Greening of the Snowsports industry, part 2

In part 1 of snowgrrl’s exploration of green initiatives in the snow sports industry, we discussed green initiatives by NILS, Phunkshun, and the Snowsports Industry of America itself.  An increased awareness of how our actions affect the earth and others, and an effort to make a positive impact on them, seems to have pervaded the industry.  In this era of supply-chain transparency, diamonds, clothing, and even lattes can come with an explanation of where the item was grown/sourced and how. Now conscientious snowgrrls can ensure that the companies manufacturing our snow sports gear are also using ethical practices! Not only can we wear the latest, most comfortable, fashionable and technically advanced gear available, but we can also look into the process by which these products are manufactured, and those manufacturers’ commitments to the environment and people.

One of the coziest sources of warmth in our clothing comes from down feather insulation.  As the top supplier and processor of down in the outdoor industry, ALLIED Feather & Down works with major brands including the North Face, Helly Hansen, and Montane to bring supply chain transparency through its proprietary Track My Down (TMD) program. In 2008, Allied was the first down supplier to certify that no birds from which it collected material had ever been live-plucked or force fed. To be fully certified as a Responsible Down Standard supplier, every aspect from hatchling to body must be certified by an independent auditor.  Nike and VF Corporation recently honored ALLIED Feather & Down’s persistent and long-term initiatives regarding responsible, sustainable sourcing, continued efforts in eliminating harmful Fluorocarbons from processing, and long-term commitment to transparency and traceability. ALLIED has committed on a global scale to going 100% Fluorocarbon (FC) free in their water-resistant down by 2017! They’ll replace it with a natural wax-based treatment that’s far greener and better performing.

Allied Feather & Down is currently scrupulous in its sourcing of natural fill, and others in the industry have made similar commitments for the future. Bergans Sustainability Manager Felix Ockborn says “for several years, we have focused on the environment and our social responsibility. Expedition 2020 raises the bar even more.”  The new environmental program provides Bergans with a clearer strategy and several measurable goals to help fulfill Expedition 2020’s motto of “What we love, we will protect.”

In early 2015, Bergans held several internal meetings with staff members from its product development, supplier relations, distribution and logistics departments to evaluate the company’s current efforts and determine which processes and requirements were environmentally sustainable, which weren’t, and what could be done to improve them. Every aspect from resource management in the head office in Hokksund, Norway to working conditions and animal welfare in the production chain was evaluated. From those meetings, major, minor and secondary goals were identified and set. Ockborn explains, “Bergans’ priority is clean and ethically sound production. A milestone in 2016 is that all down products will be manufactured in accordance with the Textile Exchange’s Responsible Down Standard. This means that a third party will verify that down production, from the farm to Bergans end products, adhere to specific ethical standards.”

In part 3 of this series, we will share information about companies that are finding ways to “do good” while they keep us looking good on the slopes.

Until then, wishing you powder days and perfect conditions!