Search Report
2019 Sustainability Report
published 2020/08/01

Are there alternatives to growth?

Mankind is overburdening the planet. According to the Global Footprint Network*, humanity is currently using nature 1.75 times faster than our planet’s ecosystems can regenerate. In order to enable people to continue enjoying living on our planet, we as individuals, companies and politicians will be required to succeed in enabling a good life with less resource consumption. It will take a great deal of thought and action to achieve degrowth – for VAUDE as well.

What is degrowth?

Degrowth is a term that describes concepts that contribute to the development of our economic system with the goal of enabling a good life for all and preserving the ecological foundation for life. Degrowth advocates see the current level of economic growth as a major cause of our prevailing socio-ecological problems.

The following concepts are seen as solutions for degrowth:

  • Extending the useful life of products with recycling management.
  • Sufficiency: This refers to frugality – moderate consumer behavior in which only what is really important is consumed. The goal is to avoid exploiting the planet’s limited resources and instead, to find a responsible level of consumption that nevertheless leads to happiness and satisfaction.
  • Strengthen subsistence (self-sufficiency): the goal is a demand-oriented lifestyle with a balance between self-sufficiency and external supply (such as with DYI, shared use and repair).
  • Strengthening of the local economy.

Cooperation, thinking and acting in partnership.

Want to find out more about degrowth? Here’s a list of books on the topic (in german).

Our approach to degrowth

For VAUDE, degrowth means taking a critical look at the growth of our own company. We are working to leave as small an ecological footprint as possible with our business methods in order to conserve the earth's resources.

In our work, we see the solutions to degrowth as a valuable addition to our understanding of sustainability. ​

In 2019, the management and the sustainability team, accompanied by Andri König, PhD student for Corporate and Environmental Ethics at the Munich College for Ethics in Practice, LMU Munich, dealt with the issue of degrowth and defined where VAUDE has already implemented degrowth approaches and which approaches will be pursued in the future.


VAUDE Degrowth Approaches

We are taking a critical look at the issue of corporate growth

In principle, we want to continue to grow organically. This means that we are striving for growth along our own path and largely from our own resources. Why not simply forego growth? The main reason for this is the strong concentration processes taking place in the outdoor and sporting goods industry. Both our competitors and our major customers are becoming ever larger by means of takeovers and acquisitions. In order to remain economically independent as a family-owned business and to be able to continue to operate on an equal footing with our customers and our producers in the market, we are dependent upon continued growth – read more

We rely on recycling management and climate neutrality to conserve fossil resources

  • Green Shape, our catalog of criteria for environmentally friendly products, considers the entire product life cycle and includes strict criteria for each individual stage in order to design our products in the most resource-efficient way possible – read more
  • In our Upcycling Workshop, we use remnants from our production facility to make upcycling products – read more
  • Green material goals: We have set ourselves a goal that 90 % of all VAUDE products will have a recycled or biobased material content of more than 50 % by 2024. This is because the use of renewable raw materials or the recycling of materials conserves fossil resources and significantly reduces CO2 emissions in material production – read more
  • Our company headquarters and our Manufaktur production facility have been climate neutral since 2011. We have managed to decouple the emissions of our Manufaktur from production volume – read more
  • Science Based Targets: We have set ourselves a goal that all of our products worldwide will feature climate-neutral production to keep the ecological footprint of our growth as small as possible. We are committed to ambitious climate targets in the form of Science Based Targets (SBT). This is our measurable contribution to meeting the 1.5 degree target from the Paris Climate Change Agreement – read more

We promote consumption based on sufficiency and responsibility

  • Quality, durability, timelessness and reparability are the core elements of our product philosophy; they guide our product development and are the basis for a long product life – read more
  • Our sustainability report and the information found directly on our products provide a great deal of transparency so that you can become informed and make responsible purchasing decisions – read more
  • You can give your VAUDE product a second life by selling it at the VAUDE Second Hand Shop on eBay or by donating to our partner FairWertung – read more
  • We would like to provide motivation for conscious consumption and for using our products as long as possible. Therefore we provide information under the motto "Eternally yours" about what you can do yourself and how we provide support – read more

We support self-sufficiency and DYI

  • We offer customers the ability to have their damaged VAUDE products repaired in our Repair Workshop – read more
    • For simple repairs that you can make yourself, we offer DYI repair instructions at iFixit. You can also order all spare parts or, if required, special tools and have them mailed directly to your home – read more Need assistance with the repair? You can take advantage of our cooperation with the network of Repair Cafés or visit our own Repair Café in our factory outlet
    • You can buy VAUDE remnant materials for handicrafts and upcycling for a donation to Save the Children at the eBay Upcycling Store powered by VAUDE – read more
    • As an alternative to buying new products and the option of shared use, we offer “iRentit by VAUDE” services – read more

We rely on Made in Germany and production in Europe

Our primary sales markets are in Europe. We are a family-run company and the company headquarters with the Manufaktur production facility in Tettnang-Obereisenbach where 70 employees work demonstrates our local heritage. We are constantly checking which products can and should be produced in Germany or the EU. Why this is not an easy task is discussed here

We think and act in partnership

We see sustainability as a team sport. Only by working together with our material suppliers, producers, customers (specialist retailers) and you as consumers can we be a fully sustainable company. That's why we are focusing on cooperative, long-term and partnership-based business relationships.
  • We offer you a wealth of information on all aspects of sustainability so that you can make informed purchasing decisions in our Sustainability Report and directly on our products themselves – read more
  • We provide intensive support to our producers and material suppliers in implementing our requirements in the supply chain – read more
  • We train the sales staff in retail stores on sustainability at the VAUDE Green Shape Campus and exchange ideas with them on how we can achieve even more together – read more

We want to contribute to the development of our economy in a direction that is oriented towards the common good and that is value-based. That is why we value commitment.

  • We support initiatives such as the Textile Partnership and call for a supply chain law that reduces competitive disadvantages of sustainably operating companies – read more
  • At the VAUDE Academy we pass on our knowledge and expertise. We support companies and offer educational formats for schools and universities – read more

The Economy for the Common Good analyzes the issue of collaborative partnership in depth in its Balance Sheet. You can see how we have performed here.

We are committed to a transformation of the economic system

As we follow this path of sustainability, we have repeatedly come up against barriers in the economic system and have learned that there are aspects of the system that need to change in order to make doing business within our planet’s limits possible. One such aspect is that in today's economic system, the measurement of entrepreneurial success is purely in terms of financial indicators such as sales and profits; there is a competitive disadvantage for companies that operate in an environmentally friendly and fair manner. These companies have significantly higher costs, whereas conventionally operating companies often act at the expense of society and nature in order to cut costs. This is why in politics, associations and initiatives we are committed to an economic system oriented towards the common good, which creates fair, competitive conditions and also measures entrepreneurial success using social and ecological aspects – read more

We want our way of doing business to make a positive impact. Our goal is to continuously improve our impact on society and the environment and, as a pioneer in sustainability, to inspire others. In the VAUDE Academy for sustainable business, we support and accompany other companies in their own sustainable business activities as well as offer educational activities for schools, universities, associations and initiatives – read more

GRI:   103
Management Approach
GRI:   201‑1
Direct economic value generated and distributed
GRI:   203-2
Substantial indirect economic impacts
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