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2017 Sustainability Report
published 2018/08/01

VAUDE Green Shape

Functional, environmentally friendly products made from sustainable materials – it’s enough to make your heart skip a beat if you’re someone who loves outdoor activities. For us, Green Shape is an ongoing challenge.

VAUDE Eco Collection

Our Green Shape label offers functional, environmentally friendly products made from sustainable materials. We are vigilant about fair working conditions throughout the supply chain.


Our criteria for evaluation are stringent and transparent. They are under constant review and cover the entire lifecycle of the product from design and production to maintenance, repair and disposal.


Pioneering work on criteria and transparency

How do you assess whether a material, process or product is environmentally friendly? Especially when there is no worldwide standard or comprehensive assessment system, and no certification, let alone something that would be acceptable internationally for all product groups? How do you decide whether a material, process or product is environmentally friendly? Especially when there are no worldwide standards, no operating evaluation systems, and no international or uniform certificates to go by.


Green Shape: strict criteria for environmentally friendly products

VAUDE is a pioneer in this field and has developed its own rating system for environmentally friendly outdoor products: Green Shape.


We use the VAUDE Green Shape criteria to evaluate our products with regard to their environmental friendliness.


Watch this short film explaining what Green Shape is about.



 
 

Sustainability throughout the entire product life cycle

Green Shape covers the entire product lifecycle with its strict standards – from design and production to maintenance, repair and disposal.


This means that not only the primary materials but also all production sites have to meet the high ecological standards for VAUDE Green Shape products.
In addition, all other components such as thread, zips and prints must meet the stringent Green Shape criteria.



Phases of the Green Shape product cycle
 
 

Aren't there enough eco labels as it is?

Who can understand all these labels anyway…? You might be right. So why does VAUDE have its own label?


In 2009, when we began to steadily steer our product development toward sustainability, awareness for the ecological and social aspects of clothing was only just beginning to develop.


The message was, that we should not only produce "better" (more environmentally friendly) products – customers should also be able to identify them as such in stores.


We searched high and low, but couldn’t find a quality seal that applied to our different product groups and our products (which are primarily made from synthetic fibers), and that could be used internationally.


So, we developed the VAUDE Green Shape concept and labeled our products accordingly. Green Shape has been around since 2010, and it has become very well established in the market. Now, it’s not just recognized by customers our like ourselves; more and more retailers are buying Green Shape products to make their product range more eco-friendly.


That is why we remain convinced that the VAUDE Green Shape label makes sense.


Green Shape 2.0 - all criteria

Up until the Summer Collection 2015, the Green Shape criteria only applied to the materials that we used in our products. This was an important first step but was soon no longer enough for us.


With Green Shape 2.0, the entire product lifecycle is now scrutinized including the design, all materials used, the production facilities, use and care of the product, and potential recycling and/or environmentally friendly disposal.


Green Shape 2.0 is a two-tier process: Each Green Shape product must be made from certified and/or environmentally friendly materials and the production facility where the materials come from must also be environmentally certified. This doubles our safety net, especially with regard to handling chemicals in production.


Green Shape 2.0 expressly excludes the use of particularly critical materials and technologies such as PVC, fluorocarbons, chlorine and bleaches containing hypochlorite, nanotechnology or solvent-containing prints.


Each Green Shape product must be easy to maintain and clean, and cannot require dry cleaning.


The bluesign® system is an important part of the concept. But Green Shape goes beyond the bluesign® system. Green Shape products may not, for example, contain fluorocarbons, while the bluesign® system allows their use under strict conditions.


You can read the complete Green Shape Concept in detail here. A word of warning – it’s complex! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.


There is still room for improvement in the system…

Green Shape 2.0 is already very comprehensive. Nevertheless, we are continuing to develop the Green Shape criteria to fill the few gaps left in the concept:


  • We will establish a minimum level of material efficiency for Green Shape products to provide incentives for zero-waste design.
  • We are currently working on criteria for the repairability of Green Shape products.
  • We still need to establish clear guidelines and criteria for the recycling of Green Shape products.
  • We need clear guidelines and trial periods for new, innovative materials and technologies that we would like to try out and promote, but because of their market novelty sometimes do not fulfill all the Green Shape criteria. e.g. for certifications.
  • To make Green Shape even more credible, we would like to introduce a stringent, internal audit procedure and independent verification.

Feedback, ideas and suggestions are always welcome. Just use the contact link on this page to send us an email.


At the end of the day, a label like Green Shape is about making it easier for you as a customer and product user to be able to recognize which products are more eco friendly so that you can make informed purchasing decisions – for the benefit of us all and the planet.


Together with several other companies in the textile and outdoor industry, we are working on developing an mechanism that we can use to measure and compare the impact of a product on the environment: the Higg Index. You can read more about that here.


Over 90 % of our apparel is Green Shape

Each year we add more Green Shape items to our product range. This is something we're proud of. In the Apparel Collection in particular, we have been increasingly successful in finding environmentally friendly materials from responsible suppliers.


But we are also facing great challenges – especially with tents, backpacks and footwear. Materials such as hard plastics, metals, foams for shoe soles etc. are a fairly hard nut to crack from an ecological point of view. Often, our suppliers’ ability to understand and accept the high environmental requirements for our products still needs to be developed. Therefore, we are investing a great deal of energy into our supply chain. More details here


Growth in the percentage of Green Shape products within the main product groups

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Development in the percentage of Green Shape products within main product groups

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We have changed the calculation methodology for this graph compared to the last few years: Replacement parts are no longer listed, nor are inner jackets, which are Green Shape, but cannot be assigned to the overall product (inner jacket + outer jacket) in our IT system. In order to be able to compare the figures, we have recalculated all values for all seasons according to the new methodology.


Growth in the percentage of Green Shape products in our total production

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And what about VAUDE products that aren't Green Shape?

Many VAUDE products now meet our strict Green Shape criteria. However, all of our other VAUDE products that do not or only partially meet the Green Shape criteria are also strictly monitored.


For example, if no certificate from independent third parties such as the bluesign® System or ISO14001 is available for the material and/or material production, our risk assessment automatically increases. This evaluation is the basis of our spot-checks for harmful substances on materials and finished products. Read more about VAUDE’s minimum standard for all products and our Management of Harmful Substances Policy here.

Good to know: The Economy for the Common Good rates VAUDE as “exemplary”

The Economy for the Common Good, an initiative that analyzes corporate responsibility, has rated VAUDE as “exemplary” in the category “Ecological Design of Products.” VAUDE’s positive influence on “raising social and environmental industry standards” in the entire outdoor sector was also highlighted – see Economy for the Common Good

GRI:   103
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