British outdoor brands Rab and Lowe Alpine (owned by Equip Outdoor Technologies Ltd.) have released their 2021 Sustainability Report. The report details specific milestones the company has achieved within its four strategic CSR pillars; Product, Planet, Partner, and People, demonstrating its bold ambitions to effect real change. It is the company’s first official sustainability report, covering the financial year 2020/21, providing insights to their employees, customers and partners about how Equip made constant progress despite a challenging year caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I have seen the impact of climate change myself; trying to guarantee winter conditions in Scotland for climbing and skiing is more difficult than it was in my younger years!” says Equip’s CEO, Matt Gowar.
When asked about the reasons for Equip’s strong commitment towards more sustainable business, he says, “I’m now in a position where I can make a difference and I have embraced the passion we have in the organization to drive this change forward.”
Matt continues, “Building our business the right way, with technical equipment and apparel designed to last, has always been part of our DNA. Sharing our journey, mapping progress, and taking pride in the people and partners who help us is extremely important to me.”
The Product thread examines sustainable product development. What measures have Equip taken to make product design and construction more environmentally conscious?
• Rab’s two most iconic insulated ranges (the Microlight and Cirrus collections) are now almost entirely made from recycled materials except for some trims. Equip is constantly sourcing and testing new possible materials to develop products that are fully made from recycled fabrics.
• In 2020, 34% of Rab’s total fabric consumption was made from recycled material. This is ten times more than in 2019.
• Equip has committed that 50% of its brands’ fabric consumption must come from recycled or renewable materials by 2030.
• 48% of Rab’s fabrics now use PFC-free DWRs, and since 2019 100% of the fabric purchased by Lowe Alpine is PFC-free.
• The company managed to extend the life of more than 7,000 products through their UK Service Centre. Driven by this success, Equip aims to extend their care and repair services to provide a higher level of support for their customers on a global level, leading to a more sustainable way of using and maintaining outdoor clothing and equipment.
The Planet thread is all about Equip’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and waste pollution.
• Equip have an ambitious emission reduction strategy to support its Net Zero 2030 target. The report details how Equip became a Climate Neutral Company in 2020, measuring itself against the internationally recognised Science Based Target methodology. Equip’s partner, South Pole, rigorously verify the carbon data and provide carbon credits to support projects that reduce emissions.
• The report openly publicises scope 1,2 and 3 emission data as verified by South Pole.
• Equip’s targets include a 42% reduction in absolute GHG emissions from direct operations (these scope 1 and 2 emissions include such uses as the energy used in powering offices).
• Equip have also committed to a 58% reduction in GHG emissions from purchased goods and services, per item shipped (scope 3 emissions). This covers the emissions associated with the creation of textiles, manufacturing processes and packaging.
• As a founding member of the EOG’s Single Use Plastics Project, Equip took the initiative to develop an open source polybag that contains a minimum of 50% recycled materials, in a design that allows easier re-use and provides a cleaner, more valuable material when recycled.
• To further reduce material consumption, a project to re-design all consumer on-garment hangtags resulted in a 79% reduction by weight.
The Partner thread covers relationships with partners and manufacturers. Equip has always been proactive to ensure its manufacturing partners act in a responsible way, and in 2020 they proudly became a member of the Fair Wear Foundation to further build on this responsibility. In May 2021, Equip published their first Social Report which provides insights into how they have made significant progress, despite the massive challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, on the implementation of the Fair Wear Code of Labour Practices with their supply chain partners in their first year of membership.
Equip are proud to be cultivating a thriving mountain community. The People thread explains their initiatives and how they work with partners at all levels to inspire, encourage, support and welcome people into this community. More than ever, the past year has highlighted the mental and physical benefits of spending time outdoors. The Equip brands are strongly committed to supporting organisations that enable outdoor access for everyone, no matter what their background, gender, race, sexuality or ability.
The full Equip 2021 Sustainability Report can be downloaded by clicking here, and Equip’s Social Report can be downloaded by clicking here. For further information on Rab’s and Lowe Alpine’s responsibility strategy and future plans, click here.