The second stage in the life cycle of a VAUDE product after the design is the selection of materials and processing technologies. We require the highest quality from materials as well as top performance.
VAUDE products should offer reliable protection from heat, cold, wind, rain and sun and should improve athletic performance. They should accompany our customers for years during sports and outdoor activities. As our motto says, Performance Meets Ecology.
In addition to technical design, the materials and technologies used to make the products play a key role in these criteria. At the same time, these functional materials and technologies also have significant direct and indirect impacts on the environment.
Here are some examples of how the environment can be protected with environmentally conscious material selection:
Most materials used by VAUDE are made from synthetic fibers. These are derived from petroleum and processed with high energy, water, and chemical costs, then made into fabrics, dyed and usually chemically treated again to produce the desired technical performance such as water repellency and UV protection.
Protection from the elements
For outdoor clothing to provide protection against all types of weather, it has to be chemically treated.
Natural fibers are not always unproblematic either: conventional cotton consumes enormous amounts of water for cultivation and processing.
Wool usually comes from sheep that are kept on industrial farm levels - with negative consequences for biodiversity and an impact on the animals' welfare - see Only Wool from "Happy Sheep".
A finished VAUDE product usually has no direct negative impact on the environment. This arises primarily in the manufacture of materials.
Our upstream supply of materials is often in production countries outside of Germany. As a company that has these materials processed in other countries, we remain responsible for ensuring that we avoid negatively impacting people or nature; even though our influence at these facilities is very low.
How we actually ensure that high environmental standards apply during material production is described here.
VAUDE is one of the few outdoor manufacturers who evaluates the products in terms of environmental friendliness. With VAUDE Green Shape, we have created our own evaluation system for our products - see VAUDE Green Shape.
Overall, we lack reliable data on actual material consumption and material efficiency for production in the supply chain outside of Tettnang-Obereisenbach. Without this transparency, no concrete evaluations are possible. We are therefore working actively on the development of Higg Index. In this international database, sustainability data is collected from the supply chain and evaluated.
More about it here.