Vaude is a family owned German brand that produces mainly mountain sports equipment like sleeping bags, tents and backpacks, but is also known for its jackets and apparel. A lot that Vaude does is absolutely great, but if there’s one thing to elaborate on, it’s that it’s the perfect example of corporate transparency. It’s the fundamental building block on which the company has built its entire brand, which has gained them lots of insight into its supply chain and opened the door to improve every aspect of it up close.
First, let’s take a look at the carbon emissions. The company has grown enormously in the last few years, but has managed to not increase emissions. It has tracking systems in place to closely monitor every element that generates emissions and is taking smart measures to reduce effectively. Its website offers very elaborate insight into how many emissions the company generates and why they occur. The German brand’s data is so in-depth that it actually takes responsibility for the emissions its employees generate when they travel for business and stay in a hotel. These are included and offsetted by the brand when its employees have to travel and stay overnight. Vaude monitors its energy consumption very closely. Since 2010, the company has been running its offices and factories on 100% renewable electricity. It doesn’t fully run on 100% renewable energy yet, because the employee cars use petrol and diesel. The carbon emissions that can’t be reduced are offsetted by the brand, which has made them carbon neutral since 2012.
As always, a big factor for carbon emissions are production materials. Materials are a very important element for any outdoor company, but especially at Vaude. To produce its products in the most environmentally friendly way, the company has taken several measures and has been pioneering with ecological finishes on its products. PTFE and PFC are chemical substances that do not occur in nature and do not break down easily. Therefore, they’re proven to be very harmful to the environment and that’s exactly the reason why Vaude is phasing them out completely. From 2020 onwards, all of the brand’s products will be completely PFC-free, making Vaude one of the first outerwear brands to have an ecological finish on its products. The company has made a commitment to use the most environmentally friendly technologies it can and even though its ecological finish is good for water, it’s not oil-repellent. Vaude decided that the oil-repellent is not worth it for the sake of the planet, people and animals and this is exactly where it differentiates itself from its competitors, always putting the planet first. Other materials are 60% Bluesign certified, a large percentage is recycled and almost everything is certified. Most of the company’s products are vegan, but it does use down and other natural materials to rely less on materials like polyester or polyamide, which are based on fossil fuels.
The company provides full transparency of its supply chain and takes responsibility for every factory it works with, monitoring energy use, water and raw materials. It’s very strict about chemicals and partnered up with leading organizations like ZDHC, Bluesign and the Higg Index. Labor rights are also being lived up to. As a member of the Fair Wear Foundation since 2011 and a leader status since 2015, Vaude cares exceptionally well for anyone who works on its products. The company demonstrates in-depth knowledge of its supply chain, of which 100% is under monitoring, and keeps pushing forwards to provide everyone with a living wage. Vaude markets itself as the most sustainable outerwear brand in the world, and that is most probably true. The company has been producing with mountaineering and sustainability in mind since its founding, which has resulted in high quality and environmentally friendly products and makes it a role model in the industry.