How Sustainable Is Arc’teryx? All You Need to Know

How Sustainable Is Arc’teryx? All You Need to Know

Dennis Kamprad

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Active people like you are taking a serious look at your athletic wear since the apparel industry contributes 10% of global emissions and is the second biggest polluter of our environment. Arc’teryx is a brand known for making sturdy outdoor apparel and gear and has recently become trendy with young urbanites. So we had to ask: How sustainable is Arc’teryx?”

We can’t call Arc’teryx sustainable yet, though their efforts look promising. They make durable products and say that makes them eco-friendly. They use recycled materials, but don’t share how much. They’re working on getting better, but more transparency and oversight is needed.

Ok, we’ve given you the overall summary of Arc’teryx’s sustainability. But there’s more to it. Let’s have a look at the whole life-cycle of their products, from production to usage to end-of-life, and how involved they are with organizations that can verify they reduce their environmental impact. But let’s get started with the big picture first.

Here’s How Sustainable Arc’teryx Is

Arc’teryx has been around since 1989 when it was started by David Lane to make climbing gear and outerwear under the company name Rock Solid. The name was changed in 1991 to Arc’teryx, an abbreviation that refers to the transitional dinosaur that evolved to birds and aligns with the evolution of climbing and outdoor adventures. 

Sustainable: The ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level | Avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance”

Oxford Dictionary

To know if Arc’teryx really is sustainable we need to look at their manufacturing practices and determine if they are effectively reducing their impact on the planet. To do that we need to look at:

the information they share,

data they report to third parties for external review, 

their ratings and reviews, and 

what sustainability organizations they belong to. 

And to understand the sustainability of Arc’teryx, we must assess their products’ life-cycle and each stage’s sustainability. This life-cycle assessment (LCA) is a method to evaluate the environmental impacts of products and materials. Over the years, companies have strategically used LCA to research and create more sustainable products. So, let’s have a look at the LCA of Arc’teryx!

The product life-cycle stagesEach stage’s sustainability
ProductionMaterials: They use materials that don’t biodegrade and are mostly made from fossil fuels. Some recycled content is used, but they don’t say how much.
Manufacturing: They say they’re reducing emissions and waste. More third-party oversight is needed to prove this and sustainable actions by all suppliers.
Packaging: They do not tell us they are doing anything to reduce how much they use, or if they use recycled materials. 
UsageLifespan: They make durable outdoor wear that is popular partly because it lasts long and holds up in rough weather.
Quality reviews: The only bad reviews found are about their service, otherwise customers rave about the quality of Arc’teryx products.
End-of-lifeCircularity: Their products aren’t recyclable and will not biodegrade. They’re researching how to do this.
Recycling: They recondition and keep products in circulation with their ReGEAR program, but they don’t take back everything they make, only certain apparel.
Waste: There’s not enough oversight of their supply chain to know if they are addressing all forms of waste in production.

How Sustainable Is the Production of Arc’teryx Products

To determine if Arc’teryx’s products are sustainable we have to look at how they are made. Are factory emissions monitored and actions taken to reduce them? Do they keep material waste to a minimum? Do they use non-toxic chemicals that don’t damage the environment? These are all things we need to know to determine if Arc’teryx products are sustainable.

More transparency in their supply chain is needed to know if their materials and manufacturing are sustainable. While some materials are responsibly sourced, we can’t tell how much. And supply chain labor practices are not fully disclosed.

Neither Arc’teryx nor their parent company Amer Sports are listed in the Fashion Revolution Transparency Index 2022, which surveys and evaluates transparency information for over 250 clothing brands. Anta Sports, the owner of Amer Sports, is listed as a company that was asked to participate in the survey but didn’t respond. 

With Arc’teryx having a large parent company, it’s difficult to find out how their products are made or what materials are used. Some of their apparel have links to the supplier site, like when they’re Bluesign® certified, but we don’t get full details on materials used or the manufacturing. 

Waste is a big driver of climate change and manufacturing is a big driver of waste. So sharing their supplier list is a good step, but Arc’teryx needs to work on being more transparent about production and how they work to reduce the waste that goes with it.

How Sustainable Are the Materials That Arc’teryx Uses for Their Products

Most athletic and outdoor wear contain cotton, polyester, nylon, spandex, rubber, and plastic. Cotton is the only one of these that doesn’t come from fossil fuels. Arc’teryx uses a significant amount of polyester, nylon, and leather. If they’re acting sustainably, we should find that they’re using recycled or sustainably sourced content for these. Unfortunately, we don’t always get that level of detail from them.

Arc’teryx uses some recycled and responsibly sourced materials, but their focus on making durable products leads them away from sustainable materials. They are doing research into non-toxic chemicals for waterproofing so their materials can be recycled.

  • What types of materials does Arc’teryx use for their products? The shopping guide Ethical Consumer gave Arc’teryx a score of 7 out of 20, noting that they use a substantial amount of leather and have a poor cotton sourcing policy. The guide tells us they use wool and down, and gives them credit for having a policy requiring their supply chain provide Responsible Down Standard (RDS) and Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) certificates.

    On their website, Arc’teryx gives some materials information but not all. Sometimes they list content that is eco-friendly, like recycled polyester, but none of the product descriptions we looked at gave a full breakdown of materials.
  • Are the materials used by Arc’teryx virgin (new) or non-virgin (recycled)? A search for “recycled” on the Arc’teryx products page returns 32 items, most of which contain recycled polyester. Their product listings often include a sustainability section under Full Product Features that gives us some details, like if it contains Bluesign® certified materials or recycled polyester, but doesn’t tell how much is virgin vs. recycled.

    So while there is some recycled content being used by Arc’teryx, the best we can tell most of their materials are virgin. 

How Sustainable Are the Manufacturing Processes of Arc’teryx

In the apparel industry, manufacturing is the biggest cause of climate change inducing waste and emissions. From wasted fabric on the cutting floor, to the chemicals used on materials and the carbon output from operations – these all have a huge impact on our environment.

With 90% of Arc’teryx products being made in Asia, where factories are known to act unethically and unsustainably, we need to see more third-party oversight and reporting on their supply chain before we can consider their manufacturing eco-friendly.

  • What does Arc’teryx do to reduce their chemical usage? While it’s good that Arc’teryx has moved away from using PFCs for waterproofing, a chemical known to cause environmental and health concerns, their use of Gore-Tex isn’t much better. It’s made from fossil fuels, the leading cause of climate change, and is considered bad for the environment because of the chemicals used to make it and the fact that it’s not biodegradable. When Ethical Consumer did a review on Ethical Trainers they pointed out that Arc’teryx scored a “worst” rating by their shopping guide for their toxic chemical policy. 
  • Which organizations has Arc’teryx joined to showcase their social sustainability? They support initiatives like The Conservation Alliance, which fights to protect the outdoors, but this doesn’t prove how sustainable they are. We need them to get certified by organizations like B-Corp, and WRAP, that monitor supply chain manufacturing.

While Arc’teryx is making progress to improve manufacturing practices with their ReCut program that reduces waste in production, or their use of Dope-Dye which significantly reduces the water and chemicals used to dye materials, they’ve got a lot more work to do.

How Sustainable Is the Packaging Used for Arc’teryx Products

Nearly half of the plastics made are for product packaging. While some packaging is necessary or is required by law, some of it isn’t needed. Since plastics are made with fossil fuels, can’t be easily recycled, and take hundreds of years to break down, they are a huge contributor to the carbon footprint and waste caused by product manufacturing.

Arc’teryx doesn’t talk about their packaging so it’s hard to know if they take actions to reduce it or use recycled materials.

  • How much packaging do they use? It’s hard to say how much packaging Arc’teryx uses or what it is made of, since the company doesn’t share any of this information. Not on their Sustainability page or Climate Report.
  • How sustainable is their packaging? We found nothing to show that they’re using responsible packaging or work to minimize it. The word packaging shows up on the Arc’teryx Sustainability page once under a section on microplastics and how a big cause of that contaminant is packaging. But they don’t say what they do to reduce it.

If they were using recycled packaging, or addressing how to reduce packaging, it seems like they would talk about it, but they don’t.

How Sustainable Is the Usage of Arc’teryx Products

Having sustainable products also means making them durable so they last. It is estimated that 64% of garments made end up being disposed of in landfills within a year after purchase. So it’s important to know if Arc’teryx makes their products last so people keep using them for a long time.

Their products are durable and expensive, so it’s likely people will own Arc’teryx sportswear for a long time. But durability is not the only thing that makes a product sustainable. Even long-lasting products will eventually end up in a landfill.

What Is the Lifespan of Arc’teryx’s Products

The lifespan of a product is the period of time from when a product leaves the manufacturer to the moment it becomes obsolete or cannot be used anymore and is thrown out.

Arc’teryx products are definitely made to last. It’s their durability that makes their products somewhat more sustainable than many other sportswear brands.

  • Can Arc’teryx’s products be considered fast fashion? Arc’teryx sportswear isn’t fast fashion, it’s expensive apparel that fast fashion tries to mimic. And while it might be less likely to end up discarded like other trendy clothes, the brand has grown in popularity to become more than hiking gear – it’s now popular everyday streetwear. This means they’re more likely to be copied or discarded to be replaced by the latest designs.

The thing that makes Arc’teryx a bit more sustainable than other sportswear is their durability. While this helps keep their apparel out of landfills, eventually it will end up there. 

How Is the Quality of Arc’teryx’s Products Rated

When a product is rated as being high-quality it reflects on its durability and lifespan potential. If it is made poorly or from inferior materials, it is not likely to last long or be rated very well by consumers.

Arc’teryx customers rave about the quality of their products. The company may have challenges with their order process and customer service, but customers love owning their gear.

It’s not surprising to see Arc’teryx brag about their high-quality gear on their website and in their marketing, it seems their customers brag about it too. In fact, some of the negative reviews we read said the customer liked (or even loved) the gear they bought, but they marked them down for poor service.

How Sustainable Is the End-of-life of Arc’teryx Products

While a big environmental impact from the apparel industry is the processing of materials and manufacturing of products, the mounting piles of clothes that end up in landfills is becoming an equally big problem. So it’s important for apparel companies to use materials that can be reused or recycled, and that don’t cause damage if they do end up in a landfill.

Arc’teryx reconditions and resells apparel through their ReGEAR trade-in program. While reuse is a step toward circularity, what’s key is making gear that can be recycled; theirs can’t. 

How Circular Are Arc’teryx’s Products

Circularity depends on us being able to reuse materials so they don’t end up in landfills. This is the only way to have circular apparel. Though their materials can’t yet be recycled, we did find they try to keep their products in use longer with a trade-in program where they recondition their used gear.

Arc’teryx says they support circularity by making durable products, but that doesn’t make their products circular. They need to make them recyclable. They seem to be heading in that direction with their research into non-toxic waterproofing.

Circular economy: A circular economy within the textiles industry refers to the practice of clothes and fibers continually being recycled, to re-enter the economy as much as possible rather than ending up as waste. | A circular textiles economy is in response to the current linear model of the fashion industry, in which raw materials are extracted, manufactured into commercial goods and then bought, used, and eventually discarded by consumers.”


Arc’teryx doesn’t use materials that can be recycled, but they do try to reuse existing materials. In this video, they say they take apart traded in garments they can’t repair and use the materials to make more gear, like bags and packs. However, we can’t find any of these for sale on their website.

They are doing research that would make their materials more recyclable. This report from tells us they’ve partnered with UBC Okanagan, a University in Canada, to research non-toxic ways to waterproof materials. The goal is to make waterproof fabrics that can be recycled and made from biodegradable content.

Making long lasting apparel doesn’t mean their products are circular. They need to find ways to use materials that last but can also be recycled or biodegrade when they hit landfills.

Are Arc’teryx’s Products Made for Recycling

Natural fibers, like cotton, are usually the easiest to recycle as they can be taken apart and reused as thread or yarn to make more material. Synthetics, on the other hand, aren’t easy to take apart and reuse. So, the types of materials Arc’teryx’s products are made from make a difference as to how easily they can be recycled.

Arc’teryx products are not made to be recycled, but they try to keep them in use with ReGEAR, a trade-in program where they take back and recondition their products for resale. Unfortunately, they only take select apparel made by their company, and don’t have a recycling program to capture and reuse materials.

In 2021, Arc’teryx launched their ReBird program that includes ReGEAR, where they refurbish and resell old gear they get through their trade-in program, and ReCARE that gives tips on how to care for their products so they last longer. The ReGEAR trade-in program gives customers a gift card worth 20% of the original retail value of the item traded-in. Unfortunately, they don’t take back all their products – just the ones they can refurbish like jackets, tops, pants and shoes. 

It’s good that Arc’teryx refurbishes their apparel, but in order for a product to be circular it needs to be made out of materials that can be recycled in order to keep it out of the environment. 

Will Arc’teryx’s Products Go to Waste at Their End-of-life

No matter how durable a product is, it will one day no longer be useful. When it comes to apparel, which is often disposed of before it’s end-of-life, it’s critical we avoid sending it to landfills when we’re done wearing it. Reports say landfills are where nearly 80% of our clothing eventually goes. So only about 20% ever gets reused or recycled.

Though their products last long, they’re made with synthetic materials that can’t be recycled. This means, ultimately Arc’teryx products will go to landfills at their end-of-life and harm the environment.

Even though they last long, Arc’teryx products will end up in landfills when they’re no longer usable. Fortunately, they’re researching how to make their apparel circular, but they’ve got a ways to go. Their Sustainability page says they contribute to circularity by reconditioning their gear to keep it in play longer. While this is important, it ignores the fact that their products can’t be recycled and will end up in landfills one day.

They tell us about waste reduction efforts in their company-owned manufacturing in Canada, where their Manufacturing Factsheet says that 10% of their products are made. But we found little information on their supply chain and what is being done to eliminate waste in all of their manufacturing. 

Is Arc’teryx Involved in Any Charities Promoting Sustainability

Their Sustainability page says they’re working with Ocean Wise on a project called the Ocean Pollution Research Program. While this is good, we would like to see more from them on this front, like joining 1% for the planet where they would donate one percent of sales (not profits) to the environment. This would be significant considering how expensive Arc’teryx products are.

Here’s How Sustainable Arc’teryx Says They Are

While Arc’teryx acknowledges that product life cycle has environmental impact, they don’t tell us how they’re planning to change their product design to reduce this impact. Their sustainability statements revolve around making durable products that last. The Arc’teryx Manufacturing Factsheet, says they believe the “strongest path to sustainability is durability.” But this ignores the fact that their products will, eventually, end up being thrown out. 

What Is the Sustainability Strategy of Arc’teryx

Currently, under Climate Action on the Arc’teryx Sustainability page, they list their priorities as:

  1. Continuing to design durable products using lower impact materials, 
  2. Reach 100% renewable energy use in their owned operations by end of 2020 and work with their suppliers to do the same,
  3. Improve energy efficiency in company owned and supply chain operations, and
  4. Grow their participation toward a circular economy with the ReGEAR program.

The Arc’teryx’s 2021 Sustainability Report says the energy they purchased in 2021 could be traced to renewable sources. They say they’ve partnered with the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), the United Nations Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action (FICCA), and The Clean Energy Investment Accelerator (CEIA), in their sustainability efforts. But supporting these organizations doesn’t make their products sustainable.

What Sustainability Marketing Messages Does Arc’teryx Share

Like any outdoor brand, their website shows people doing outdoor things, like hiking, in Arc’teryx gear. They don’t push a sustainability message, and they don’t currently promote the ReGEAR or ReCARE programs on their website. In fact, the only sustainability information we found was in the links at the bottom of their homepage

Greenwashing: behavior or activities that make people believe that a company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is”

Cambridge Dictionary

Arc’teryx talks circles around circularity. 

  • A presentation on their Who We Are page says they make durable products and that makes them sustainable. But it also says the more durable a product is the harder it is to make it circular. A product has to be circular to be sustainable.
  • Their latest Climate Report 2021 does more explaining how important an issue is, like microplastics, then it tells us what they’re doing to reduce the impact of their products.

Though they don’t really market their products as sustainable, their Climate Report sounds like they want us to believe they are, without proving it to us. So, it’s clear they use greenwashing tactics in their messaging.

How Does Arc’teryx Compare to Their Competitors

While there are more sustainable sportswear brands than Arc’teryx, companies who can prove to us they use mostly eco-friendly materials, they’re ahead of a lot of other brands because of their famously durable products. But the durability of their products is not the only thing we care about. There are a number of brands involved with organizations that help improve manufacturing and transparency. Those companies donate to causes like 1% for the Planet, and have or are working toward sustainable certifications like B-Corp, WRAP, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), and Fair Trade. Arc’teryx doesn’t appear to be doing this.

How Can You Buy More Sustainable Sports Products

As a consumer, you’d want to verify what the company says on its website about their sustainable practices. Yet, you have to watch out for the companies that use marketing buzzwords to sound good but don’t stand behind those claims.

Here are some organizations that certify companies as sustainable and provide ways to search for them:

With all these resources and a few minutes of your time, you can quickly check before you next purchase how responsible the company might be.

Final Thoughts

Arc’teryx has been saying they’re eco-friendly for so long, the crowd bought it. Online articles and reviews we found all said they are sustainable because they are durable, like this one that says they’re an “…eco-friendly, high-performance mountain gear and apparel brand.” But just because something lasts long doesn’t mean it won’t get thrown out. 

It takes a lot more than durability to call a product eco-friendly. They need to address the lifecycle of their products throughout their supply chain and share that data and, they need to get involved in organizations that verify and prove to us they’re reducing their impact, before we can call them sustainable.

Though their efforts look promising, we can’t call Arc’teryx sustainable yet. 

Stay impactful,


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