As more and more people venture into the great outdoors, outdoor brands Rab and Lowe Alpine (owned by Equip Outdoor Technologies Ltd.) have seen sales significantly increase over the past year, making 2021 their most successful year.
Increased production to meet demand means higher greenhouse gas emissions. Despite this, since 2019 they have reduced their emissions per product by 17.4%. This is one of the key messages from Equip’s 2022 Sustainability Report that was officially launched on June 13th at OutDoor by ISPO 2022.
Tim Fish, Equip Product Director, said: “Innovation isn’t found chasing the big problems. It’s in all the simple changes that add up to make a big difference. Swapping to more recycled fabrics. Rolling products so they pack smaller. Focusing on the subtlest details to cut a millimetre of wastage.
“Reducing our impact is not something we do on the side, it’s ingrained into our design process. As is our obsession on performance.”
The key reasons for this reduction are:
Purchasing more recycled materials than virgin. In 2021,
63% of purchased fabric was recycled (4% in 2019);
53% of purchased down was recycled (8% in 2019);
The iconic Microlight range is made using recycled down and fabrics.
Rolling and folding products differently while increasing packaging recycled content.
This has reduced plastic polybag size and resulted in a 25% reduction in per-item-packaging emissions.
Switching 90% of their purchased electricity to renewable energy sources.
Ending silk purchase for their products in 2021.
Aside from the animal welfare issues, silk production is highly carbon intensive.
“This is our third year as a Climate Neutral Company. Our ambition is to reach Net Zero by 2030. We are proud to see our item-level emissions reduce while our production volumes increase to record levels in 2021. This is a result of hard work, making changes to our packaging use and a continued move to use more technical recycled fabrics,” said Matt Gowar, Equip CEO and Owner.
Their wider Rab DNA strategy is built around the four threads of Product, Planet, Partner and People. The 2022 Sustainability Report provides a comprehensive overview on each thread:
- Expanded their Service Centre locations globally.
- Local repairs are now available in the UK, Europe, USA and Canada.
- Repaired 8321 accidentally damaged items and washed 4760 items.
- Set up Rab Rental in 2022 to explore more circular models of usage of outdoor kit (UK only).
- Certified as a Climate Neutral Company for the third year.
- Committed to be fluorocarbon-free by AW24.
- Sent off the first shipment of their UK down recycling program.
- Recommitted to a 2-year partnership with educational outdoor charity, The Outward Bound Trust.
- Celebrate 6 years of supporting Women’s Trad Fest.
- Launched Mountain Manifesto. A set of shared commitments to encourage the industry to work together to reduce environmental impact.
- Achieved Fair Wear’s Good status in their first Brand Performance Check.
Looking forward, Rab and Lowe Alpine are focusing on three priorities to keep reducing their impact and working towards their science-based target commitment to achieve their Net Zero carbon emissions ambition by 2030.
- Working closely with manufacturing partners to agree targets and how to get there.
- Minimising their air freight usage as the supply chain allows.
- Continuing with product and material design improvements.