How Sustainable Is Vaude? All You Need to Know
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Hey fellow impactful ninja ? You may have noticed that Impactful Ninja is all about providing helpful information to make a positive impact on the world and society. And that we love to link back to where we found all the information for each of our posts. Most of these links are informational-based for you to check out their primary sources with one click. But some of these links are so-called "affiliate links" to products that we recommend. First and foremost, because we believe that they add value to you. For example, when we wrote a post about the environmental impact of long showers, we came across an EPA recommendation to use WaterSense showerheads. So we linked to where you can find them. Or, for many of our posts, we also link to our favorite books on that topic so that you can get a much more holistic overview than one single blog post could provide. And when there is an affiliate program for these products, we sign up for it. For example, as Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases. First, and most importantly, we still only recommend products that we believe add value for you. When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission - but at no additional costs to you. And when you buy something through a link that is not an affiliate link, we won’t receive any commission but we’ll still be happy to have helped you. When we find products that we believe add value to you and the seller has an affiliate program, we sign up for it. When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra costs to you). And at this point in time, all money is reinvested in sharing the most helpful content with you. This includes all operating costs for running this site and the content creation itself. You may have noticed by the way Impactful Ninja is operated that money is not the driving factor behind it. It is a passion project of mine and I love to share helpful information with you to make a positive impact on the world and society. However, it's a project in that I invest a lot of time and also quite some money. Eventually, my dream is to one day turn this passion project into my full-time job and provide even more helpful information. But that's still a long time to go. Stay impactful,
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Hey fellow impactful ninja ?
You may have noticed that Impactful Ninja is all about providing helpful information to make a positive impact on the world and society. And that we love to link back to where we found all the information for each of our posts.
Most of these links are informational-based for you to check out their primary sources with one click.
But some of these links are so-called "affiliate links" to products that we recommend.
First and foremost, because we believe that they add value to you. For example, when we wrote a post about the environmental impact of long showers, we came across an EPA recommendation to use WaterSense showerheads. So we linked to where you can find them. Or, for many of our posts, we also link to our favorite books on that topic so that you can get a much more holistic overview than one single blog post could provide.
And when there is an affiliate program for these products, we sign up for it. For example, as Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases.
First, and most importantly, we still only recommend products that we believe add value for you.
When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission - but at no additional costs to you.
And when you buy something through a link that is not an affiliate link, we won’t receive any commission but we’ll still be happy to have helped you.
When we find products that we believe add value to you and the seller has an affiliate program, we sign up for it.
When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra costs to you).
And at this point in time, all money is reinvested in sharing the most helpful content with you. This includes all operating costs for running this site and the content creation itself.
You may have noticed by the way Impactful Ninja is operated that money is not the driving factor behind it. It is a passion project of mine and I love to share helpful information with you to make a positive impact on the world and society. However, it's a project in that I invest a lot of time and also quite some money.
Eventually, my dream is to one day turn this passion project into my full-time job and provide even more helpful information. But that's still a long time to go.
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. In Europe one brand that stands out as being known for sustainability is Vaude, located in Germany. So we had to ask: How sustainable is Vaude?
Vaude is a leader at being climate-neutral; they’ve won awards and have been called a sustainability leader. Transparency in their supply chain may be an issue, but they’re working on getting better at this. With all Vaude is doing to be sustainable it’s easy to call them a planet-friendly brand.
Ok, we’ve given you the overall summary of Vaude’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 Vaude’s involvement in sustainability-promoting organizations. Let’s start with the big picture.
Here’s How Sustainable Vaude Is
Right up front, Vaude looks pretty sustainable. They even refer to themselves as a sustainable company. When you Google the company the results show up as: Sustainable Outdoor Clothing & Gear | Vaude. This is further emphasized when you click through to their homepage and the banner across the top says: “Keep Outdoor Cool! We Are Climate Neutral.”
“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
But to know if Vaude 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 sustainable organizations they belong to.
And to understand the sustainability of Vaude, 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 Vaude!
|The product life-cycle stages||Each stage’s sustainability|
|Production||Materials: Vaude works to use sustainable textiles and is committed to not using chemicals that are bad for the planet, like PFA’s. They’ve received a lot of praise for the eco-friendly materials they use.|
Manufacturing: In company-owned manufacturing facilities, Vaude is a leader in sustainability and fair trade. Where they fall short is with their textile suppliers, but they know it and are working to get better.
Packaging: Vaude uses 100% recycled plastic bags and 75% recycled cardboard. They also work with suppliers to eliminate excess packaging wherever possible.
|Usage||Lifespan: Their product design includes trying to use biobased textiles and recycled content, while also making their products last and not damage the planet when they get thrown out. |
Quality reviews: User reviews mostly support that Vaude products are durable. They are highly rated and customers seem to like their products.
|End-of-life||Circularity: Vaude wants us to keep using their products for a long time. They offer repair parts and services, and design them with planet-friendly and recyclable materials.|
Recycling: Vaude products are more recyclable than other sportswear brands because they’re durable and can be reused. Their Green Shape strategy is introducing more biobased materials which may be more recyclable than synthetics.
Waste: Some Vaude apparel is 100% biodegradable, like their fleece made from Tencel, a wood-based textile. Using biobased and biodegradable textiles means they don’t harm the planet when thrown out.
How Sustainable Is the Production of Vaude Products
To determine if Vaude’s products are sustainable we have to look at how they’re made. Are factory emissions monitored and actions taken to reduce them? Does Vaude keep material waste at 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 Vaude is sustainable.
Vaude is a leader in sustainable manufacturing. Their Green Shape strategy leads the industry and sets standards for what it means to use sustainable materials and processes.
Vaude isn’t rated by the Fashion Revolution’s Transparency Index Report. But they aren’t listed as a company that didn’t respond with data, meaning they weren’t asked to participate. This is probably because Vaude is less of a fashion company and more of a sporting goods and cycling gear company, so we didn’t have a problem with it.
Here are some reviews we did find on how sustainable Vaude is:
- Shop Ethical lists Vaude as a mountain sports company giving them a B rating, which means they give Vaude some praise and no criticisms.
- Green Room Voice, an organization that evaluates companies on how well they communicate sustainability, calls Vaude “Germany’s most sustainable outdoor brand,” and gave them a score of 14 out of 15 for their sustainability and transparency.
- Ethical Consumer gave Vaude a middle-grade rating on their environmental, carbon, and toxic chemical management reporting, saying that Vaude needs to work on having 100% responsible materials. They did, however, give Vaude the best rating for not using PFA’s for water repellant in any of their products, including their footwear and backpacks.
For a sports equipment and apparel company, Vaude is looking quite promising on the sustainability side for the production their products.
How Sustainable Are the Materials That Vaude Uses for Their Products
Most athletic and outdoor wear contain cotton, polyester, vinyl, rubber, and plastic. Cotton is the only one of these that doesn’t come from fossil fuels. What’s most impressive about Vaude is they disclose every material they use in their products. From the inside out you will know what was used to make Vaude’s sportswear.
Vaude works to use sustainable textiles and is committed to not using chemicals that are bad for the planet, like PFA’s. They’ve received a lot of praise for the eco-friendly materials they use.
What types of materials does Vaude use for their products?
Vaude gives a breakdown of the materials used in every product description. We looked at a lot of their garments and found they’re made with mostly synthetic and not natural content, but they use mostly recycled materials for this.
The most common materials are polyester, polyurethane, polyamide, rubber, elastane/spandex, mesh, canvas, and terry cloth.
Are the materials used by Vaude virgin (new) or non-virgin (recycled)?
Vaude uses a material called polyamide in a lot of their products, so we had to look into what this is.
- Polyamide consists of a number of materials that are both natural and synthetic. While synthetics are made from fossil fuels, instead of using virgin fossil fuels Vaude uses recycled plastic from old tires to make a cleaner crude oil alternative.
- When Vaude lists polyamide in their product descriptions they tell us what percentage of it is derived from recycled materials, which in most cases is 80 – 100%. Some of this comes from recycled plastic bottles.
Vaude says they look for ways to use sustainable materials at the beginning, when they design their products. Their materials policy regulates what is used, as well as where the material comes from. And they start this from the beginning with the design of their products.
Is Vaude part of any organizations to “prove” their sustainability?
- Received the Green Button award for 90% of their products. This state seal from the German government certifies that they use textiles that are socially and ecologically sustainable.
- A member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and uses SAC’s apparel industry Higg Index for tracking the sustainability of products throughout the supply chain.
- Their products are sustainably certified by:
- the Fair Trade Foundation, which works with farmers and businesses to secure sustainable livelihoods for workers
- the Global Organic Textile Standard which sets standards for ecological and social responsibility, and
- the Science Based Targets Initiative that sets emissions targets based on scientific research.
- Vaude is a Bluesign® Systems Partner, which targets a holistic approach to textile use.
- Green Talent referred to them as a company that “sets ecological and social standards worldwide.” Sponsored by the German Federal Minister of Education and Research, Green Talent strives to build international cooperation in sustainability research.
- In 2008 Vaude was one of the first outdoor companies to receive EMAS (Eco Management and Audit Scheme) certification, Europe’s leading environmental award.
- Since 2013 Vaude has been reporting their specifications to the Global Reporting Initiative Standard (GRI), which sets criteria for sustainability reporting.
From what we’ve learned about the materials they use and the recognition they have gained for their eco-friendly products, Vaude is looking pretty good on the sustainability front for the materials used for their products.
How Sustainable Are the Manufacturing Processes of Vaude
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, making apparel – these all have a huge impact on our environment.
In company-owned manufacturing, Vaude is a leader in sustainability and fair trade. Where they fall short is with their textile suppliers, but they openly share that they know it and are working to get better.
Where does Vaude produce their products?
Vaude products are made in
- South Korea
- Myanmar (Burma)
Vaude list how many producers are in each country, but they don’t provide exact locations. While they do a lot to ensure sustainable practices at their production facilities, they still have work to do on the supply chain where they get their materials.
- Transparency in their supply chain is where Vaude is weak. Wikirate’s Clean Clothes Campaign gave them a 5 out of 10 rating, showing that while Vaude discloses who their manufacturers are they are not transparent beyond a basic pledge to be sustainable. Vaude says they audit suppliers in high-risk countries.
- The Fair Wear Foundation gave Vaude an 87% rating, or leader status, which means they met most of the Fair Wear requirements toward improving labor practices.
- But Fashion Checker didn’t rate Vaude well on this front. They gave them 3 out of 5 stars on supply chain transparency, and an E rating on wages because Vaude does not prove that workers in their supply chain are making a living wage.
- The 3 star rating was due to what Vaude says about their wages and their membership in the Fair Wear Foundation.
What does Vaude do to reduce their CO2 emissions?
It’s one thing for a company to say they are climate or carbon-neutral, but to know for sure, a third-party organization has to audit their production to make sure everything they do reduces their impact or at the very least doesn’t increase emissions.
- The production facilities owned by Vaude are eco-certified by Europe’s EMAS (Eco Management and Audit Scheme) as being 100% climate neutral. Emissions that are unavoidable are offset through myClimate.
- Vaude is a member of the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) which sets standards to show corporations what they need to do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all production. Vaude says they are using these standards to set targets and tackle emissions along their supply chain.
While these standards and ratings look good for the production of Vaude garments, there is work to be done on the textiles they use and the supply chain they get them from.
For now, however, Vaude’s product descriptions tell us how much of the material is made from recycled materials and that this reduces their CO2 emissions by as much as 50%.
What does Vaude do to reduce their water consumption?
In their German facility, Vaude uses a rainwater collection system to reduce the amount of municipal water they use. This is verified in their EMAS certification by the German government.
They still have work to do on their supply chain where Vaude says they are working to enforce programs like the bluesign® strategy, a system that reduces water use in the dying of materials by 30%.
What does Vaude do to reduce their chemical usage?
In 2001, Vaude was the first outdoor company to develop an entire product line, Base Layer, using the bluesign® standard which tracks the lifecycle of materials specifically to eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals. They’ve also made some other changes along the way.
- In 2016, Vaude signed the Greenpeace Detox Commitment to make fluorocarbon free products.
- Vaude’s use of recycled polyamides in their apparel and camping gear reduces the use of chemicals in production through their mass balance recycling program.
Which organizations has Vaude joined to showcase their social sustainability?
Vaude belongs to a number of organizations that reflect how sustainable they are which includes being a member of the German Alpine Association (DAV), the Fair Wear organization, and they follow the German Sustainability Code which supports the development of sustainable strategies and reporting. They are an ISO-14001 certified company which means they meet international environmental management standards.
So that’s how they make their products, let’s look at what happens when they ship those products to stores and customers.
How Sustainable Is the Packaging Used for Vaude 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 manufacturing.
Packaging is hard to control because it’s needed to protect products when shipped. In their facilities, Vaude uses 100% recycled plastic bags and 75% recycled cardboard. They also work with suppliers to eliminate excess packaging wherever possible.
How much packaging do they use?
It’s clear Vaude recognizes packaging to be a problem, and it is clear plastics can’t be avoided (yet), mostly because they protect garments from getting ruined when shipped. On their packaging page, Vaude lists how much plastic and cardboard is used in their company-owned manufacturing.
How sustainable is their packaging?
Vaude use 100% recycled plastic bags made from post-industrial plastic waste which is certified with the Recycled Claims Standard set by the Textile Exchange organization, and 75% of cardboard they use is from recycled materials. Vaude’s packaging information page says they are working on ways to use post-consumer plastics, but due to contamination, this is challenging for any company to do.
In 2014, Vaude issued packaging guidelines for suppliers with the goal to make unavoidable packaging as eco-friendly as possible. In addition to using recycled content, they also have strategies to reduce how much is being used, like tighter packing of products.
Vaude admits they still have work to do in this area with their suppliers.
While Vaude may be working on reducing packaging and how much of it ends up in landfills, we also need to know how much they work to keep their products from ending up there, too.
How Sustainable Is the Usage of Vaude 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 Vaude makes their products to last so people keep using them for a long time.
Their product design includes trying to use biobased textiles and recycled content, while also making their products last and not damage the planet when they get thrown out.
What Is the Lifespan of Vaude’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.
- Vaude’s Green Shape collection uses recycled polyamide that can be as durable as virgin polyamides, but this material is also known to be repairable. This means that Vaude’s Green Shape collection is made to last longer, and is specifically made to be repairable. They also offer a repair service to help with this.
- Vaude’s Green Shape criteria sets standards for design and production in order to influence how their products are made and the lifecycle. Nowadays, 95% of Vaude’s products use this criteria which includes assessing the recyclability of the products and environmental impact if they are thrown out.
Vaude looks at quality and sustainable material standards at the beginning of the design process, which includes making sure their products are repairable.
Are Vaude’s products designed to last?
Vaude’s Green Shape strategy is all about making products that last and have minimal impact on the environment when disposed of.
- They have a Care and Repair program aimed at keeping their products out of landfills.
- Vaude offers replacement parts for their products and instructions on how to use their repair service.
Can Vaude’s products be considered fast fashion?
We would never think of Vaude apparel as fast fashion. They’re more bent on fighting against fast fashion.
For example, take a look at this page on “Slow Fashion Versus The Throwaway Society” where they encourage people to shop less, take good care of what we have, and work to repair or donate stuff when it doesn’t work or we no longer need it.
So, if Vaude is recognized for making durable products and actively fighting against fast fashion we would expect them to be well rated by consumers and outside reviewers.
How Is the Quality of Vaude’s Products Rated
When a product is rated as being high-quality it reflects on it’s durability and lifespan potential. If it is made poorly or from inferior materials, it is not likely to last or be rated very well by consumers.
Vaude products are highly rated in reviews and overall customer feedback is that people like their products. Most users say that Vaude products are pretty durable.
How do users rate the quality of Vaude’s products?
When we looked at sites for their retail partners, we found the majority of Vaude products received four or five stars, and every Vaude apparel item we looked at on Amazon showed an average of at least four out of five stars. There’s also a number of great third-party reviews.
- Life in the Saddle reviewed Vaude’s Moab MTB Clothing Collection and really loved it. Apparel Insider’s review of a Vaude fleece made from Tencel, which is a fully biodegradable material, was full of praise.
- The ISPO Consumer Insights Report for the fourth quarter of 2021, a European standards company that reviews sports products, says Vaude is one of the top five brands with outdoor and sports enthusiasts.
- The third-party review site Trusted Review rated 51 Vaude products, and gave them all an overall rating of 9 out of 10. Though some quality and feature ratings were in the 7’s, none of the things the products were reviewed on scored below a 7.
- When we checked trustpilot for customer reviews, we found they were pretty mixed. A number of people loved the products, but there were some complaints on customer service and quality. Of the 16 reviews about Vaude on this site the overall average rating was poor. It’s important to note, however, that most of these reviews are over five years old.
What’s great about Vaude is that they ask for feedback, good or bad. Their customer satisfaction page gives customers an easy and convenient way to email complaints, call their customer portal with questions, and points people to online reviews.
So if the reviews are pretty good we would hope that people use Vaude products for a long time, but let’s look at what happens when people are done using them and they get discarded.
How Sustainable Is the End-of-life of Vaude Products
Every material we use needs to be reused or it will end up in a landfill. Eventually, stuff wears out and the products we own or clothes we wear aren’t usable anymore. That’s why it’s important for manufacturers to consider what happens to their products after we’re done with them.
The only way to be circular with any product is to make it from materials that can be reused. Vaude does a good job of using textiles that can be recycled or are eco-friendly and won’t harm the planet.
How Circular Are Vaude’s Products
Biobased, biodegradable, and natural materials are more planet-friendly because they are easier to recycle and make other products from them. And, if they do end up in landfills they biodegrade back to the natural earth they came from.
Vaude wants us to keep using their products for a long time. They offer repair parts and services, and design them with planet-friendly and recyclable materials whenever possible.
“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.”Wikipedia
Textiles used to make apparel are usually hard to recycle, mostly because they contain synthetics. Vaude recognizes this and looks seriously at what materials they use right at the beginning from the design process.
Are Vaude’s Products Made for Recycling
Natural fibers, like cotton and wool, 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 Vaude’s products are made with make a difference as to how easily they can be recycled.
Vaude’s design process includes considering the repairability, materials efficiency, and the recyclability of every product they develop.
This is part of their latest version of product strategy they call Green Shape 3.0, which is all about moving to more bio-based textiles and a closed-loop economy. They work with the World Resource Institute, an organization that helps businesses and governments build circular-economies and conserve natural resources.
Vaude products are more recyclable than other sportswear brands because they’re durable and can be reused. Their Green Shape strategy is introducing more biobased materials which may be more recyclable than synthetics.
Recycling and disposal of their products is a big consideration in Vaude’s Green Shape design and one of the reasons they’re considered a leader in sustainable sportswear. So we wanted to know what really happens when their products are thrown out?
Will Vaude’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 down to apparel it is becoming critical to avoid having it end up in landfills, which reports say is where nearly 80% of our clothing eventually goes, meaning that only about 20% ever gets recycled.
Some Vaude apparel is 100% biodegradable, like their fleece made from Tencel, a wood-based textile. Using biobased and biodegradable textiles means they don’t harm the planet when thrown out.
It’s important to look at more than how Vaude’s products are made, we also need to determine what happens to them when they reach their end-of-life. What kind of an impact do they make when they are disposed of?
We thought it was interesting enough to share that Vaude uses 100% biodegradable fleece made from Tencel. And they’ve been moving to having more products like this with their Green Shape strategy, a strategy with the goal of using only materials that are at least 50% recycled or biobased by 2024.
This focus of moving from synthetic to biobased materials is not easy to do, but based on their track record as a sustainable manufacturer we’re pretty sure Vaude is going to accomplish it.
Is Vaude Involved in Any Charities Promoting Sustainability
Vaude has been concerned about the recycling of apparel for a long time. In 1994, they started the Ecolog Recycling Network, with the intent of recapturing their materials. However, they found they didn’t get a lot coming back since their products are made to last and people seemed to hang onto them.
- Nowadays, Vaude works with an organization that collects clothing for recycling and repurposing called Fair Wertung, that collects clothing for recycling and repurposing. This nationwide network of non-profit organizations collects old clothes to benefit social projects.
- Vaude has been partnering with the Word Wildlife Federation (WWF) on environmental protection for years to find ways to address environmental impacts.
- They work with the World Resource Institute, an organization that helps businesses and governments build circular-economies and conserve natural resources.
Here’s How Sustainable Vaude Says They Are
To better understand where Vaude stands on sustainability nowadays, let’s quickly have a look at their backstory and current company structure.
How Did Vaude Start and Where Are They Now
Vaude is a German manufacturer of mountaineering and camping equipment, which includes outdoor apparel and sporting goods. The company has a fun and interesting history.
- 1974 – founded by Albrecht von Dewitz who developed a passion for mountain sports while spending time in the Alps. The company name is derived from Albrecht initials v.D. [fau’de].
- 1980 – opened new headquarters in Obereisenbach in Southern Germany
- 1992 – launched a sports line of apparel and accessories for cyclists
- 2002 – joined the German Alpine Association (DAV) the world’s largest climbing association
- 2006 – acquired Edelrid a climbing and camping gear company
- 2009 – company passed down from Albrect to his daughter Antje von Dewitz
- 2010 – launched their Green Shape Core Collection of sustainable gear
Vaude remains a family owned business now headquartered in Tettnang, Germany, where they make a number of their products. The company also owns production facilities in Bỉm Sơn, Vietnam.
What Is the Sustainability Strategy of Vaude
In 2014 Vaude issued their first corporate social responsibility and sustainability report that tells a pretty impressive sustainability story. We learned about their product and manufacturing strategies and how they have continually worked to become more planet-friendly. Vaude’s about page tells us about how they make environmentally friendly and fair products.
- 2001 – Developed the Base Layer product line that uses natural dyes and recycled materials following strict bluesign® standards to eliminate harmful substances in their supply chain.
- 2010 – Introduced their Green Shape strategy to guarantee that their product line is environmentally-friendly, made only from sustainable materials, and uses conservation methods in manufacturing.
- 2012 – Their company headquarters in Obereisenbach became climate neutral. Home to their corporate offices, they also manufacture some of their products there.
- 2022 – Reported that they met their goal to become a climate neutral company.
- By 2024, Vaude’s goal is for 90% of their products to be made with at least half of the materials being bio-based or recycled.
From their history and what they tell us about their commitment of being climate neutral, it appears that Vaude is always working to be a more sustainable company.
What Sustainability Marketing Messages Does Vaude Share
Vaude’s homepage greets us with a bold statement telling that their outdoor products are “climate neutral, environmentally friendly, and fair.”
- Vaude is a pioneer in outdoor gear that doesn’t burden the environment. Their about page says they’ve always been concerned with being climate neutral, and their goal was to be completely carbon neutral by January 1, 2022, which they now say they’ve done.
- They have an environmentally friendly and fair products page detailing their sustainability strategy and the organizations they partner with to meet these goals.
So let’s look deeper to see if they are as eco-friendly as they say. Or, are they just sharing these messages to look sustainable. We have to make sure this isn’t greenwashing.
“Greenwashing: behavior or activities that make people believe that a company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is”Cambridge Dictionary
Looking at the company information it feels like Vaude is serious about sustainability. It doesn’t look like they’re greenwashing. In fact, when we look at their history, they’ve been working on environmental issues for a while.
- In 2001, Vaude became one of the first sportswear companies to become bluesign® certified and committed to reducing the environmental impact of textiles in their supply chain.
- In 2010, they became a leading member of the Fair Wear Foundation which tracks labor practices across the supply chain.
- In 2016, Vaude made the GreenPeace Detox Commitment to have fluorocarbon free manufacturing.
- In 2017, they built a climate neutral manufacturing facility in Germany.
With everything we looked at, it feels like Vaude is just getting started in their quest for a healthier planet. But we need to make sure they’re following through on this commitment and not just trying to make themselves sound sustainable.
How Does Vaude Compare to Their Competitors
It’s hard to deny that Vaude is a leader in sustainable sportswear. They have received a lot of recognition and awards for their practices.
- The sustainable products review site Fairify rated Vaude an “A” for their transparency and called them a role model to other companies for being climate neutral. They applaud Vaude for being able to grow their company while maintaining the same carbon footprint.
- Ethical Consumer rated Vaude as one of the best companies for buying new outdoor clothing.
- Good On You gave Vaude a good rating as an outdoor wear brand, calling them “good on people, the planet, and animals.”
- In 2021, Vaude won the Outdoor Markt award for most sustainable outdoor company.
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:
- OEKO-TEX Buying Guide – search for companies with sustainable practices
- Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) – find retailers in your area with this certification
- Fair Trade – monitors companies for social, economic, and environmentally fair practices
- Ecocert – lists certified companies that say they use organic materials
- Wikirate Clean Clothes Campaign – rates apparel manufacturers
- Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) – certifies companies based on their social compliance and provides a search map to find these retailers
- B-Corp – search for companies certified to have the highest level of social and environmental standards
- The Fashion Revolution’s Transparency Index Report is data compiled from about apparel brands and how transparent they are in their practices
With all these resources and a few minutes of your time, you can quickly check before you next purchase how respectful of the planet a company might be.
There’s a lot to be said about a company whose motto is dedicated to a livable world. After everything we learned, we have no doubt that Vaude is serious about their environmental footprint. Being a family owned company gives Vaude the flexibility to not just focus on profits, like publicly traded companies do. There’s nothing easy about the battle to keep textiles out of oceans and landfills, but Vaude has taken some impressive action to do just that..
There are certain things missing that we wish we had found to be true about Vaude, such as they are not B-Corp certified or rated by the Fashion Revolution’s Transparency Index, but their evaluations and rating by European environmental and international organizations makes up for this. And when we looked deeper we found that most certified B-Corps are in the USA, Canada, Australia and South Africa.
That being said, there are very few sports equipment and apparel companies out there that are working as hard as Vaude to reduce their impact on the planet.
- World Economic Forum: These facts show how unsustainable the fashion industry is
- Vaude: Keep Outdoor Cool! We Are Climate Neutral
- Vaude History
- German Alpine Association (DAV)
- Vaude Acquires Edelrid
- Green Shape Core Collection
- Vaude CSR Report
- About Vaude
- Base Layer products
- bluesign® system standards
- Vaude’s Green Shape strategy
- Vaude: 100% climate neutral
- Vaude’s goal for 90% of materials being bio-based or recycled
- Vaude homepage: “climate neutral, environmentally friendly, and fair”
- Environmentally friendly and fair products
- Leading member of the Fair Wear Foundation
- GreenPeace Detox Commitment
- Science Direct: Life-cycle assessment (LCA)
- MIT SMR: Strategic Sustainability Uses of Life-Cycle Analysis
- Fashion Revolution’s Transparency Index Report
- Shop Ethical rating of some praise and no criticisms
- Green Room Voice praises Vaude as Germany’s most sustainable outdoor brand
- Ethical Consumer
- What is Polyamide polyamide
- Vaude’s use of organic cotton
- Vaude’s use of wool and down
- Vaude mass balance process uses old tires to make polyamide
- Vaude materials policy
- Bioswitch case study by the Effective Project
- Green Button award
- Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and apparel industry Higg Index
- Fair Trade Foundation
- Global Organic Textile Standard
- Science Based Targets Initiative
- Bluesign® Systems Partner
- Green Talent said that Vaude sets ecological and social standards worldwide
- Green Talent
- EMAS (Eco Management and Audit Scheme) certification, Europe’s leading environmental award
- Global Reporting Initiative Standard (GRI)
- Where Vaude products are made
- Wikirate’s Clean Clothes Campaign
- Vaude audits suppliers in high risk countries
- Fair Wear Foundation
- Fashion Checker
- EMAS (Eco Management and Audit Scheme)
- Vaude is 100% climate neutral
- Science Based Target initiative (SBTi)
- Supply Chain Dive: Packaging makes up nearly half of plastic waste
- Vaude’s packaging information
- Recycled Claims Standard set by the Textile Exchange organization
- Vaude’s supplier packaging guidelines
- EDGE Fashion Intelligence: Fashion Industry Environmental, Waste, and Recycle Statistics
- Textile Exchange: recycled polyamide
- Vaude’s repair service
- Vaude offers replacement parts
- Slow Fashion Versus The Throwaway Society
- Life in the Saddle reviewed Vaude’s Moab MTB Clothing Collection
- Apparel Insider’s review of a Vaude fleece
- World Resource Institute
- ABC News: Almost 80 percent of unwanted textiles end up in landfill, a report finds
- Vaude fleece made from Tencel
- What are biobased materials
- Ecolog Recycling Network
- Fair Wertung
- World Wildlife Federation (WWF) on environmental protection
- Fairify rated Vaude an “A”
- Ethical Consumer: one of the best companies for buying new outdoor clothing
- GoodOnYou.eco rating calling them “good on people, the planet, and animals”
- Outdoor Markt
- OEKO-TEX Buying Guide
- Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
- Fair Trade
- Wikirate Clean Clothes Campaign
- Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP)
- B-Corp: Find a B-Corp