trend, the co-founders, who also have a background in tree planting, launched the brand in 2012 with the goal of planting 10 trees for every piece sold. Since then, over 73 334 342 trees have helped repopulate forests in Senegal, Kenya, India, Brazil, and more.
Tentree stands out not only for its casual fleeces and sleek men’s and women’s basics, but also for its ethical consciousness (the company makes sure to partner with manufacturers that offer decent working conditions), its use of recycled materials and responsible wool, and its B Corp certification obtained in 2016. A local jewel to keep an eye on!
Since starting the One More Tree program, where a tree is planted for every pair of boots or shoes sold, Oboz has planted over four million trees around the world.
The American company also carefully chooses the materials that make up its boots and hiking shoes, such as foam soles made from Bloom algae and leather from environmentally friendly materials. The best part? 100% of the energy that powers their offices comes from wind, solar and natural sources.
Veganism, a diet that excludes animal ingredients, is not reserved only for food. Want proof? Save the Duck received the 2019 Business of the Year award from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), a nonprofit organization that works to defend animal rights.
That’s because the young company, founded in 2012, makes quilted coats and jackets for men and women where animal down is outright exempt and replaced with Plumtech® a fiber that mimics the softness of real down while providing thermal protection. It’s no wonder Save the Duck has earned B Corp certification for its efforts to conserve natural resources, use recycled materials from qualified sources and ensure animal welfare.
The Cotopaxi brand stands out for its colourful bags and clothing made from recycled textiles, but also for its commitment to doing good around them. Having achieved B Corp certification in 2015 and holding a score of 93.6, Cotopaxi stands out for its adherence to Pledge 1% where at least 1 % of revenues are donated to organizations that help fight poverty.
Other interesting facts that set Cotopaxi apart from the competition: it uses RDS certified duck and goose down, it is certified climate neutral, it wants to increase the reused, recycled or responsible materials present in 94% of its products to 100% of its collection.
Mountain Hardwear‘s focus? To reduce water use and its carbon footprint by taking concrete action for the environment.
How do they do it? By using bluesign-approved materials and RDS-certified down in the production of coats and sleeping bags, and by using the solution dyeing process, which requires 89% less water, 63% less chemicals and generates 60% less carbon dioxide emissions than traditional dyeing.
The brand also offers a lifetime warranty on all its products and favors repair over replacement. It’s a simple philosophy to adopt, whether it’s for clothing or other goods.
The brand’s slogan “Never Stop Exploring” also applies to their environmental commitments.
By choosing a down jacket or sleeping bag made by The North Face, you can ensure that the natural fiber is RDS certified and produced in an animal-friendly manner. In fact, it was The North Face that launched this ethical standard, in 2014, in partnership with Textile Exchange, an international non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainability, and Control Union, an independent organization.
The North Face isn’t stopping there: the international corporation wants to eliminate single-use plastic packaging by 2025 and use 100 percent responsibly sourced fabrics in apparel by 2025.
Outdoor Research is proud to use RDS-certified goose and duck down since 2016 and to collaborate with bluesign® throughout its supply chain.
The company also encourages outdoor enthusiasts to advocate for gear made with recycled content to minimize their impact on the planet. Recycled content reduces waste, energy consumption and dependence on oil. So you won’t be surprised to find recycled ripstop fabric and polyester in Outdoor Research’s quality clothing.
Eco-friendliness and sustainability are now part of the values of a host of other brands such as Icebreaker and Smartwool who both use wool produced without animal cruelty and that respect the five freedoms of animal welfare, as well as Keen and Fjällräven, who have banned the use of perfluorinated chemicals to waterproof their products.