Australasian outerwear brand


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How sustainable is Kathmandu?



Kathmandu, named after the capital of Nepal, is an outerwear brand that was founded in New Zealand back in 1987. Together with Rip Curl and Oboz, it’s part of the Australasian Kathmandu Holdings. The parent company publishes one sustainability report annually on behalf of all affiliated brands.

Insufficient mapping of carbon footprint and material sourcing

As Kathmandu Holdings doesn’t include scope 3 emissions originating from its supply chain, it’s impossible to determine its full carbon footprint. Nevertheless, the company has set course to become carbon neutral by 2025, so the intention to reduce carbon emissions is definitely there. Although the brand published a large number of affiliate suppliers on its website, it’s not transparent about which materials are used and what their origin is.

Unclear compliance with labor rights

Kathmandu Holdings audits part of the supply chain, but there is little to no information available about whether it complies with workers’ rights, such as freedom of association, collective bargaining and payment of a living wage.

Sustainable cotton and responsible down

Kathmandu itself is affiliated with the Responsible Down Standard, which ensures that 100% of the down used is certified. On top of that, the brand states that 100% of its cotton is sustainably sourced through a mix of organic, fair trade, recycled and Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) cotton. Unfortunately, it’s unclear what the origin of its wool and leather is and whether they are certified. All in all, Kathmandu is Kathmandu Holding’s flagship in terms of ethical and sustainable branding. Nevertheless, there’s currently not enough transparency to pass our tests unscathed, but we look forward to following the company’s progress.

Publication date: October 26th 2020
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