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2022 Sustainability Report
published 2023/08/01

VAUDE introduces the Repair Index

July 27, 2020 – The outdoor specialist VAUDE has always set great store in ensuring that its products have the smallest ecological footprint possible and that they can be used and repaired over the long term. Now the outdoor outfitter is going one step further and systematically embedding reparability in its product development operations.

Innovative tool for extending product lifetimes

To ensure that products are designed to be as easy to repair as possible from their very inception, VAUDE has introduced the Repair Index. "With our Repair Index, we are strengthening our focus on reparability and reaffirming our stance against a throwaway society. It shows that we are taking our claim seriously. Our products should have a long service life and be reparable," said Antje von Dewitz, VAUDE CEO.

A product's entire period of service right up to what happens to it afterward is what VAUDE had in mind when it developed the Repair Index.

A product's entire period of service right up to what happens to it afterward is what VAUDE had in mind when it developed the Repair Index. This tool makes it possible to evaluate the reparability of VAUDE products. An exhaustive point system can be used to examine possible modifications in the areas of design, material selection and processing technologies in order to increase and optimize reparability. It includes issues such as replacement parts, the tools and resources needed for a repair and subsequently, how quickly and easily the repair can be made and by whom.

Examples: Wheeled baggage and waterproof zips

The Repair Index can be illustrated with two contrasting examples. Quick and easy repair is possible, for example, with VAUDE's wheeled bags. The wheels for these bags are prone to wear and tear, but they can be easily ordered as replacement parts and, with the help of our repair instructions, replaced quickly and without great technical effort. This means that these items earn a perfect score in the VAUDE Repair Index.

Another example: Repairing a waterproof hf-welded zip in a rain jacket is possible, but it's relatively demanding. The time required is higher and, in addition, this repair can usually only be carried out by qualified personnel, as it requires specialized tools and specific expertise. This means that a lower score is currently achieved for these products. As a result, the next step is searching for alternative processing technologies to the usual market standards in order to minimize the repair effort and improve the repair score.

»Our Repair Index provides our customers with the assurance that reparability is not a coincidence in VAUDE products, but has been taken into account in the development of each and every product.«

Hilke Patzwall, VAUDE CSR Manager

VAUDE strives to achieve the best possible reparability for all products without compromising functionality, innovation, design or profitability. As with all sustainability issues, the challenge lies in achieving an optimal balance between each of these aspects. The evaluation system will therefore become an integral part of the next generation of the VAUDE Green Shape sustainability label, which is constantly undergoing development. All newly developed products of the current Summer Collection 2020 have already been subjected to the new repair criteria. From the Summer Collection 2022 onward, the criteria will then apply to all VAUDE products.

Another component for an extended product lifetime

With the Repair Index, VAUDE is adding another component to its commitment to extended product lifetimes. VAUDE is already vigilant about attaining excellent durability by using long-lasting materials and high-quality workmanship during the production phase. VAUDE also has an in-house Repair Workshop and cooperates with the online platform iFixit as well as Repair Cafés. And when a product has finished serving a customer, it can be resold in the VAUDE Second Use Shop on eBay or donated to the Fairwertung network for social purposes. And for those who aren't interested in owning certain types of gear themselves, many items can be rented from the company's iRentit service.
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