EDM Sustainable Business 2022

EDM Business editions represents the board-level conversation in multichannel retail focussing commercial growth and connection with the digital, demanding consumer.

EDM Business editions represents the board-level conversation in multichannel retail focussing commercial growth and connection with the digital, demanding consumer.


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Issue 1, 2022









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© 2022 W. L. Gore & Associates GmbH. GORE-TEX, GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY, GORE and designs are trademarks of W. L. Gore & Associates



we f****d up.

The sad truth: humanity is not invincible, but

vulnerable beyond all measure. According to the

activist group Avaaz, we have roughly eight years

left to lower our CO 2 emissions by 50 percent, stop

species extinction and prevent complete ecological


EDM Publications sees it as its mission to provide

its readers with the best possible information and

tools they need to become part of the change in

the 2020s. This Sustainable Business Special is a

first step, even if we can only scratch the surface

of an extremely complex topic that ranges from

diversity, labor and social aspects to CO 2 reduction,

circular economy and logistics, the decoupling of

growth and resources, and the general change in

consumption and the associated mindset, leading to

the essential question: “How do we want to live?”

In this special issue, we give a forum to people who

are experts in their field, but also to those who took

the threat seriously and took action at a very early

stage, long before “sustainability” and “business with

purpose” were on everyone’s lips and in corporate

press rooms.

Today, Gen-Z consumers expect no-bullshit

marketing from companies - and brands are

responding. A new “honest, not perfect” attitude

is emerging among communications teams,

addressing the fact that failure is part of the process.

The Dutch eyewear brand Ace & Tate even dared to

title its blog post about the company’s sustainability

efforts with a brutal “look, we f****d up” and address

the mistakes made along the way. We will need this

radical transparency and honesty in the decades to

come as we will all make mistakes as we try our best.

Not only do we share one planet, we share

responsibility. In our case, this means the

responsibility to observe, assess and inform. With

this first Sustainable Business Special, we hope to

make a small contribution to the considerations and

actions to be taken by you, the decision makers.

Your EDM publishing team.


1 Editorial3

2 The Elephant in the Executive Suite4

3 Sustainability Reporting7

4 NXT Sustainable Consumer Report8

5 Greenwashing and EU Legislation14

6 ReGenerative Agriculture 16

7 The IdeaList20

8 EDM State of Industry Survey 22

9 Leading the Pack 26

10 Circular Economy 32

11 Go Ahead and Greenwash!34

12 Notable Ingredients 38



Have you done the math?






Growth –

the elephant

in the

executive suite

We need new business

models that are not

predicated on selling

more stuff to more


World Resources Institute

Because of the global context of our “here

and now,” there is truly not much more to

say. I might finish with nothing more than

the above quote. After all, it states a truth as

factual as the universe’s expansion.

Except: those “new business models” are not

our reality. Far from it: They’re not even considered

a possibility by companies – not by

CEOs, the executive suite, company owners and

neither by a board of directors, who are – for

stock-listed companies – in charge of hiring

exactly those CEOs that are supposed to lead

the charge.

I cannot conceive of a

successful economy

without growth.

Walter Heller (1915 – 1987), former

Chairman of the U.S. President’s Council

of Economic Advisers (1961 – 1964)

Instead of in-depth discussions about new business

models, suitable and functional within the

physical limitations of our planetary resources,

what we hear and read in business newspapers,

in academic papers and policy proposals, are

the following terms (akin to a buzzword bingo)

that are all under the umbrella of the term “Environmental,

social and corporate governance”

(ESG): Green Growth; Inclusive Growth; and

Sustainable Growth,” the latter being a fuzzy

catch-it-all, sometimes also quoted as “repeatable

growth,” “ethical growth,” or “responsible

growth.” Each of which, of course, has its own

meaning yet again.

All of this to pretend that physical limitations

of any kind are a mere imagination of a mind

not suitably familiarized with the liberal market

economic principles we have grown to believe

in since our very first breaths.

The elephant:

so big it fills the room

Or would it be more accurate to say, “an elephant

so omnipresent it is invisible?” After all,

it has always been there, and presumably, will

remain there always. The above-mentioned

buzzword bingo is a mere side effect of the

fact that virtually every single company keeps

advocating for producing and selling more

units of X. Forecasts continue to add Y percent

every year to the profit expectations of the year

before. In short: A sort of Ponzi Scheme.

Despite numerous studies showing that we are

approaching planetary boundaries fast (of climate

critical dimensions as much as of physical

resources), at best, each unit of X is created/produced

in a somewhat less resource-intensive

manner. A fact that normally is – again: at best

– offset by the percentage increase of units of X

being produced and expected to be sold. Needless

to say: the cumulative impact of all units X

produced and sold (and then trashed) is still on

a rather steep rising trajectory. How else could it

be in what we deem a “prosperous economy”?

Our reality mostly ignores the following key

question – hoping that someone, somewhere,


mainly in the so-called developed economies.

This, though, holds not equally true for everyone.

Rather, this “luck” has come at the expense of

the well-being of many global citizens, by far

not only in developing economies, as well as the

planetary ecosystem. Growth as we know it is a

thing of the past. You may not have realized it

or may simply choose to close your eyes to the

blatantly evident facts of science.

will find the golden key to its answer: Have you

and your business done the math (and applied

it to your business)?

• Have you looked openly and honestly at your

dependency on natural resources and the

associated limits on business growth as you

define it today?

• Have you calculated your return on stakeholder

investment (RSI) to see if you truly

benefit the global society or whether you - in

reality - freeride on other people, the planet,

governments, taxpayers and communities?

Ironically, to come up with at least a reasonably

appropriate and precise result for the above calculations,

well enough publicly and privately collected

stats and numbers exist... It is just about

getting the calculator out of the drawer.

And: The role

of the (executive) board?

Growth as we know it certainly has created prosperity,

quality of life and, to an extent, happiness.

But only for the lucky ones in our global society,

It does not require

more than a simple

act of insight to realize

that infinite growth of

material consumption

in a finite world is an


E.F. Schumacher (1911 – 1977), in: “Small

is Beautiful” (1973, p.129)

When it comes to ensuring the long-term success

of a business, the board of directors is the

one who should hold the scepter and lead the

charge. Hence hire a CEO capable of tackling

this elephant. And spearheading the take up of

relevant KPIs (the math) will lead the organizations

in the right direction of travel.

And yet, hardly any board members have dared

to address this elephant in the room. For one

simple reason: it goes against the grain of the

currently accepted paradigm that is considered

“necessarily correct.” A paradigm that says:

without growth, no prosperity, no quality of life,

no happiness.

But: What does growth exactly mean? Or,

more sloppily: Are we not just lacking sufficient

imagination and innovation spirit to accept

that there may indeed be a totally different

approach, where growth as we know it is irrelevant?

The traditional growth paradigm must be

challenged not only because it is outdated but

because it is fundamentally flawed as a paradigm

(see, e.g., here, here, and here).








© Federica Fortunat / iStock






An updated paradigm has at its core a minimum

of two (mathematical and therefore calculable)


• De-coupled dependence from natural resources

and associated limits: This would mean

that availability and constraints related to the

scaling of the business are independent of any

resources available in finite supply.

• Overall positive Return on Stakeholder Investment:

the business is actually creating value

for the global stakeholder collective. Here, the

stakeholder collective would include shareholders

but also extend to communities, employees,

local and national governments, the ecosystem,


Any business model that is performing under

the above calculations is a business model that

can, at least in principle, be considered a viable

business in the long term.

Additional questions worth asking

your organization:

• How exactly are you truly adding value, rather

than just “stuff,” to the world?

• If you still are making “stuff:” Is there a genuine,

fundamental need for your product X?

• Does product X, as well as its production,

use any resources that are single-use and/or

finite, notably in its manufacturing? What is

your fade-out/replacement plan and deadline?

• How do you measure your impact (the one

of your organization and all the operations

and processes on which it relies) on the

well-being of the communities in which you

operate? Are you overall giving back more to

society than you’re taking out?

Examples: What about quality of life and

“happiness” in the communities? Is there an

absence of blatant inequality of rights, power

and wealth among members in the communities

you work with and in?

© Thomas Wagner

About the author

Pamela Ravasio is the founder and managing director

of Shirahime Advisory. She specializes in corporate

governance and responsibility (CR), strongly linked to

innovation processes and digitalization. She is an expert

advisor to senior leaders and boards of directors in the

SME space.


Sustainability Reporting

New standards

on the horizon

In April 2021, the European Commission issued

its proposed changes to sustainability reporting

in the EU. The new paper’s name that will

replace the current Non-Financial Disclosure

Directive (NFD) is the Corporate Sustainability

Reporting Directive (CSRD). Except for micro-entities,

the new CSRD sets out the nonfinancial

information that companies should

report in far greater detail. The CSRD’s purpose

is to make Sustainability Reporting Data as

reliable, verified and comparable as P&L data.

Depending on the EU’s decision and approval

speed, companies may have to start reporting

to the new sustainability reporting standards as

early as 2024, using the information from the

2023 financial year.

The new law affects companies to which at

least two of these three points apply:

1. €40 million in net turnover

2. €20 million in assets

3. 250 or more employees

An additional criterium is whether or not the

company is stock-listed. The requirement currently

affects those companies listed on regulated

stock exchanges but may include companies

listed on a Multilateral Trading Facility

(MTF) such as, e.g., Nasdaq First North.

What’s the principal difference

between NFD and CSRD:

NFD focused on risk and was largely qualitative,

with few companies taking a quantitative

approach to risk reporting. This is going to

change with CSRD.

The CSRD will require company sustainability

data to be submitted in a standardized digital

format to allow for easier checking and comparison

in the European single access point

database. This is meant to provide a clear

format for company sustainability reporting allowing

for better understandability of the data

and easier comparison between companies.

The submitted data will then be subject to

“limited third-party assurance,” meaning that

an auditor will need to review and evaluate the

accuracy of the data.

More reading:

• Summary overview: https://normative.io/insight/csrd-explained/

• CSRD explained by the European

Commission: https://



• The EU Commissions FAQ:




NXT Sustainable Consumer Report 2022






Engaging with

the sustainable


A journey without

an end goal

The latest NXT Sustainable Consumer

Report 2022, conducted by Swedish

market analyst Fredrik Ekström from

Above the Clouds, aims to cut through the

fog of uncertainty around sustainability and

reveal a journey we’re on, as consumers and

brands. In his contribution to the EDM Sustainable

Business Special, he explains the

increasing social status that is attached to

sustainable behavior in certain peer groups

and the necessary conclusions.

To successfully transform a brand from linear

to circular and into having a sustainable

mindset, we must rethink our approach to

products, storytelling, cultural status and

consumers. Sustainability transformations

often seem simple, logical and

inevitable when presented

and cited in the press. But few

transformative attempts are

straightforward, and in the

uncommon event that they do

succeed as planned, they usually

take years to yield significant

results. During the process,

it is crucial to engage the

consumers to keep them from

migrating to other brands that

have a more compelling story

or yield higher cultural status.

A successful sustainability

brand transformation does

not happen with a single campaign.

There are no shortcuts.

There is only a roadmap of

strategic, creative, and operational

decisions that, if executed consistently,

puts a brand on the path to sustainability,

cultural status, consumer excitement and

business success.

Different shades of green –

Sustainability Zombies, Eco

Swingers and Anxious Doers

Sustainability as a trusted one-size-fits-all

solution, where the word has universal meaning

and is decoded in the same way regardless

of the consumer, has long been co-opted.

The latest NXT Consumer Sustainability

survey tells a different story. For the Swedish

consumer, the meaning of sustainability is becoming

more detailed: A fact that also affects

their relationships with brands and communications.

To get a better understanding of why and

how consumers do (or do not) incorporate

sustainability issues into their consumption

pattern, what influences them and what

messaging triggers, Above the Clouds has

created the “Sustainable Consumer Readiness

Curve.” This is a tool that Above The Clouds

uses to divide the Swedish audience into

different consumer types depending on how

ready they are to adopt a sustainable lifestyle.

It is also estimating their share: Sustainability

©sveta - stock.adobe.com


Zombies (7%), Spectators (13%), Eco-Swingers

(37%), Anxious Activists (36%) and Dedicated

Pioneers (7%). The consultants found a

shift towards making more environmentally

friendly, sustainable or ethical purchases

in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis and saw a

green leap in consumer behavior.

This green movement means that eight out of

ten consumers describe themselves as someone

for whom sustainability is part of their

self-image and who provides positive impetus

for sustainability initiatives in various ways.

Sustainability and Status Anxiety

However, during the crisis, consumers have

faced an overload of sustainability interest

and communication from brands, creating a

world where the meaning of the word “sustainability”

has been co-opted, and greenwashing

brands still operate unchecked. In

short, the term sustainability has lost a bit of

its glory purpose while the consumer feels

anxious. And this anxiety is not just about the

well-being of the planet. The increased social

interest in the topic creates a new form of

cultural sustainability status symbols where

knowledge about the environment gives

higher status and impresses peers. Making

the wrong choices creates a risk of losing

cultural status and creates a form of “sustainability

status anxiety,” especially among Gen-Z

and the dedicated consumer profiles.

The word “status” affects people, it makes us













feel a little embarrassed and usually nothing

we want to talk about. At the same time, one

cannot help but be fascinated by the power

behind it. So what is it about status when

eight out of ten Swedish consumers describe

themselves as associating their self-image

with sustainability? And why is that so important

for brands?

There is a careless, casual use of the word

“status” where expensive items are usually

the way to obtain the same, and consequently

status would only be about surface and

financial success. But nothing could be more

wrong, especially with Gen-Z, where 80 percent

say they are impressed by a person who

teaches them something new and exciting

about sustainability, and 20 percent are physically

attracted to a person living a seemingly

sustainable and healthy life.

The desire to learn more about sustainability

is turning knowledge about sustainability into

a new cultural status symbol. But with these

new patterns and the rapid transformation

of sustainability in society also comes a new

insecurity. Seven out of ten Gen-Z consumers

believe their friends will look down on them

negatively if they don’t make environmentally

conscious choices regarding their consumption,

while nearly nine out of ten Gen-Z

believe their environmental decisions won’t

have a major impact - neither for the better

nor for the worse.

The paradox of being impressed

with knowledge while

feeling like you have no control

over your actions can be

devastating for consumers,

and probably never before

have brands had so much opportunity

and responsibility to

act as sustainability role models

to alleviate this anxiety.

The fear of making the wrong choices, combined

with the feeling of being impressed and

attracted to those with sustainability knowledge,

can create a worry so destructive that

we find ourselves at risk of not living up to the

ideals of success set by our peers and society,

and potentially losing our status as a result. This

can ultimately be both a driver and a barrier for

consumers to transition to a more sustainable


Consumers will ultimately demand more than

just information about the environmental

benefits of products and brands in order to shift

to a sustainable lifestyle. They also need help

building their self-image with values, results and

stories as they make their sustainable transformation.

They want bragging rights and proof

that they are doing the right thing and not

being judged by their peers.

What to expect in The NXT Sustainable Consumer Report 2022:

1. Insights: The sustainable consumer readiness curve

2. Drivers: Sustainability, status and anxiety

3. Future: Gen-Z, the eco-sexual generation?

4. Future: Brand activism is here to stay

5. Opportunities: My sustainability dream brand

6. Opportunities: Deep dive, three consumer profiles


© Pop Zebra/Unsplash

The NXT Sustainable

Consumer Report 2022

The report is based on quantitative and qualitative

research from Above The Clouds’ Future

Series about the NXT Sustainable Consumer in

Sweden. It provides tools to thrive in a time of

transition, outlining areas where the consumers’

hearts and anxieties are right now, strategies

for success, three consumer profiles you

need to be talking to, and how to speak with


Above The Clouds guides you through this shifting

landscape by providing expert consumer

insight and actionable advice as a change forecaster.

With the report, you will find tools and

insights to power up your 2022 brand strategies

through sustainability and eco-decisions.

Facts about the report:

Step 1: 2020 - Qualitative Research, desktop

and expert interviews. Published in Scandinavian

MIND – The New Sustainable Consumer

and her search for truth.

Step 2: 2021 - Quantitative Research

1,064 respondents, representing the general

population in Sweden. Data gathering via

web-panel, Oct. 25 - Nov. 2, 2021.

Head of insights: Fredrik Ekström, founder of

Above The Clouds, www.abovetheclouds.se

About the author

Fredrik Ekström is a Senior Business Advisor and

brand communication consultant with over 17 years of

experience working with brand activations, insights and

development. He specializes in sustainable lifestyle brands

and transforming research and insights into creative actions

that breathe new life into brand purpose and craft brands

that stand for something, engage people and ultimately

stand out from the competition.




Gore’s new ePE Membrane:

Part of the solution

The clothing industry has been waiting for

a PFC-free membrane from market leader

W. L. Gore & Associates. Now the time has

come: The first ePE products will be launched

as early as next fall with selected brand

partners. What exactly is the new membrane

made of and what are its advantages? We

asked Ross MacLaine, Sustainability Leader

Fabrics Division at W. L. Gore & Associates.

Gore is just launching a product the industry

has been waiting for. A PFC-free, more sustainable

membrane. What kind of membrane is


Ross MacLaine: Maybe we should first take a step

back and look at what we’ve been looking for and

what a new Gore material has to be able to do: It

has to be thin, lightweight, highly breathable, and

it also has to reduce our carbon footprint. And

with all the requirements, it was always extremely

important for us that it was durable. We want to

make products that are durable. That way, we can

make sure that the footprint of our products can

be spread over a long lifetime.

Finding and developing a material like that doesn’t

happen overnight. We had to look at many, many

materials until we found something that worked.

And over time, our enthusiasm for polyethylene

grew. It’s not a new material per se; polyethylene

membranes have been around for a while for various

applications. With our 40 years of know-how in

processing PTFE, we were scientifically and technically

able to process the material in a way that

no one had done before. So we tried to figure out

how to expand PE to get the microporous structure.

Combined with polyurethane, you get a durable,

waterproof, windproof, breathable material.

To what extent are the ePE membrane and its

processes more sustainable?

Sustainability is something that is difficult to define

and is interpreted differently by many people.

What is important for our understanding is that if

we were not able to maintain durability, the new

membrane would have been a step in the wrong

direction. Durability is a key point for our understanding

of sustainability because being able to

use a product for a long time is the most sustainable

thing you can do.

Our membrane is PFCfree,

and the DWR on the

textile surfaces is also PFCfree.

With this product,

we are driving our goals

to eliminate PFCs of environmental

concern from

our products. So the product

is durable, PFC-free in

terms of our specifications

for PFCs of environmental

concern, and we are improving

our carbon footprint. Those are three very

significant improvements in terms of sustainability

that we’re achieving. Talking about the laminate,

our products are bluesign approved, Standard 100

by Oeko-Tex certified, we use recycled materials

in the laminate’s textile components and solution-dyed

textiles, which saves water, chemicals

and reduces carbon emissions.

Gore wanted to launch the first PFC-free product

in 2023 - you’ve actually done it a little earlier!

Yes, this product will be launched this fall, so

around September, consumers will be able to buy

the first products with this membrane in stores.

Initially, only at a few selected brand partners in

the outdoor and lifestyle apparel, footwear and

snowsports gloves categories. After that, the further

roll-out will take place.

Are there also functional improvements with

the new polyethylene material?

Oh yes, for example, it has an excellent strengthto-weight

ratio, which means we can make our

products even thinner and lighter. But we also

need less material, which is positive in terms of our

resource efficiency and reduces our carbon footprint.

Will the new membrane be available for other

applications in the future?

I hope so. We have started with one membrane

now, albeit for different categories like gloves, footwear

and apparel and therefore with small differences.

But our R&D team is, of course, continuing

to work, and new possibilities will come out of that.

There will certainly be more products for specific

applications in the future.


Gore is known for its strict quality standards.

Does the new membrane fulfill the “Guarantee

to keep you dry”?

Absolutely. This promise is an essential criterion for

any product. When consumers see our new product

in the store, they can absolutely trust it.

How should one imagine the discovery process,

how did you develop the new material?

The fundamental challenge is to deliver the performance

that the end consumer and the industry

expect: durable, long-lasting products that perform

really well. That’s what Gore-Tex stands for in

the apparel industry. How do you develop a new

material? By investing years of hard work. Evaluating

different materials, studying their properties,

checking findings, conducting field tests, we did

all that, discarded it again and again, and started

all over again. The field tests, in particular, were

important to us, because it is imperative that our

products really work. We spent months and years

testing these materials in garments before we put

them on the market. And we are very satisfied.

What has the switch to the new material meant

for your processes?

That depends on which production step you’re

looking at. The production of the laminate was

more or less simple and hardly different from

our previous products. It was more difficult to

adapt and control the expanding processes of the

new material because all the properties, such as

breathability, durability, weight, etc., depend on it.

Ultimately, it was an evolutionary process and the

further development of our very own expertise,

just with a new material. The good thing is that we

produce all our laminates in-house; we don’t outsource

this process. This helped us a lot in developing

the new product because we could control

and adjust all the steps ourselves.

How much did the development cost?

I can’t give a number, but it would be a big number.

We worked on it for many years and many

people were involved.

Where did the development take place?

We are a global company, so the development

involved our facilities on the East Coast of the U.S.

and in Germany, and later our facilities in Shenzhen,

China, to scale up production. It was a very

global effort that we made here.

Once again, on the subject of PFC-free: Gore

uses the term PFCs of environmental concern.

What exactly does this mean?

The subject of PFCs is very complex, so it is often

very simplified. The class of PFCs includes more

than 5,000 substances, which in turn have an

enormous range of properties. This ranges from

volatile substances, which have justifiably come

under criticism in recent years and are now eliminated

in the supply chain, to PTFE, a very large,

stable molecule. In 2017, we defined our goals to

eliminate those substances that we call PFCs of

environmental concern. So, we are eliminating a

certain class of PFCs that we find of environmental

concern. With this in mind, we are introducing a

PFC-free product.

What is the goal: Is the new membrane to replace

PTFE one day?

We will be expanding the use of this new membrane

as quickly as we can and our plan is to expand

it very broadly. In principle, however, further

development depends on how the new membrane

is accepted. At the same time, of course, we

are also continuing to develop our existing technologies

and improve them year by year.

What other sustainability plans does Gore have

with the PTFE membrane?

We have also made great progress with our other

products in recent years. Often these have been

improvements that may not have as much media

impact as ePE, such as reducing the carbon footprint

of our textiles or improving our energy efficiency.

The textile accounts for the largest share

of a laminate’s carbon footprint. So we continue

working with recycled materials and with solution-dyed

materials. ePE doesn’t solve all the problems,

but it is part of the solution.

Last question, on price: Will the new membrane

make the products more expensive?

That is up to our partners; the retail price depends

on many different factors. We cannot influence

this. But I assume that the consumer will not notice

a significant price increase.



Greenwashing and the EU Legislation







EU on the

hunt for green


Greenwashing, meaning advertising environmental

initiatives without actually

implementing sustainable business practices,

is more than common, misleading consumers

with promising advertisements or claims

about a product’s true benefits. According to a

Deloitte survey of U.K. customers, 34 percent of

consumers do not choose sustainable products

because they perceive a lack of information that

makes them suspicious of anything declared


The thicket of labels and markings does its

part to further confuse them. According to the

European Commission, there are more than

200 eco-labels active in the EU and more than

450 in use worldwide. And there are more than

80 widely used reporting initiatives and methodologies

just for carbon emissions. Despite

this plethora of labels, there is a general sense

of disinformation. The oversaturation of declarations

seems to open the door to greenwashing.

To tackle this issue, the European Green Deal

published in 2019 stated, “Companies making

‘green claims’ should substantiate these against

a standard methodology to assess their impact

on the environment.”

A year later,

the 2020 Circular

Economy action

plan committed

that “the Commission

will also

propose that companies


their environmental

claims using Product

and Organization


Footprint methods.”

This initiative has

close links to other

Different types of greenwashing are

commonly in practice in our industry:

1. Selective communication: Advertising positive

information about a product’s environmental

performance while negative information

is concealed. But: Along the supply

chain, there are many points to consider

– such as product lifecycle, sourcing, manufacturing,

etc. The sum of these points adds

up to the actual sustainability of the product

– not individual elements.

2. Symbolic actions: These are claims that

draw attention to minor problems without

accompanying meaningful action: a company

may well install a company kindergarden

at its headquarters (and use this fact

for PR) and, at the same time, ignore child

labor in the supply chain.

policies announced in the Circular Economy

action plan:

• the revision of EU consumer law to empower

consumers for active participation in the

green transition

• a sustainable product policy initiative

• the farm to fork strategy

All of these are worked out to reach the policy

objective of EU climate neutrality by 2050. By

early 2022, the EU will issue a final antigreenwashing

initiative, accompanying the EU

Taxonomy law as a systemic policy framework

to channel the capital flow towards sustainable


The Taxonomy law aims for no less than the

Union-wide harmonization of the criteria to

determine whether an economic activity qualifies

as environmentally sustainable. The timing

is said to be ambitious, regarding the sheer

complexity of the process. Market analysts at

Bloomberg don’t see the greenwashing regulation

coming before the end of 2022. However,

many already consider the EU Taxonomy Act

(initially set out to be the standard for sustainable

investment) to be a greenwashing project

itself – at the latest since the decision was made

to classify nuclear power and gas as sustainable

energy sources.

In any case, it is expected that the upcoming

EU initiative will mandate that companies back

up their claims about the environmental footprint

of their products or services with standard

quantification methods so that consumers can

compare products and

services and verify the

claims. Part of this is a

complex reporting system

that requires data

from the entire supply

chain - which could

be one of the reasons

blockchain technology

becomes important to

ensure transparency

across the entire product

journey. To ensure

transparent information

about the composition

of goods on the

European market, the

European Commission is also planning a “digital

product passport.”

For larger companies, climate-related KPIs

should be the basis of sustainability reports.

Smaller companies under 250 employees may

“voluntarily decide” to publish such information.

The post-Brexit U.K. has already implemented

its own Environment Act for England, Wales

and Northern Ireland that came into effect on

November 17, 2021, to ensure greater resilience,

traceability and sustainability, particularly in

supply chains.

The U.K. and the EU follow different approaches

to combating “greenwashing” claims for products

and services. The EU initiative is complex

and detailed, while the UK approach is less

standardized and not supported by technical

resources or mandatory methods for companies.

In pre-Brexit times, the EU had fixed the future

path in its “Regulation on the establishment of a

framework to facilitate sustainable investment,

and amending regulation.” The paper says that,

for each environmental objective, uniform criteria

for determining whether economic activities

contribute substantially to that objective should

be laid down. One element of the uniform

criteria should be to avoid significant degradation

of any of the established environmental

objectives to prevent “that investments qualify

as environmentally sustainable in cases where

the economic activities benefitting from those

investments cause harm to the environment to

the extent that outweighs their contribution to

an environmental objective.”

The assessment should consider several aspects:

the lifecycle of the products and services

provided; the environmental impacts of the

economic activity itself (including consideration

of findings from existing lifecycle assessments),

taking into account the impacts of production;

use; and end-of-life. Economic activities should

only be considered environmentally sustainable

if they are conducted in accordance with the

OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

and UN Guiding Principles on Business and

Human Rights, including the Declaration on

Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work of

the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the

eight fundamental conventions of the ILO and

the International Bill of Human Rights. The ILO’s

fundamental conventions set out the human

and labor rights that companies must respect.

Business experts believe the new rules will

closely follow the framework developed by the

German financial regulator BaFin to prevent

investment funds from declaring investments as

environmentally friendly when they are actually

not. The German supervisory authority’s planned

rules set a minimum threshold of 75 percent

for investments that contribute to achieving

ESG targets. Germany is thus taking a stricter

approach than other countries that use scoring

systems or qualitative requirements.

Clearly, the EU has several songs to sing at once

- definitely more than individual companies

that have a power of self-correction. In recent

years, many business alliances have been forged

to take a more effective and clearer approach

against greenwashing, setting strict and non-negotiable

benchmarks for products: for example,

Swedish fintech company Klarna has just

entered into a new collaboration with fashion

sustainability rating platform Good On You to

help customers make more informed decisions

about the environmental impact of the products

they buy. Good On You rates products based

on a scoring system with more than 500 data


This external assessment means that greenwashing

platitudes have little chance of getting

through to consumers. Voluntary rather than

legislative measures could therefore be the more

effective and faster way to curb greenwashing.








ReGenerative Agriculture






Could this be a

way for clothing

to exchange its

bad reputation

for a force for


At the end of 2021, COP26 centered around

the climate crisis that has brought global

temperature rising to center stage and

how there is a need to take carbon out of the

atmosphere. This year, COP15 needs to have as

much attention as it focuses on restoring global

biodiversity. The European Outdoor Conservation

Association (EOCA) team came up with a

good explanation when they described the urgency

of both topics as an overflowing bathtub

– you should both turn off the taps plus pull out

the plug to tackle the problem.

Textiles have gained a (false) reputation as the

second most polluting industry in the world

(apparel is bad, but not that bad). Whatever the

numbers, it is common knowledge that there is

room for improvement not just for man-made,

but in natural materials as well, like cotton. In

this ongoing discussion, one of the incoming

buzzwords involves ReGenerative Agriculture –

but what is it?

ReGenerative Agriculture (ReGenAg) is the new

way of growing cotton and other crops, but it is

just the practice used a century ago. The method

is based on four main principles around soil

health, irrigation, carbon sequestration and restoring

biodiversity. ReGenAg practice could be

used immediately; unlike qualification for Global

Organic Textile Standards (GOTS), which takes

three years to swap over from regular farming,

a ReGenAg tag can be valid after just a year of

better husbandry of the soils.

The North Face was the first to use ReGenAg

materials when they introduced their Cali wool

beanie four years ago. Last year, Timberland (also

a VF Corp. brand like TNF) introduced its Earthkeeper

range of footwear using ReGenAg leather.

The latter is worthy of more attention because

cows are seen as almost evil in this world – they

provide a meat diet, they graze inefficiently on

pastureland, and rainforests are cleared to grow

their winter food-stock of soybeans. There has

been a verified study, audited by Quantis, on the

White Oaks Pasture farm in the U.S. that has revealed

that rather than the usual 33 factor (kgs of

CO2 produced per 1 kg of meat) – ReGenAg beef

farming absorbs 3 ½ kg of carbon into the soil

more than is emitted. It follows that sheep get

an endorsement, too, for their wool. Arable crops

are even better.

Clever herding pays off to more

carbon being stored

The key aspect is the change of agricultural

practice. Everything is focused on the roots of

the crop (or the grass for livestock). The science

bit is the other side of photosynthesis: we all

know that plants take in carbon dioxide and

return oxygen, that carbon is sequestered as the

foliage or roots of the plant. Hence, the longer

the roots, the more carbon is stored. The more

growth above the ground, the longer the roots

– so the trick is to move the animals onto fresh

pasture before they eat the plant down to soil

level. Extra herding equals more labor, but these

additional costs break even (reduction in fertilizer,

pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals)

after four years. For arable crops like cotton, the

route is following regular organic cultivation. To

use the ReGenAg label, there needs to be an

improvement in soil health shown year-to-year;

applied correctly, the endorsement can happen

after 12 months of the change of technique.

Soil health (microbes) is vital for a healthy planet.

A good root network will absorb and thus feed

the plant with moisture for 30 times longer than

rain falling on worn-out soil. The rainwater will

also take up to 100 days to reach the river’s flow,

rather than the three days it takes to reach it

during a flood. Both factors also reduce wind

and water erosion – currently recorded as up to 5

cm each year.


Restoring biodiversity also means creating a

habitat for arable crop predators so that natural

control can take place, in line with the EU Green

Deal recommendations. There are many examples

of how local networks reward the small

farmers, as opposed to money going only to

super farms; whereas sequestration (converted

to the wool in a jacket) is equivalent to 100 kg of

carbon stored in the ground. For manufacturers,

this means that for every 10 product units, one

ton is saved from the company’s total carbon


It is common knowledge

that there is room for

improvement not just for

man-made, but in natural

materials as well.

As in so many other areas of the apparel industry,

there are several different standards used by

the brands. Patagonia has opted for the Rodale

Institute, TNF uses Indigo, while Timberland

follows the Savory Institute guidelines. The latter

audit is also the one chosen by HDWool, as it is

the only third-party certified system – based on

the yearly Ecological Outcome Verification of the

farms. With the rise in direct B2C communication

channels, it is expected that end consumers

will opt for carbon-balanced (or even negative)

fabrics to facilitate their concern for the environment.

Some industry stakeholders see regenerative

agriculture as the answer to many (if not all)

problems. To quote Rose Marcario when she was

Patagonia’s CEO: “Agriculture really represents

the best chance that we have of mitigating and

ending the climate crisis. The science is saying

that if we converted all industrialized agriculture

to regenerative organic practices, we could

sequester all the world’s carbon”.






About the author

Charles Ross is a textile specialist based at the Royal

College of Art in London; he has taught Performance

Sportswear Design to the next generation of Outdoor

Industry designers for over two decades. His mantra is

“Sustainability through Longevity.”




I’ll take the Performance Fabrics -

hold the PFAS

Polartec’s announcement to use only non-PFAS finishes across its

entire fabric range actually began as a three-decade-long exploration

in EcoEngineering

Polartec recently announced the removal

of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl

substances) in its DWR (durable water

repellent) treatments across its line of

performance fabrics. By itself, this may not

seem especially surprising, or new, as in recent

years, the Outdoor Industry has increasingly

moved away from PFAS. However, what makes

this announcement particularly interesting

is twofold. First, it now includes the weather

protection category of fabrics whose performance

requirements have made converting to non-PFAS

chemicals particularly challenging. This new non-

PFAS treatment offers zero loss of durability or

water repellency. Second, it’s the latest milestone

of a journey that began long before DWR even

entered our acronym vocabulary.

solutions to all facets of the manufacturing

process. And all with their own performance

expectations. However, a starting point was

needed, and fleece was it. After the required

trials and errors, the right non-PFAS recipe was

discovered that could also deliver a similar level

of performance as the former treatment. With

this, “lossless performance” became our objective

and the standard on which all conversions were


This latest achievement not only converts the

entire range of Polartec fabrics to non-PFAS

DWR, it does so across its most uncompromising

platform of weather protection fabrics: Polartec ®

Hardface ® , Polartec ® Power Shield ® , Polartec ®

Power Shield ® Pro, Polartec ® NeoShell ® and

Polartec ® Windbloc ® .

“Trial results have

exceeded even our expectations.

There is no

loss of performance from

a water repellency or

durability standpoint.”

Mike Rose, Polartec VP of Product Development

First, the PFAS: In 2017, Polartec introduced the

first fabric styles (fleece) using a non-PFAS DWR

treatment. It wasn’t talked about much, or if it was,

probably referred to as PFC-free (Perfluorinated

Compounds only describe a small percentage of

impacted chemicals- thus the current move to

labeling these chemicals as PFAS). This modest

first step was made out of pure necessity. As

a maker of over 500 individual fabric styles,

committing to removing “PFAS from DWR” is

easier said than done. Baselayers, midlayers,

sweater weights, outerwear, and of course,

fleece all require their own unique and specific

While backcountry skiers might loudly holler their

approval, fabric engineers are a little bit more

reserved. Make no mistake, this is like shouting

from the mountaintop. And only half of the story.

For over 30 years, Polartec has created premium,

innovative, and sustainable fabric technologies.

It’s an unrivaled record of continuous innovation

that has led to category-creating textiles to keep

people warm, dry, cool, and safe. By engineering

thermoregulation through textile construction,

these benefits can be viscerally experienced by

wearing garments made from Polartec fabrics,

i.e., wearing is believing. However, over this same


time period, there’s been another force driving

innovation whose benefits are not as easily

noticed, but equally tangible and important:

EcoEngineering .

While Polartec’s predecessor, Malden Mills,

had been knitting fabrics since before the First

World War, the sustainability “a-ha! moment”

came in 1993 with the discovery of how to knit a

performance fabric from yarn derived from postconsumer

recycled (PCR) bottles.

At the time, this too was seen as more of a

curiosity than a tectonic shift in polyester

production. Its high cost and limited

design options made customer

adoption scarce. Of course, one of

the first to embrace this new

technology was Patagonia,

which was unafraid of the

fact that soda bottle green

was the only color available.

Since that day, Polartec

continually expanded what

fabrics could be knit and

what kind of performance

could be achieved from this

new type of fiber. To date,

Polartec has upcycled 1.7

billion bottles into performance

textiles, and now offers over 200+

fabrics made from at least 50% PCR content,

and 50+ fabrics made from 100% PCR content.

Every year, the numbers increase as the line

between sustainability and performance

becomes smaller.

Recycled inputs are just one of the foundational

pillars to EcoEngineering. Over time, Polartec has

adopted a more holistic approach to creating

more sustainable products. Today, this includes

smarter chemistry (like non-PFAS DWR), greater

durability (perhaps the best solution to greater

sustainability), natural performance (naturebased

and bio-based solutions), and recycled

materials (PCR content).

Of course, truly sustainable products require a

more responsible manufacturing/production

process. Every year, Polartec finds new ways to

reduce the consumption of energy, water, and

CO2 emissions in its manufacturing plants. And

whenever possible, it strives to exceed industry

standards through rigorous and transparent

OEKO-TEX ® , bluesign ® , Higg Index and GRS


Polartec’s dedication to environmentally

sustainable products and manufacturing

continues to push the market forward. From

innovating non-PFAS DWR treatments to

the first performance fabric built to reduce

microfiber shedding (Polartec ® Power Air ® ),

from achieving products that complement

the circularity ambitions of brand partners

to leading the way in recycled content,

sustainable science has become the

innovative force behind Polartec.

“Achieving non-PFAS

treatments within

our product line is an

important milestone

in our commitment to

innovate sustainablymade

performance fabrics.

It’s the latest step on our

journey to an even more

sustainable Polartec.”

Steve Layton, Polartec President

A future made possible through the process of

EcoEngineering and the science of fabric.



The IdeaList






Committed, convinced and confident:

people we call idealists, whose

achievements - small and large - stand

out for a more sustainable world. They have

inspired others, founded movements or

protected regions. Some of them have been

seen and heard, others less so. But all of

these idealists have proven themselves to be

crusaders for sustainability and are thus part

of our list, the “IdeaList.”

The trailblazer: Yvon Chouinard

Yvon Chouinard’s career as a founder of Chouinard

Equipment, Black Diamond and Patagonia

is common knowledge.

Over his time in the

business, Patagonia has

donated more than $105

million to environmental

causes. It has topped

the list among apparel

brands with the best

reputation on the Axios

Harris Poll rankings.

Chouinard has steered

Patagonia to the purpose-driven


it is today by being a

very early inventor of disruptive marketing (like

urging consumers on Black Friday, 2011, to “Don’t

buy this jacket,” trying to trigger a reflection process

that encourages thoughtful consumption.

After decades of his company blazing the trail

and driving many things forward, he says: “There

is no such thing as sustainability. The best we

can do is cause the least amount of harm.”

Chouinard believes stock market valuations are

“absurd,” investing in shares is “buying blue sky”

– and modern-day capitalism is destroying the

planet. “I’d like to see an end to public corporations

because we’re not going to revolutionize

them, we’re not going to change them,” Chouinard

once told the Guardian.

The preservationist: John Muir

Born in 1838, the co-founder of the Sierra Club

was one of the first activists that saw the need

for legal protection of lands as the only way to

preserve wildlife and nature. He helped to install

the Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. The

picture shows Muir (on

the right) with Theodore

Roosevelt on

Glacier Point in Yosemite

National Park (Photo:

public domain). Unlike

the conservationists of

his day, who wanted

to protect the land for

human use above all

else, Muir was a preservationist:

his goal was to

leave nature as untouched

as possible.

The humanist: Jürgen Altmann

During a sabbatical in Ladakh, Jürgen Altmann,

owner of the Aroma Kaffeebar in Munich, learned

that nearly 90 percent of the population suffers

from eye damage and eye diseases due to

extreme UV radiation.

In 2009, he founded

Shades of Love, a project

that collects new or used

sunglasses from businesses

and consumers and

distributes them to people

in high-altitude regions. He

has since built logistics and

partnerships to ensure distribution

through various

means to the target areas.

An NGO, Brillen Weltweit, is helping with the testing,

preparation and storage for Shades of Love.

On-site, there is a network of professional organizations

that finally distribute the sunglasses (for

example the shipment of 70,000 sunglasses in

Fall 2021) to the remote mountain regions..

Key cooperation partners include:

• The Tibetan Health Care Center in Choglamsar/Ladakh,

a partner organization of the Department

of Health in Dharamsala, a charity

of the Dalai Lama.

• Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology in Kathmandu,

a part of the Nepal Eye Program.

Today, around 50,000 pairs of glasses are waiting

in the German warehouse to be shipped. Companies

such as Apollo Optics, Edel Optics, Julbo and

Funk are among the regular providers of unused

glasses, but private individuals also donate used


ones. What is always lacking, Altmann says, is

funding for the logistics part. He is also working

on setting up a base in South America. Many people

in the Andes also suffer from eye diseases.

The economist: Robin Murray

Professor Robin Murray, who died in 2017, was

the voice and avid proponent of the Zero Waste

movement and the first to describe the need to

recycle unavoidable waste in his 1999 book, “Creating

Wealth from Waste.” In his next book, “Zero

Waste,” he wrote, “from the perspective of pollution,

the problem is a question of what waste is.

From the perspective of resource productivity, it

is a question of what waste could be. As a pollutant,

waste demands control. As an embodiment

of accumulated energy and materials, it invites

an alternative. The one is a constraint to an old

way of doing things. The other opens up a path

to the new.” He was an economist who firmly

believed in collaboration as the key to industrial

restructuring in response to environmental


The applicators:

Jay Cohen Gilbert,

Bart Houlahan and

Andrew Kassoy

Jay Cohen Gilbert, Bart

Houlahan, and Andrew

Kassoy are the fathers of B

Lab, a nonprofit network

founded with the grand

goal of transforming the global economy. On a

smaller scale, it provides companies with a legal

framework that puts the values of sustainability

and the common good as much at the heart of

their operations as the need to make money. B

Lab became Benefit Corporation, a movement

that to date includes more than 4,500 companies.

A certified B Corp must consider the impact of its

decisions on its employees, customers, suppliers,

community and environment. B Corps are actively

building an inclusive and regenerative economy,

and 4,515 B Corps around the world in 153

different industries are proof that values-based

businesses can succeed.

The voice: Greta Thunberg

Carried by an


wave, Greta Thunberg,

born in 2003,

became the voice

of an entire generation.

In just a

few years, global

networking and

the digital age,

especially within

the Gen-Z, have

catapulted the

Swedish activist onto the podiums of the UN,

to Davos and to conferences where the course

of the world economy is set. Thunberg’s school

strike was the nucleus of the “Fridays for Future”

movement, referenced in global protests to

meet the 1.5-degree target.

© Per Grunditz / Dreamstime.com







ISSUE #1-2022

A special edition e-paper published by EDM

Publications GmbH, Paradiesstr. 10, 80538

Munich, Germany. © 2022

Project Manager: Susanne Kern

Managing Editor: Wolfgang Greiner

Managing Director EDM: Krischan Hertle

Layout concept and support: Pedro Rodriguez

Contributors: Charles Ross, Pamela Ravasio,

Fredrik Ekström, Kai Landwehr

Thank you: Katy Stevens, Martin Kössler

The EDM Sustainable Business Special is a

free e-publication published at least twice

a year. Contact Franziska Harfy (franziska.

harfy@edmpublications.com) for advertising

opportunities. SGI Europe, The Outdoor

Industry Compass, Shoe Intelligence and

Eyewear Intelligence are subscription-based

services. For inquiries about individual and corporate

subscriptions, please contact Lena Androsova


More information: www.edmpublications.com

Reg No. HRB248849, VAT No. DE325691754



State of Industry Survey

As a first for this Special, EDM Publications

conducted a survey among its

readers in January 2022 on the topic

of sustainability. The privilege of gaining

access to an elite pool of decision-makers

and asking them for their opinions was

exceptionally exciting. This survey is not

intended to be the only one. We will repeat

it at regular intervals to track the evolution

towards a greener industry.

The overall sentiment is slightly optimistic: twothirds

of our readers see their companies making

good (31,6 percent) or average (49 percent) progress

concerning their sustainability agenda.






The majority of the survey’s participants come

from retail and brands; the bigger rest are manufacturers

or working for ingredient brands.

Regarding the certification and external audit of

sustainability achievements, only 15 percent of the

participants claimed not to have any CSR team or

certification yet. 33 percent at least work on the

topic in-house, which adds up to almost half of

the companies not working with external audits

and competence sources. For those using certification

partners, ISO is the most relevant standard

(32.7 percent), followed by Oeko-Tex (11.2 percent)

and Bluesign (9.2 percent).

This weighting may be reflected in the evaluation

of which point in the supply chain can make the

fastest progress in environmental protection (see


• First and foremost, suppliers of fibers and

fabrics are expected to act.

• By far, the biggest potential for more sustainability

is seen at the very source of the

manufacturing process, in the field of raw

material sourcing.

• Logistics and distribution are not seen as primary

and fast-acting improvement opportunities,

nor is product life.

This last assessment is particularly interesting

because it contradicts some of the scientific

insights: While a study commissioned by W.L.Gore

confirms that to date, most emissions (65 %)

occur in production, logistics and distribution,

while the use (e.g., washing/impregnation) by

the consumer, including subsequent disposal,

causes 35 % of all environmental damage done.

The study assumed a service life of around five


years for a shell jacket. The longer a garment is in

use, the more this weighting shifts to the detriment

of emissions during production, so a longer

product lifetime may indeed quickly care for a

smaller footprint. If manufacturing emissions go

down, the relevance of a longer lifetime for better

sustainability increases.

However, in an ideal world, a longer product wear

time and a more sustainable production would

go hand in hand. Today, production remains

the big factor. But a closer look at the different

parameters measures during production shows a

shift of relevance. Renewable energy sources are

gaining importance in many businesses, so the

energy factor is probably becoming less important

- while the issues of logistics and water consumption

could become more relevant as more

organic raw materials are used.

Being asked for the primary reasons for the

ongoing efforts for sustainability improvement,

most of the survey participants feel that consumers

are demanding it. At the same time, EDM

readers see brands pushing the industry, and

almost the same checkmarks were counted on

“laws and regulations” that push for more sustainability

in the sporting goods industry. Only about

a quarter of the respondents say retailers are also

pressing for action. Manufacturers and ingredient

brands are least seen as relevant drivers for

change – although the above answers show that

those pieces in the puzzle are specifically seen as

having the most potential and influence on the

industry’s overall environmental footprint.


Add PURPOSE to your business!

Sustainability and CSR is a way of thinking, an ongoing project in your daily practice. It‘s not a

cost in your PNL but an investment in your future, the era of business for purpose.

Huginbiz ® and Dr. Pamela Ravasio, well-known for

developing and leading progressive sustainability programs in

the outdoor industry, are launching a series of programs for

professionals who want to improve their competence and their

company’s sustainability and CSR performance.

Learning to drive is hard. But with the help of a good driving

instructor and experienced drivers around you, you’ll learn and

get the help to prepare for your license exam. It is the same with

our programs. Learn both from experts and from

each other. Based on the 1% better every day principle, our

program includes both introductionary courses and a

B Corp Prep program for companies that are already well

on their way but would like further support and guidance on the

requirements of certification.

Martin Kössler, CEO Huginbiz ®

Contact us at: info@huginbiz.com

More information: www.huginbiz.com/competence

Dr. Pamela Ravasio, SME advisor




Sympatex – start making sense

Collaboration: the right way from an economical,

professional and emotional perspective

For Sympatex, the willingness of the market

to take collective responsibility for the environmental

collateral of our industry has

been decisive to the company’s development.

Today, the company is a system partner, ingredient

supplier and advisory body to its customers.

Sympatex has learned one lesson in its multiple

roles: collaboration is key.

What is the Sympatex

business model based on?

The branded Sympatex ingredient is a membrane

made from polyester and developed in

Europe, using a recipe that has been around

relatively unchanged for 35 years and is offered

in various laminates. The chemical

formula of the starting material is

environmentally harmless. When

laminated with polyester face

and liner fabrics, the resulting

mono-material laminate is recyclable

and can theoretically

be manufactured into a fully

circular end product. However,

the components that lead

to a finished product – like zippers,

buttons, threads, accessories

and shoe soles – decide on

the product’s recyclability. Here is

where circular design thinking begins.

What factors are currently

influencing the market situation

and Sympatex’s business model?

1. The EU urges for circular textile solutions.

2. Brands are beginning to transform their business

models and product.

3. Innovations point the way - founders are the

basis, science is the engine.

4. Legislative processes ban substances harmful

to the environment and health.

5. Portfolio and collection developments adapt to


2022 will be a decisive year for the textile industry.

100 billion garments and 23 billion pairs of shoes

are produced per year, most of them dumped

or burned after use in the current linear product

life. Considering the knowledge and technical

possibilities available, we need to learn to see

the possible opportunity in the numbers: 100bn

garments and 23bn shoes represent the future

source of new raw material for producing (textile)


The world is changing rapidly, and it is impossible

to give a general answer to what point of view we

choose tomorrow. But what is quite fundamental

for all decision-making is orientation. Labels,

certificates, audits - what is the right way to stand

up for clarity? CSR departments from different

companies share their knowledge and

discuss modules, and corresponding

joint organizations and associations

push this cohesion. Just like the

fact that one sustainable ingredient

doesn’t make for a green

product, the conclusion for all

of us can only be to sustainably

adapt business processes,

development stages and

the entire product portfolio.

Balance sheets have to be designed

with economic sensitivity

and supplemented with the real

social and environmental costs and

resource benefits. To reach our goals,

reducing what is unnecessary or required is

mandatory - for consumption, development and

output. And we have to compensate or redesign

what cannot be solved in an environmentally

friendly way.

The prerequisite for incipient circularity is the use

of pure polyester compositions. Based on this,

Sympatex calls on the textile industry to adopt a

collective mono-material strategy for the performance

areas where functional textiles are to be


1. Polyester is the only synthetic material that allows

an efficient recycling process.

2. Recycled polyester saves the most water and


3. Polyester has by far the broadest application in

our industry.


4. Only polyester-based mono-materials can be

easily recycled.

Add these innovative technologies: Welding, 3D

modeling, thermoforming - each offers opportunities

for minimal material consumption and

technological minimization of resource waste in

production. Together with its partners, Sympatex

develops products that guarantee maximum

performance for waterproofness and breathability

without harmful chemicals and, in the medium

term, also without taping. Simply by using

existing production processes from other industries:

Workshop sharing is fundamental to the


The European Commission is committed to

adopting legislation in January 2022 to ensure

compliance with the proportionality principle,

enforce a complete ban on fluorochemicals and

force transparency for the consumer. With the

deadlines for developing new product lines insight,

we have to act now.

What are the next steps for the

textile industry that are real,

feasible and measurable?

True circularity can only be achieved through collaborative

efforts. What we need are cross-company

cooperations as they release enormous

knowledge and opportunities. Remodeling the

textile industry from linear to circular production

requires unconditional transparency of expertise,

solutions, research and science – Sympatex believes

cooperation is the decisive prerequisite for

closing the loop. The system can only be changed

if the entire industry agrees on specific standards

and leaves competition aside to a certain extent.

This is why Sympatex pursues cooperation and

strategic partnerships at the heart of its action.

In the last two pandemic years, it has become

clear that collaborative structures are essential.

To this end, the Sympathy Lab was launched by

Sympatex in December 2021 as a joint forum. The

new web platform stands for collaboration, education

and impulses that empower the entire

outdoor and fashion industry for the sustainable

change. The setup is a webinar series organized

monthly in collaboration with different people

and brands. The goal is to create a library of sorts

for all types of endeavors, solutions and partnerships.

Sympatex is inviting all stakeholders to

share relevant information here, be it sources,

foundations or training, as the main task of sales

and distribution forces - only together will a much

larger movement be created.

For 2022, the following milestones are to be set in

the Sympathy Lab:

1. Create a platform for sustainability reports strategic

papers for concrete courses of action as

best-practice guidelines – independent of competitive


2. To use monthly vertical TV and audio formats

to contribute journalistically to transparency and

knowledge in attractive implementation to active

discussion and concrete guidance for change.

3. To convince younger generations and young

professionals to work in the textile, footwear and

outdoor industries - from retailers to teachers.

4. To become the exchange platform for innovative,

straightforward and inspiring personalities.

With Kim Scholze as Chief Sustainable

Community Manager, Sympatex wants to take

on the role of an enabler in the industry, relying

on the power of the many. At Sympatex and

in her podcast Spuzziness, Scholze puts the

topic of sustainability and collaboration on the

agenda of various platforms. Collaboration and

Unity for Change are key buzzwords for the

path Sympatex has taken, both professionally

and personally. As the

person responsible for

business development

and communications,

Kim Scholze wants to

initiate partnerships that

accelerate mutual learning.


© Sandra Steh



Leading the Pack

Some industry executives are thinking

further ahead. They have visions. And

they act. They have understood. And

they share. And they seem to be better at

connecting the dots. In our first edition

of the EDM Sustainable Business Special,

we introduce the first four individuals we

consider to be true forward-thinkers of the

sporting goods industry.

movements towards environmentally conscious

consumption.” Within the last four years, Antje

von Dewitz has consequently transformed the

Vaude company into a climate-neutral business

that (like 500 others) is committed to the

so-called “economy for the common good” and

files a common good balance sheet showing the

extent to which the company has assumed its

social-ecological responsibility.






The heir:

Antje von Dewitz (CEO Vaude)

When Antje von Dewitz took over Vaude from

her father in 1998, the first significant step to

more sustainability had already been made

four years earlier: The Ecolog Recycling Network

that Vaude installed in 1994. This initial trial to

go for recyclable, mono-material products that

would be part of a circular economy didn’t have

a successful takeoff – mainly because of a lack of

response. Consumers returned very few products,

resistance from retail was significant, and the

effort and resources flowing into the project were

immense. The initial learning from this pioneering

work was: sustainability isn’t a single project.

It has to be an integral part of the company’s

daily work and reach out to all branches and the

tiniest twigs of the whole tree.

But things have changed since then: “We are

seeing a significant increase in consumer

knowledge and a strong expectation that brands

and retailers should make their offerings more

sustainable. Fridays for Future has given a first

push and the pandemic a second, even stronger

Asked for anything that she would judge as a

failure in the past years, Antje von Dewitz says: “I

should have taken external consultancy to support

the transformation of employee’s mindset

much earlier. The process involves a lot of interdisciplinary

management of conflicts, so everyone

involved has to have a lust to take responsibility.”

Economy for the

Common Good


Economy for the Common Good is

an economic model that makes the

common good – a good life for everyone

on a healthy planet – its primary goal and

purpose. At the heart of this concept lies

the idea that values-driven businesses are

mindful of and committed to:

• Human Dignity

• Solidarity and Social Justice

• Environmental Sustainability

• Transparency and Co-Determination

Using a “Common Good Matrix,” results

show a company’s contribution to

the common good. This tool should

make visible how fair, sustainable and

transparent they are. Among other goals,

the movement aims for a value-added tax

assessment based on the sustainability

goals achieved by the individual



The business changer:

Eva Karlsson (CEO Houdini)

You were recently asked if you would ever

consider taking Houdini to the stock market

and replied, “There’s a great deal to change on

the stock market, and if we could support its’

transformation from within, it would be worth

considering.” Do you perhaps have a plan, or

could you elaborate further?

Eva Karlsson: We do and we don’t have a detailed

master plan, depending on how you look

at it. Whether it would include a transformation

of the financial sector from within remains

unknown. Our plan is to cultivate value across

stakeholders (individuals, society and planet) for

the long term, resulting in becoming regenerative

and contributing to a world in regeneration.

That is quite contrary to the financial system,

including the stock market, due to its design.

Value in the financial system is isolated to monetary

value. In the case of the stock exchange, it

is isolated to monetary value and the short term,

often at the expense of the long term. There

are no systemic feedback-loops connected to

potential depletion of natural resources, natural

ecosystems or societal ecosystems either, which

allows the financial system to operate as if it

was separate and independent from the living

world. I want to stress that we are talking about

a systemic design flaw in the financial system,

© Fredrik Schenholm

not about people in the financial

sector caring less than the rest

of us or anything like that.

The good thing with systemic

design flaws is that we designed

them, and we have the opportunity

to redesign them. Houdini

has been in the business of

reimagining and redesigning

systems since the start. For

instance, we have spent the last

20 years redesigning the linear

apparel system into a circular


So what would be a first step

on the road to a fundamental


Eva Karlsson: The way we’ve approached systemic

design flaws is not to distance ourselves

and point fingers but to embrace them - to

acknowledge the facts, deepen our understanding,

and find ways to redesign them to

ensure we don’t end up with new systemic

design errors that we have to address. For these

redesigns to be robust and scalable at the level

of eventually transforming the entire system, we

have practiced open-source and collaborated

with like-minded experts and peers. We would

apply the same methodology to the stock market.

We might not be the one, but either way, it

will be important that change agents come into

play in the financial sector in the coming years.

We need the financial sector and every other

sector to transform from a degenerative to a

regenerative world.

Consequently, has Houdini set itself up for a

zero-sum game?

Eva Karlsson: No, not at all: I would like to underline

that Houdini is a for-profit company that

has chosen a holistic perspective on value-creation,

way beyond money and way beyond

shareholders. It makes total sense as long as you

have a long-term perspective. To make profits in

the long term, we need a planet in good shape,

and we need to be valued by our customers,

users and all our stakeholders now and in the

future. That is why we believe in holistic value














The connector:

Katy Stevens (EOG Head of CSR

and Sustainability)

What was the initial spark for you as a person

to make the topic of sustainability a central

part of your career?

Katy Stevens: For me, it was a factory visit to

China around 15 years ago, witnessing and

experiencing first-hand the realities of the

biggest part of the industry that you rarely get

to see. I remember a growing awareness as

we shared a cabin on a night train with some

older teenage girls who were leaving home to

go and work in factories in a different city. They

were excited by the prospect of leaving home,

earning money and new adventures.

There was a strong contrast the next day when

I visited a factory (different factory, different

girls), but I was genuinely quite shocked by the

rows upon rows of young, mostly women, sewing

garments, and the mountainous volumes

of clothing piled up everywhere, combined

with the bleakness of the environment surrounding

the factory. I started to understand

at that time the impact of mass production on

people and the planet as well as the cultural

and logistical complexities of supply chains.

In retrospect, are there any decisions you

should have made earlier or differently?

Katy Stevens: Not at all, I am very happy with

the route that I took to get here, and I think it

has afforded me a lot of essential knowledge. I

come from a materials/textile production background,

so for me understanding what things

are made from and how they are produced is

a fantastic foundation (and the opportunities

to study sustainability-related subjects were

not available like they are now). I think there

are opportunities and access points into ‘sustainability’

and a lot of value in sustainability

teams with mixed backgrounds and a variety

of skill sets. As the topic becomes an essential

part of business strategy, we are seeing a huge

amount of ‘new positions’ within organizations

and different job types within that strategy,

data analysis, project management etc.

Do you see major improvement for more sustainability

happening in the sporting goods


Katy Stevens: Absolutely, I think there is still a

lot of potential for technology and innovation

across the industry. Textile and apparel supply

chains are so incredibly long and complicated

and I think there is opportunity at many

points; farming and fiber production, materials

and fabric development, dyeing and finishing

processes, logistics etc. With so many processes

in the production of apparel and sporting

goods, if we can optimize each of these stages

in terms of impact, I think all of these small

changes could really add up to be significant.

Do you believe in the compatibility of growth/

shareholder value as a business model and

environmental sustainability?

Katy Stevens: Like any industry, the outdoor/

apparel industry needs investment to survive,

and few investors are willing to do so without

the prospect of any ROI. However, currently,

we are costing products from the top down,

which leads to cutting corners on necessary

environmental and social matters to reach

specific price points. For a long time, we have

been subsidizing both the shareholders and

the consumer at the cost of environmental

destruction and the quality of life and dignity

of supply chain workers and only when these

issues are addressed should we start talking

about growth.


The early mover:

David Ekelund (CEO Icebug)

What was the initial spark for you personally to

pursue sustainability at Icebug?

David Ekelund: Earth Overshoot Day. The realization

of how utterly stupid and destructive it

is to spend more resources than the planet can

regenerate. That’s unsustainable in the most literal

meaning of the word. Further fuel on the fire is

the climate emergency. I love snow.

In retrospect, are there any decisions you should

have made earlier or differently?

David Ekelund: We should have changed the fundamental

view of what Icebug stands for much

earlier – and been clear that we want to use our

company as a tool to drive sustainable transformation,

using every interaction we have - with

customers, suppliers, colleagues - to influence the

cultural change we need.

Apart from that, we have acted to the best of our

knowledge. We have to live with our imperfection.

That is OK, as long as we continue to strive to

improve our knowledge base and continue to act

on it.

Do you see significant improvements for more

sustainability in the footwear industry?

David Ekelund: That’s certainly a subject of debate.

We see a lot of high-flying pilot projects, but

for them to become more than just marketing,

they need to scale. What’s interesting is what’s

really being used the most, and that’s still a lot of

petroleum as raw material, non-renewable energy

in the supply chain (including coal, still), and air

freight to catch sales when products are late. How

is that compatible with knowing that this is a

climate emergency?

The proof is in the pudding, and the only way to

determine if we are making significant improvements

is to look at the data. A first step would be

for brands to provide the data. And in the second

phase, that emissions, the use of non-renewable

materials and chemicals of high concern - to

name just a few - are going down.

According to a very read-worthy recent report by

the Apparel Impact Initiative, the textile industry

- and in our experience, this also applies to the

footwear industry - can cut emissions by over 50%

by using existing technology. So at this point, we

don’t really need innovation, because we already

have the tools. We just need the will to use them.

Do you believe in the compatibility of growth/

shareholder value and environmental sustainability?

David Ekelund: We have yet to define what “environmental

sustainability” really means. I think

it would have to be in the direction of satisfying

human needs within planetary boundaries.

To your question, allow me to amend it: Is it all

right to grow without taking full responsibility for

your own footprint, and are you then creating true

value for your shareholders?

One question that I can answer is the related

one: “Can you take full responsibility and still be

profitable?” That’s a yes. I know this for a fact and

believe that a sustainable business must be profitable

and have a good cash flow. That’s the only

way to ensure that you stay in a position to make

the decisions that you think are right for the long


I’m a fan of capitalism - otherwise, it would be really

unimaginative to be a business person. We will

need the dynamic aspect of capitalism to create

prosperity. But! Capitalism must be reined in. The

economic system must not be at the expense of

society or nature. Businesses must be profitable

without exploiting people or the planet.









lavalan ® - the wool insulation

The contemporary alternative to synthetic fibres or down


Natural, renewable and highly functional: wool

is an age-old yet modern functional material

that has been used for thousands of years as a

reliable way of protecting people from the cold,

wind and weather. Fine merino wool has become

an indispensable material in the outdoor

industry, especially thanks to its odor-neutralizing

properties, and is becoming increasingly

popular for T-shirts, underwear, socks and other

clothing. Yet wool is not only great for spinning

into yarn, but it is also highly suitable for use

as an insulating material in jackets, gloves and

many other items. How and why – lavalan has

the answers and reveals the special features of

its sustainable wool wadding.

Wool: high-tech from nature

Why use synthetic fibers when nature

has already supplied us with highly

functional and complex raw materials?

Wool is a natural product with all the advantages

of a high-tech material. With its unrivaled

breathability, wool creates a pleasant

warmth, keeping the body dry and at a constant

temperature – and it can adjust to the intensity

of the activity level and a wide range of different

weather conditions. A further advantage is

that wool can absorb as much as 36% of its own

weight in moisture without feeling wet. The

wool fibers are able to stretch and therefore retain

their warming properties. As well as these

thermoregulating properties, wool can also neutralize

unpleasant odors and can therefore be

worn for longer without needing to be washed.

It is also hypoallergenic, long-lasting and biodegradable:

in the soil, wool rots down within

around six months, and in water, too, wool is

broken down to the point where it can no longer

be detected within seven or eight months. In

short: the perfect properties and functions that

we need outdoors, especially in the mountains,

and a material that nature-conscious outdoor

enthusiasts demand today.

lavalan wool insulation: Wool

from Europe, made in Germany

lavalan is run by the Bavarian family-owned

company Baur Vliesstoffe from Dinkelsbühl.

For more than 100 years, they have been using

regionally sourced sheep’s wool to produce

mattresses, home textiles, insulating materials

and even materials for sound insulation. In

2008, their knowledge of wool and its fabulous

functionality led to the introduction of lavalan

– the washable wool insulation whose name is

derived from the Latin words “lana” (wool) and

“lavare” (to wash).

Animal welfare and

short transport routes

The structure and properties of European

virgin wool make it ideal for a high-quality

wadding. And it has many other advantages

that are in keeping with the spirit of the times.

In Europe, strict quality and animal welfare standards

apply, and practices such as mulesing are

not permitted. The wool does not need to be

flown halfway across the globe; instead, lavalan

supports traditional sheepherding methods on

mountain pastures and the associated maintenance

of the countryside. The transport routes

for further processing are also short: sheep farmers

deliver their freshly-shorn wool to collection

points where the fibers are pressed into bales

according to color and quality. Then, the wool

is carefully cleaned in traditional wool scouring

plants in Belgium and Great Britain. Residues of

plant materials and feces are washed out, as is

the lanolin, leaving the wool clean, soft and consistent.

The wool is then delivered to Baur Vliesstoffe

in Germany. At the company’s headquarters

in Dinkelsbühl, 60 highly experienced employees

who are particularly skilled in working with wool

are responsible for the production of lavalan.

Versatile range of uses:

From jackets and helmets

to gloves

lavalan wool wadding comes in a wide range

of strengths and thicknesses, allowing lavalan

to react very precisely to the requirements of

their brand customers from the outdoor and

clothing sectors, who now number almost 40.

In the classic version of lavalan, a corn-based

PLA fiber is used to provide stability and robustness.

The portfolio has recently been expanded

to include lavalan® pure. This fleece consists of

100% European virgin wool and is particularly

suitable for use in outerwear, thanks to its especially

fine structure. While lavalan® plus makes

an excellent choice for gloves and lavalan® pro

is perfect for ski pants and work clothing.

This means that lavalan can be used as a natural

and sustainable alternative for all products

that are insulated with synthetic fiber fillings or

down. The wool guarantees the best possible

comfort level with a wonderful feel-good factor

and is the perfect choice for demanding outdoor

adventures in both summer and winter. In

short: the sheep show us how it’s done – people

with active lives choose lavalan.

Strong brands put their faith

in lavalan

Many brands value the highly functional

properties of lavalan and its product

benefits, including the traceability of

the wool itself. lavalan can be found in products

from Alpina, Artilect, Black Diamond, Edelrid,

Fjällräven, Grüezi bag, Klättermusen, Maier

Sports, ON Running, Tatonka, Triple 2, Vaude,

Ziener and many more.

More information on www.lavalan.com.



Circular Economy






Where all the

threads come


The adage “good things come to those who wait”

does not apply to the tasks ahead for a low-emissions

industry responding to the climate crisis, the

biodiversity and nature crisis, and the pollution

and waste crisis. Part of these urgent tasks is to

advance existing recycling capabilities. A critical

part of this circular economy is decoupling growth

from resource use, which requires transparency,

honesty, trust, and a shared commitment to radical


Many global initiatives have already been formed

in the fashion and sports industry to advance the

circular economy. The Platform for Accelerating

the Circular Economy (PACE) is one. Founded in

2018 by the World Economic

Forum, this organization

has brought together

thinkers and scientists to

structure and focus the

many well-intentioned

approaches and aims

to create the space for

cross-industry collaboration

and a strong database accessible

to all stakeholders.

“Science-based information

on where and how much

environmental and social

costs are borne along the entire value chain of the

fashion industry will be critical to promote circularity

in the fashion industry further,” says Naoko

Ishii, Executive Vice President and Director of the

Center for Global Commons at the University of


The outcome of a joint effort of over 200 circular

economy experts from 100 businesses and civil society

organizations that have met under the PACE

umbrella is the Circular Economy Action Agenda.

In the 56 pages of the paper, three objectives have

been formulated based on converging visions of a

circular economy for textiles: inputs for textiles are

safe and recycled or renewable; textiles are kept

in use for longer; and textiles are recyclable and

recycled at end-of-use.

The main actions that PACE sees on the road to

the circular economy are listed in ten points:

1. Incentivize and support design for longevity and


2. Sustainable production of virgin natural fibers,

including land use

3. Encourage the market to use less clothing, and

for longer

4. Guide and support new business models for

environmental, financial, and social triple-win

5. Where used textiles are traded, ensure environmental

and socio-economic benefits

6. Strategically plan collection, sorting, and recycling


7. Increase efficiency and quality in the sorting of


© Equip Outdoor Technologies

8. Make recycled fibers market


9. Integrate and advance

decent work in the transition

to a circular economy

for textiles

10. Investigate the socio-economic

impacts of a

circular economy for textiles

In 2017, the Ellen MacArthur

Foundation claimed that

the transition to a circular

economy would create a $560 billion economic

opportunity for the fashion industry by better

capturing the value of underutilized, landfilled or

incinerated clothing. However, circular economy

for textiles includes a complex matrix of pros and

cons. It is a gigantic transition that would affect

people and the planet and also contains points of


Increasing renewable inputs for textiles may put

more pressure on agriculture, competing for

land with food production and forest protection.

A transition to a circular economy for textiles is

expected to shift employment in the value chain

from upstream to mid and downstream, therefore


targeted efforts are needed to ensure the transition

is just and inclusive. Furthermore, understanding

the economic impacts of the transition is

still relatively limited and requires more quantitative


In its agenda, PACE has tried to work out and evaluate

benefits and points of attention in five areas:

resource use, climate change, human health and

biodiversity, economic wellbeing and working


These five topics are highlighted and aligned

with the three key objectives: What influence

does a measure have on the topic area of working

conditions, and what influence does it have on

climate protection? For example, keeping clothes

in use for longer causes benefits for resource use,

climate change and human health – the trade-off

is: it will most probably have a negative impact on

decent work available and thus an uncertain impact

on economic wellbeing. Even more complex

is the question of recycled and renewable textiles,

depending on the fiber type: Shifting from high

carbon footprint raw natural materials like wool

and leather to recycled ones can indeed reduce

greenhouse gas emissions. A clearly two-sided

coin is the switch from synthetic to plant-based

fibers, which leads to land conversion with different

impacts: If forests are cleared, greenhouse

gas emissions may increase; When wood fiber

is grown on degraded cropland, this, in turn, can

help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by improving

the quality of the soil.

Those examples from the PACE agenda show is

that the transformation to a circular economy involves

not just black and white but many shades

of gray – many question marks, ifs and buts. PACE

and the other organizations driving the issue nevertheless

do not want to call for a fearful standstill

that remains in the status quo for fear of negative


The circular economy is a necessary task that

needs to be tackled very wisely to decouple

growth from the use of resources while not shaking

the existing economic system as a whole. Or,

taking the next step, going for a circular economy

includes stopping thinking of growth as a relevant

factor of success.

By now, the steps being taken are not as radical.

Still, there are small seedlings that point the

direction: The circular toolbox or the new circular

design guide published by fashion company

Bestseller in early 2022 are just two among many

examples of intelligence and best practices that

are available to all industries. Also, ingredient

brands like Sympatex (the company launched

its Sympathy Lab last year) are pushing hard for

cross-sectional thinking and collaborations.

And also, internally, many

big players are already investing

in circular products,

even if their management

structure still belongs to

a classic business model:

Estia Engineering School

and the European Center

for Innovative Textiles (CETI)

have just opened a new

1,000-square-meter research

and production facility

called Cetia in southern

France. Cetia is a playground

for artificial intelligence

research that identifies and

classifies textiles to sort,

disassemble and recycle textiles

and shoes. Cetia’s first

two customers are Decathlon

and Eram.








Go Ahead and Greenwash!

10 5

In the fight against climate change, companies

must now take responsibility and step

up efforts in the area of climate protection.

This is true even if strategies and plans are

not yet perfectly developed. Inaction and

hesitation out of fear of possible criticism

harm everyone: the climate and the companies

themselves. A plea for quick action

and against inconsiderate “greenwashing”


Stopping climate change is our global task of

the century. Unfortunately, we are three ways

behind in tackling this task: Total greenhouse

gas emissions, time, and money.

As a society, we are still emitting far too many

greenhouse gases. No matter whether you look

at the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel

for Climate Change or the presentation of the

Climate Action Tracker. Also, the decarbonization

of our economy and our lives is still well

behind schedule. For mobility and production,

we keep on pumping and, above all, burning

fossil fuels.

A shockingly unnecessary reason for this is that

it is still worth it. The cost of switching energy

supplies to renewables and changing processes

and supply chains - transportation is just one

small example in a larger problem area - still

seems to be considered higher than continuing

with the status quo. Admittedly, we also see “divestment”

activities, i.e., a stop to all financing of

fossil industries, which should not be underestimated.

Nevertheless, these existing business

models are still seen as tempting diversifying

investments, especially from the perspective

of large pension and retirement funds. Where

climate change is already being experienced

today, it deprives people of their livelihoods.

Mitigation and recovery mechanisms exist, but

financial resources are lacking.

These three aspects - that we are emitting too

many emissions, that we are behind schedule,

and that we are underfunding or misfunding -

reinforce each other. To overcome this dilemma,

every immediate contribution counts. The rule

that “fast” beats “perfect” also applies to climate


Too afraid of Trial and Error

The “trial and error” principle, i.e., a typically

Anglo-Saxon approach, is a tried and tested

method for corporate climate protection as

well. Unfortunately, there are concerns that a

climate plan that has not yet been fully thought

through and strategically implemented will

provoke a negative, contrary reaction; after all,

no company wants to be suspected of greenwashing.

Not to be misunderstood: No one

denies that there is such a thing as “greenwashing.”

But “real” greenwashing is much less often

behind actual accusations than it might seem.

Indeed, empty bluster, the deliberate exaggeration

of small, ineffective fig leaf activities, is

wrongly conflated in the debate with climate

protection in its early stages and with a learning

curve. And as a result, the accusations of “greenwashing”

achieve the opposite effect. Efforts

in climate protection are kept on a low flame,

concealed or not implemented at all, which is


Long-distance race of

corporate climate protection

The path to a sustainable economy is a marathon,

not a sprint. The goal is clear: companies

should aim for “net-zero” operations. Net-zero

deliberately accepts the lowest possible residual

emissions, which are then offset, for example,

by projects that remove CO2 emissions from

the atmosphere (carbon capture). In terms of

today, this means that CO2 emissions must be

drastically reduced at the corporate level.


Such a reduction requires a comprehensive

change in strategy and mindset within the

company, a questioning and adjustment of

processes deep into the supply chain, as well as

external factors such as a change in the general

conditions and infrastructure (transport routes,

energy supply). In addition to these fields,

which are to be implemented and have an

effect in the long term, there are also many immediate

measures, “quick wins” in the company

and at the product level. Whether in packaging

or the business travel policy, in the energy mix

in offices and stores, or the calculation and

compensation of emissions from a specific

product group.

All of these starting points make sense for the

climate, and they have an immediate effect.

They do not buy a company off from long-term

change. Instead, they create awareness and, in

many cases, provide the basis for tackling and

successfully mastering the major long-term


Transparent communication

is no greenwashing

Therefore, it is not at all dishonorable to communicate

about such initial measures, even

if, for example, the supply chain still hides the

large and difficult-to-target emission sources.

Transparency is required: transparency with regard

to one’s own processes, in the supply and

value chain - “You can’t manage what you haven’t

measured” - and transparency with regard

to targets and transparency in communication.

Communicating goals is evidence of a company’s

ambition. Communicating what has

already been achieved or what is immediately

planned inspires competitors and customers.

For most companies, this means admitting that

the road to “net-zero” is still long. Nevertheless,

reporting on their own initial successes and first

steps has nothing to do with greenwashing.

10 5

Source: climateactiontracker.org



10 5

Paths for a successful,

climate-friendly company

Companies have many ways to achieve effective

climate protection: from individual projects to a

holistic strategic approach. The earlier and faster

these paths are taken, the more both climate

and company will benefit in the end.

The cornerstone for sustainable corporate success

lies in thoroughly examining the current

situation by conducting a CO₂ balance sheet.

This includes an analysis of existing processes

and an in-depth look at the legal framework,

the competitive environment and the risks of

climate change for the company’s own business


The current situation indicates the ecological

potential and the starting points for best

leveraging this over time. In this way, targets are

set, and the right focus is established. External

initiatives such as the Science-based Targets

Initiative (SBTi) point the way here.

Opportunities for short- and long-term climate

protection can be found in very different

areas: Greater efficiency and CO₂ reduction in

processes, more climate-friendly products and

services, positioning in the market, the company’s

own employees as internal ambassadors

for greater sustainability, sustainability projects

in the supply chain, or all of the above.

Offsetting CO₂ emissions, in particular, is a

popular target for “greenwashing” accusations.

However, high-quality offset projects make

valuable, measurable and direct contributions

to climate targets and the global sustainability

goals (UN Sustainable Development Goals,

SDGs). Ecosystems and, to an even greater

extent, people in less developed regions that

are already harder hit by climate change will

benefit. As a stand-alone climate protection

effort, offsetting is less effective. Coupled with

continuous reduction measures, however, and

virtually eliminating itself from year to year, offsetting

provides urgently needed, immediately

effective climate protection.

The strategic integration of climate protection

also includes the documentation of progress.

Reporting in accordance with international

standards such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol

(GHG) creates transparency and comparability.

Practice some greenwashing

The possibilities are numerous, especially if

climate protection has played a minor role in

corporate processes up to now. Given the urgency,

every single step helps as long as it leads

in the right direction. So, please, before you do

nothing, do “greenwashing.” Such potential

criticism with this fighting term can be easily

curbed: through transparent communication,

setting further goals, all the way to strategic



About myclimate

Myclimate is a partner for climate protection

- globally and locally. Together with partners

from the business community and private individuals,

myclimate is committed to climate

protection and sustainable development

through consulting and educational services

and its own CO2 offset projects. As a non-profit

organization, myclimate pursues this goal

in a market-oriented and customer-focused


The Swiss foundation promotes measurable

climate protection and sustainable develop-

ment worldwide with carbon offset projects

according to the highest quality standards

(Gold Standard, Plan Vivo). In addition, myclimate

encourages everyone to make a

sustainable contribution to the future with

action-oriented and interactive educational

offers. Myclimate, based in Zurich, Berlin, Cologne,

Reutlingen and Vienna, also provides

advice on integrated climate protection with

tangible added value. This is created through

IT solutions, awards, analyses and resource


10 5

About the author

Kai Landwehr works as head of marketing at ”myclimate,”

a Swiss-based NGO focusing on climate protection and

sustainability measures. He is an expert in communications

and sustainability with strong expertise in sports and

digitalization. Before tapping into climate protection,

Landwehr has worked in the sporting goods industry as

communications and brand manager at Nike for ten years.

© www.roberthoernig.com



It’s all about the recipe

Ingredients such as fabrics, yarns and zippers

are the starting point for sustainable

purchasing decisions, and the pressure

on fiber, component and textile suppliers

is high. From different fiber manufacturing

technologies to better fabric constructions

that minimize microfiber migration: Textile

engineers have been very active in recent

years - and will continue to be. We have

picked out a few noteworthy developments

from different areas, without any claim to




With its OdorCrunch and

ViralOff anti-odor and sanitizing

treatments, Polygiene

is the partner of choice

for many companies that

target the rapidly growing

second-hand market. Since fall 2021, the Swedish

company’s product are used to clean and

freshen pre-owned product sold through the

Diesel second-hand project. The second-hand

fashion market is expected to nearly triple in value

within the coming ten years, keeping apparel

in use for much longer and contributing to a

valid reduction of emissions.


Already since 2008, the

German company Baur

Vliesstoffe has been producing

its Lavalan clothing

insulation from European

virgin wool – pure or blended with a corn-based

PLA fiber. The wool is cleaned and processed

in Belgium and the UK, and the batting is

manufactured at the company’s headquarters

in southern Germany. While animal welfare is

taken care of, transport routes within Europe

are short and the wool can be used in a wide

variety of products.


Comfortemp Tencel

padding, marketed by

Freudenberg and developed

in cooperation with

Lenzing Fibers, was introduced

in 2020 as the first

biodegradable fiber insulation from cellulose

fiber. The Lyocell-based padding is completely

biodegradable within 57 days.

The Lycra Company

As set out in its Planet

Agenda, The Lycra Company

has converted the

majority of its Coolmax and

Themolite brand fibers to

post-consumer recycling

by 2021. EcoMade versions of fabrics made

from recycled fibers are available in all brand

categories (Lycra, Coolmax and Thermolite). All

Lycra fiber production is certified to Oeko-Tex

Standard 100 and has completed the Higg FEM

self-certification process.


Since 2018, Polartec (the

company that has to date

upcycled 1.7 billion bottles

into performance textiles)

has been tackling microfiber

shedding that is

especially related to classic fleece products.

The Power Air fabric line is built to trap heat in

a three-dimensional construction with tiny air

pockets containing fibers. With the tight knit

construction, the potential of shedding microfibers

in the wash and over time is significantly

reduced – roughly ten times less than double-sided



Ecodown Fibers Genius

is made from 100% recycled

PET bottles. The

fibers interlace and form a

stable insulating layer. This

specially designed structure

minimizes cold spots and clumping. The

construction also increases durability and can

be blown into baffles and panels or stuffed by




Going to market for fall

2022, the new generation

of Gore-Tex laminates

made with ePE (expanded

Polyethylene) (and thus replacing

the former expanded

polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)) will be the

base for Gore-Tex brand consumer products.

The new membrane and DWR treatments used

by Gore are PFC-free from that date.


B-Corp certified company

Sympatex has introduced

PFC-free DWR in 2008

and fully recycled 3-Layer

laminates since 2009. Since

2016, the German company

compensates all of their production-related

emissions with ClimatePartner and has an

ambitious sustainability agenda.


Japanese zipper specialist

YKK offers a full line of zippers

from recycled materials

under the sub-brand

Natulon: made either with

PET bottles, chemically

recycled from pre-consumer waste material

or – the latest addition to the Natulon line – as

an ocean-sourced version from post-consumer


HD Wool

HD Wool is an insulation

supplier offering different

insulation products made

with/from British wool with

a full track record via the

quality assurance platform

The Woolkeepers. HD Wool is supporting

farmers that strive for a regenerative agricultural

process according the Land to Market

objectives. The wool used for HD Wool Apparel

Insulation is non-mulesed.


Ready for fall/winter 2023

collections, Toray has

started commercializing its

100 % plant-based Ecodear

N510 nylon fiber. While it

is primarily designed for

sports and outdoor fabrics, it can also be used

for lightweights, cut-and-sew fabrics and innerwear

lace materials. As the first 100 % plantbased

fiber in Toray’s Ecodear product range, it

is part of the group’s efforts to achieve carbon

neutrality by 2050.


Cordura is launching a

new collection of nylon 6.6

fabrics from recycled raw

material marketed under

the Cordura re/cor line of

recycled fibers for fall 2023.

Cordura re/cor RN66 (recycled nylon 6.6) involves

83 % less CO 2, uses 82 % less energy and

57 % less water. The new RN66 fabrics are made

from 100 % pre-consumer fiber material that is

100 % GRS certified.


BenQ, a Taiwanese

multi-industry company

has launched its first Xpore

membrane at ISPO in 2020.

Made exclusively of polyolefin,

the hydrophobic and

nanoporous membrane contains only carbon

and hydrogen and is free of PTFE and PFC.

Meanwhile, BenQ offers textiles in three categories:

Bio & Natural (Natural fibers from Pineapple

leaves, Nylon from Biogas and plant-based

PET), Mono Material and Recycling, where the

company also uses waste from its electronics




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