At the company headquarters in Obereisenbach, we have almost full control over how we deal with energy. In 2008 VAUDE introduced a company Environmental Management System and has been certified according to EMAS and ISO14001 since that time.
Energy is needed throughout the entire value chain – not only at VAUDE. All upstream and downstream activities, including product manufacturing, the machines this requires, transport resulting from shipping, business travel and commuting, the use of the product during its lifespan and even waste disposal also require energy in the form of electricity, fuel, etc.
Because this energy consumption results in climate-damaging emissions, we report about it in the context of climate protection – see "Emissions".
The vast majority of our products are manufactured at sites outside of Obereisenbach. In contrast to the situation at our company headquarters, VAUDE has very little control over how the upstream supply chain handles energy.
The necessary manufacturing of materials and components (such as fabrics or zips), production of chemical additives (for example dyes) and substances for product functionality (such as water repellency and UV protection) consumes energy. Sewing the products also requires energy.
There are still no statutory provisions regulating the designation of energy consumption in the manufacturing of outdoor products, let alone legal requirements for their energy efficiency.
VAUDE commissions independent producers to manufacture its goods. We do try to influence energy-saving production by stipulating which materials are to be used, for example with the bluesign® system.
However, we must clearly recognize that our influence has been quite limited in the supply chain thus far. It has not been possible to obtain reliable data on energy consumption from producers and suppliers that would create a reference base for the manufacturing of VAUDE products.
We know that we have an urgent need for action on this issue, both in terms of creating data transparency, as well as in terms of energy management in the supply chain. We are pursuing two strategic approaches in this issue: the expansion of the bluesign® system and the building of a database that collects all environmental data through the Higg Index – see bluesign®: World's Strictest Standard and Higg index.
In a pilot project, we are currently introducing an environmental management system with various suppliers. Within this Environmental Stewardship Program, suppliers are also trained on how to deal with energy use.
To compensate for the negative impact of our energy consumption, we have been compensating for our energy consumption (in addition to other consumption such as for materials) at our headquarters in Obereisenbach through the myclimate organization since 2012. The entire VAUDE site in Obereisenbach including bag manufacturing there is considered "climate neutral." - see "Climate Neutral at the Obereisenbach Headquarters".