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2017 Sustainability Report
published 2018/08/01

Mountains of rubbish and polluted beaches

Everybody’s upset about it. We are too. Unfortunately, nobody has found a real and lasting solution yet.

The plastic bag problem

Plastic bags – they’re everywhere. And we are a part of the problem. In order to keep our products safe and clean until they reach your favorite store or your doorstep by post, our products have to be packed. And this involves plastic bags.


We know that this is a major problem and we’re still wracking our brains to find a good solution. If you have one – let us know!


Wanted: new inspiration

The best packaging is that which we simply don’t use. If it were only as easy as it sounds...


We have already long done away with plastic shopping bags in VAUDE stores. If you really need something to carry your purchases in, you can buy a paper bag.


All sales packaging for VAUDE products has also been pared down and optimized from an ecological perspective. This includes shoe boxes, all labels and cardboard hangers for gloves and other smaller items. We use recycled paper or cardboard for these items and avoid the use of plastic as much as possible.



Protection from damage is essential

The problem is packaging for transport, above all – those problematic clear plastic bags. Each individual product is packed in one…


  • to protect it from moisture, mold and damage during transport
  • because the shipping companies and warehouse logistics need them for barcode labels, etc.
  • because many dealers demand them from us in order to protect the product during their processes and to simplify things


At the moment, we can’t just eliminate them.



VAUDE Packaging Guideline

Nevertheless, since 2014 we have had our own Packaging Guidelines for our suppliers with clear instructions for maximum size, materials allowed and mandatory labeling that enables us to sort and recycle the packaging.


This guideline is a component of our purchasing contract and is mandatory for all VAUDE products. We monitor adherence with random testing at our warehouse.

The VAUDE Packaging Guideline is available for download here

 
 

What do you say?

If we were completely successful in implementing all of the “shoulds” in the guideline, we would already be a huge step ahead. These include, for example, a minimum recycling content of 30 % for all plastic bags.


For technical reasons, however, this degree of recycled content means that the bags are semi-transparent rather than clear. Is this a problem? We don’t know! We are currently in talks with our stores and logistics partners to find out if these bags are acceptable. We clear goals is to switch to 100 % recycled plastic bags.


Our Green Shape Core Collection is delivered in 100 % recycled polybags.


Unfortunately, recycled materials are generally much more expensive than new. This also applies to packaging.


Or how about reusing bags?


What do you think? We would love to hear your opinion! Just use the contact link on this page.


Tons of packaging material

The production of plastic has increased twentyfold in the last 50 years. Of the 80 million tons of plastic packaging worldwide, an alarming 32 % ends up in the environment.


By far the most of it in Asia: What is simply missing here is a regulated waste disposal system in which plastics are collected and sensibly recycled – even if only as fuel for electricity or heat generation.


Even the plastic industry has recognized the problem and is on its way to contributing to a solution.


We are working with the WWF and the Federal Association of the German Sporting Goods Industry to fundamentally reduce and best avoid plastic packaging altogether. We are also working toward raising awareness to the problem at our suppliers in Asia and working with them and the WWF to jointly find concrete solutions for the collection and recycling of plastics on site.



VAUDE packaging brought into circulation:

Transport packaging for delivery of VAUDE products out of Obereisenbach to retailers (inventory adjusted)



2016 2017

Cardboard, no less than 75% recycled paper

248.3 tonnes

275.5 tonnes

Shrink foil

4.6 tonnes

42.2 tonnes

Polybags

No data available

4,5 tonnes

 
 

Sales packaging for products manufactured at our Obereisenbach location (inventory-adjusted)



2016 2017

Cardboard packaging

14,3 tonnes

16,2 tonnes

Polybags

0,4 tonnes

1,8 tonnes

 
 

And what about biodegradable packaging?

Biodegradable bioplastics would be sensational for packaging: all the advantages that plastic bags offer for protection and cleanliness, but without the problem of non-decomposable pollution. You can read about the conflicts and problems here.


We follow the recommendation of the German Federal Environment Agency and do not use "compostable" plastics for disposable items such as packaging. Although these are theoretically biodegradable, they don’t actually decompose under normal conditions but only under industrial composting conditions at high temperatures and without an oxygen supply.


They are also problematic for biogas production. In most cases, they decompose much more slowly than organic waste and end up causing blockages at conventional biogas plants where they have to be carefully removed from the compost and disposed of.


In addition, with the current state of technology, they still require more energy to produce than new plastics. A high proportion of recycled material would therefore be the most environmentally friendly solution.

How you can help:

VAUDE supports WWF Germany

As a cooperation partner of the WWF Germany, we would like to pass on their recommendations


  • Avoid plastic packaging, plastic bags and disposable items. Put garbage where it belongs. 
  • Avoid toothpaste and cosmetics with microplastic beads.
  • Become informed about the toxins in plastics and avoid products made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and PC (polycarbonate).

»The textile industry carries an enormous responsibility as one of the major contributors to environmental pollution with plastic packaging. We are taking our cooperation partner VAUDE up on its promise and are working together on ideas to curb the problem, above all in the textile supply chain in Asia.«

Dr. Bernhard Bauske / Leiter Ocean Plastic Programm WWF Deutschland
GRI:   103
Management Approach
GRI:   301-1
Materials used by weight or volume
GRI:   301-2
Recycled input materials used
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