Enjoying nature with a clear conscience

Source: Vaude

Yes, snow is back. We took the sled out yesterday afternoon and I am in the mood for nature, skiing and even more snow 🙂 …. Braunschweig, I know – but maybe, I do find another glacier somewhere here around the corner 😉 Well, what we need now is the right equipment. Without a good pair of snow pants or jacket, the cold weather will turn out as nightmare. So I took up the topic Outdoor brands and checked out which brands you can buy with a clear conscience.

Well, we are all running towards mountains and nature, want to do something good for ourselves, but don’t notice that we actually harm the environment with our equipment by doing this. To keep us dry during rainy weather, fluoride-containing chemicals are being applied on the textiles in production countries such as China, Pakistan or Mexico. According to the Outdoor-report 2013 done by Greenpeace this leads to the result that rivers and tab water are contaminated – with serious consequences for human beings and environment. By the way, PFC (polyfluoride-containing) -products are not only a problem for these production countries, but as well in the western world: By washing and disposing these PFC-products, the chemicals stay in the environment and enter via food chain into the human organism. They are not, or hardly biodegradable.

But still the big companies don’t show any ambitions to change their way of production. Today PFC-free materials are available and would meet many requirements. Greenpeace therefore requests to ban PFC from production, invent more alternatives to fluor-containing chemistry  and to exit from fluor-chemistry now and not in 20 years. Because it is now time to act.

What can we as consumers do?
  • Ask yourself if you really need this item before shopping – maybe I already have something similar?
  • Don’t run after every trend – use your outdoor clothes longer than just 1 year.
  • Shop brands that sell PFC-free products
    •  Vaude : is the class winner of all Outdoor Brands and was best sustainable german brand in 2015, by Stiftung Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis. I think: totally right. Compared to other brands Vaude has taken care of the environment for a long time – e.g. by working together with Bluesign since 2001.
    • MaierSports: offers  PFC-freie Outdoor Jackets and has the goal to change the entire range to PFC-free by 2020. Their PFC-free jackets have one crucial advantage: their weather protection is permanent. You can wash these jackets as often as you want in comparison to conventional textile-impregnation that needs to be redone more often.
  • Watch out for the right certifications:
    • Bluesign: The bluesign-System is at the moment the world’s strictest standard for environment protection, work safety and consumer protection. Not only the end product is being analyzed and certified, but all the production processes of the single components. www.bluesign. com.
    • Fair Wear Foundation (FWF): FWF is an independent Organisation that wants to improve working conditions in the textile industry. Its members are bound to 8 FWF-work guidelines, eg.: no child labour and safe and healthy work conditions.  www.fairwear.org.
    • Imo Control: This worldwide active, independent swiss institute controls the social standards and environment management measures of companies. www.imo.ch
    • Oeko-Tex Standard 100: This is one of the most popular textile certifications. With this label it is sure that the provided textiles are below the maximum permissable value for certain harmful substances. Only if all components of the product are according to the rules, products are being certified. BUT careful: not the single production steps are certified, but only the end product. www.oekotex. com

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