»Time is pressing. Climate protection must have top priority and we must act now with all of our resources, the facts from climate science tell us that very clearly.«
The recently published IPCC report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change once again urgently points out that climate change is a man-made reality that is progressing even faster than previously assumed. The 1.5-degree target set out in the Paris climate agreement could be exceeded in just over a decade if we keep on going as we have. This summer we got a clear taste of what this will mean for the planet’s climate. According to the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), global greenhouse gas emissions must be halved by 2030 if we are to meet the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.
We at VAUDE have been actively committed to climate protection for many years. Since 2009, we have been working at our German headquarters with 100 % green electricity sourced from our own solar installations. Since 2012, our company headquarters and all products manufactured in our Manufaktur production facility have been climate-neutral. In 2019 we made another major climate goal of achieving global climate neutrality with science-based targets – as quickly as possible. The most important prerequisite for this was to assess not only all of our emissions right here in Germany, but also the emissions from our upstream global supply chain. In order to be able to calculate these reliably, painstaking and meticulous data collection was necessary in close cooperation with our suppliers. We have now reached this major milestone. Our complete climate footprint is in place and based on this sound data we recently decided that All VAUDE products will be climate neutral - starting in 2022!
Offsetting our emissions isn’t enough for achieving climate neutrality. Effectively reducing our emissions – both quantifiably and verifiably – is equally important. When we joined the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) in 2019, we made a commitment to reducing our emissions in accordance with science-based climate targets. This also requires knowledge of the level of actual emissions – a complete climate footprint. On this basis, we have defined three major reduction targets in accordance with the SBT specifications. In order to achieve these targets, we will reduce our ecological footprint year by year, thereby making a measurable contribution to climate change mitigation in compliance with the 1.5 degree target.
Since we already use 100 % green electricity at our German headquarters, a significant part of our remaining emissions come from the employee mobility generated by our vehicle fleet. By 2024, we want to reduce these emissions by another 40 % compared to 2019.
The largest share of our emissions is generated in our global supply chain. Functional outdoor products are predominantly made of synthetic fibers and their production requires a high level of energy consumption. So this is where we have already started – we are already gradually minimizing the use of fossil raw resources in the materials for our products. By 2024, 90 % of our products will be made primarily from recycled or biobased materials. We are committed to the principles of a circular economy. The use of renewable raw resources or the recycling of materials conserves fossil resources and significantly reduces CO2 emissions in material production. In our 2022 Apparel Collection, we have already achieved this for half of all products.
»There are still some major challenges ahead of us. We know that the majority of our greenhouse gas emissions are produced by our suppliers in the manufacturing of materials for our products. An energy revolution in our countries of manufacturing is urgently needed in order to be able to reduce emissions on a large scale.«
By 2030, we aim to reduce emissions in our supply chain by 50 %. Our global production partners still largely use climate-damaging fossil fuels. We are working hard to help them switch to renewable energy sources and are jointly developing concrete action plans to achieve our ambitious reduction targets. In cooperation with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development (BMZ), we carried out energy management training in 2015 in a pilot project with suppliers of textile materials, which, among other things, saves over 18 million kilowatt hours of energy in production each year. This is roughly equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of a small town.
Sustainability is expensive. As there are limits to the willingness of retailers and consumers for paying higher prices, we can only afford the additional costs for sustainably manufactured products and climate compensation if we cut costs in other areas. Since setting out on the path of sustainability, we have financed higher expenses by foregoing expensive advertising measures in marketing as well as by taking other measures. The investments we are now making in our goal of global climate neutrality require even greater reductions in advertising expenditures. We will invest an amount equal to what we spend annually on offset payments in the continuous reduction of our emissions. We have to act now for the earth’s climate – that is our priority.
»Climate protection instead of advertising. In order to achieve complete climate neutrality much sooner than originally planned, we are courageously cutting our marketing budget. In light of the global climate crisis, we would be happy to have others join us.«
Our offset amount for our German headquarters with all products manufactured there flows into a Gold Standard carbon offset project of the non-profit organization myclimate in Vietnam and we will also invest the offset payment due in 2022 for the climate neutrality of all VAUDE products there. This means that we will offset all unavoidable emissions. Vietnam is one of our most important countries of production, so we are providing compensation there. The project that we are supporting provides small farmers with access to clean energy by building biogas plants. By switching the population in rural parts of the country from climate-damaging charcoal fireplaces to gas stoves with self-generated energy from agricultural waste, the progression of climate change is effectively combated. Read more about our Climate protection project Vietnam.