Sponsored article in partnership with VAUDE
As consumer habits shift increasingly towards sustainable buying, German cycling and outdoor brand VAUDE sets out how it is taking concrete action to make the world a greener place
The adoption of sustainable lifestyles is on the rise. Shopping habits are changing, with the consumer favouring product longevity, timeless gear, and easily repairable materials. Brand adaptation is key – not only to feed the buying habits of consumers, but most importantly to protect the planet that we love exploring.
At VAUDE, sustainable outfitter for bike and outdoor sports, we know how important it is to take environmental and social factors into account for everything we do. Our HQ has been Climate Neutral since 2012, and since January 2022 VAUDE has been climate neutral with all products worldwide.
Our family-run business was formed nearly 50 years ago near the Alps, with bike sports products coming in 1992. Less than a decade later, we were the first outdoor company to produce an entire product range under the strict environmental bluesign® standards (which we still abide by today) and 10 years after that we had successfully launched our own Green Shape standard that you can find across our VAUDE Bike product range. It’s proof that outdoor gear shouldn’t be a burden to the environment, instead eco-friendly, fair, and functional.
VAUDE GREEN SHAPE LABEL
Our team at VAUDE takes pride in knowing we take concrete action and accountability; we know that every social movement begins with someone taking that first step. It starts with less waste used during production and ends with knowing the product can be easily recycled at the end of its life, and not skipping the parts between. Our Green Shape label is comprehensive and rigorous, and our standard for outdoor products.
In order to earn the VAUDE Green Shape label, a product must consist of more than 50% bio-based or recycled materials. This climate friendly alternative sees natural products such as hemp or organic cotton used, or bio-based plastic and Nylon. Bio-based plastics use castor oil instead of petroleum, which doesn’t compete with the food chain and grows without supplemental irrigation and on poor soil. Incredibly, we’ve found that bio-based Nylon is lighter, absorbs less moisture, and is stronger than conventional Nylon – a win for the planet, and increases the longevity of our products.
In keeping with the circular economy, we opt for recycled materials – polyamide from post-consumer tires, and recycled household packaging – which all goes into the creation of yarns, zips, and buttons. The bluesign® system helps us achieve energy efficient processing for our Green Shape products, all without the need for harmful substances. We know these products are made to last and can easily be repaired, if necessary, with replacement parts available.
Fair working conditions are not determined by where a textile is manufactured – but how. Fair wages – living wage, not minimum wage – and working conditions are ensured throughout all our factories, monitored by independent Fair Wear auditors. We have a very high level of commitment to fair working conditions, and we want that to positively influence others to do the same.
“Climate change is man-made; it is we humans who must take countermeasures. The time for decisive, collective action is now” – Antje von Dewitz, CEO VAUDE
CONNECTION TO NATURE
Being in the outdoor industry, it’s important that we have a connection to nature. We want to help protect and conserve the places we adventure to. We have partnered with professionals in nature conservation, from European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) to the Fundatia ADEPT that, as well as many other things, works tirelessly to maintain mountain bike trails and collect litter along the Scroafa Valley in Transylvania. Closer to home, we have a living roof on our VAUDE Manufaktur building in Germany and uncovered 1,500 square metres of parking space at our HQ, turning it into a wild meadow full of local plant life. At our HQ we use 100 % green electricity from renewable sources, largely through our own photovoltaic systems on our company roofs.
What’s the part of our sustainability journey that we’re most proud of? As a sustainable pioneer, we have built up a profound and recognised expertise that has encouraged us to establish our own VAUDE Academy, which supports the process towards sustainable management for other companies through university lectures, workshops, and individual advice. We take the knowledge we have learned, and are still learning, and inspire others to develop sustainably. After all, it’s not a competition but rather a team sport.