Is sustainability only an issue when times are good? Is it destined to fade into the background in crisis situations such as the current coronavirus pandemic? Or is it possible that just the opposite is true? We at VAUDE have been dealing with these questions and now, six months into the coronavirus pandemic, we've come to some interim conclusions. We have found that our corporate culture, which is based on mutual trust, and our firmly established, sustainable corporate alignment have helped us to steer through these stormy times with flexibility and using our own resources. Issues such as cooperative partnerships, self-efficacy and mobile work as well as responsible conduct for people and the planet have made us crisis-proof.
When our retailers had to close their stores, we made a conscious decision to not cancel any product orders; instead, we entered into dialog with our partners and suppliers in order to jointly withstand the slump in sales. For example, we collectively redefined delivery dates and payment targets, always under the premise that both sides would be able to accept the changes. Similarly, we also made accommodations for our specialist retailers. We actively participated in and signed on to the recommendations for responsible purchasing practices of the Alliance for Sustainable Textiles. As a rule, VAUDE is highly committed to responsibility and fairness in its supply chains and relies on long-term partnerships with its producers and suppliers.
»Sustainability is a team sport. The crisis has revealed how fatal short-term corporate practices are and what threat they pose to a company's existence. Partnerships based on cooperation and fair conduct, on the other hand, provide the flexibility needed in times of crisis and at the same time create stability.«
As a company, embarking on a sustainable path means breaking new ground in a wide range of activities. This is simply because there is often a lack of regulation of environmental and social factors in our current economic system, or because environmentally friendly alternatives do not yet exist. So we are used to accepting challenges, working toward achieving solutions and tackling seemingly insurmountable obstacles and conflicting goals, such as eliminating the use of PFC, on our own initiative and mastering these challenges independently. The coronavirus pandemic, of course, has created a major new challenge for us. But after the initial shock of the lockdown and the closure of retail stores, we went into solution-finding mode with speed and agility and began taking action.
»We stand by our belief that our sustainable economic model is the only way forward.«
In the face of many major global challenges, the corona crisis will surely not remain the only one that will affect the way we do business and live together. Therefore, we advocate learning from the crisis. Sustainability and successful business management are not mutually exclusive ideas. In fact, the opposite is true. Sustainable management means future-oriented management. We should demand and promote this, not only in view of sustaining a planet on which we want to live, but also in maintaining a healthy economy. This is why we at VAUDE are committed to ensuring that economic stimulation is not seen separately from efforts to protect the climate, for example. Measures already underway, such as the EU's Green Deal on climate change, must be pursued vigorously and funding to support the economy should be linked to sustainable targets.
This exceptional situation has shown that changes in the areas of digitization, mobile work or changes in consumer and mobility behavior, which had previously seemed impossible or were only slowly progressing, could suddenly become reality. We see this as a great opportunity for a sustainable and stable economy.
»We are convinced that consistently sustainable business practices make us crisis-proof and are the only sensible way to move forward.«
Initiatives that we support: :