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A Sustainability Snapshot


What if someone said to you, “When we meet to go plogging, let’s talk about SBTi, SDG, and the Savory Institute regen ag program and later we can click & collect for the weekend.” A gold star to you, if you can explain that sentence. But if you can’t, you are not alone. (See bottom of this page for de-coded sentence.)

As the eco evolution continues to give way to a lexicon of new terms, new organizations and hefty corporate sustainability reports, attempts to keep up can be daunting. To help better understand the latest developments, we’ve selected items currently on our radar, which, just to be clear, is a miniscule fraction of what’s happening within the textile industry, let alone the world of sustainability at large. Here’s how you can plug into today’s planet-positive, carbon-negative, emission-neutral conversation:

Terms to Know

Science-based targets (SBTs): Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets adopted by companies that meet a level of de-carbonization required to keep global temperature change well below 2 degrees.

Net Zero emissions:  A term used to describe any process where there is no net release of carbon dioxide (Co2). The process would be net zero if the amount taken out and the amount released were identical. A company or country can also achieve net zero by means of carbon offsetting.

Climate positive: Think of it as net-zero+, a company that removes more GHG emissions than it contributes, also known as “carbon negative.”

SDGs:  The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are 17 goals with 169 targets that all UN Member States have agreed to work towards achieving by the year 2030 with a focus on decreasing poverty, hunger and disease. The textile community often chooses to align with goals related to clean water, responsible consumption and climate action.

GRS: Global Recycled Standard, is a 3rd party certification, growing in popularity as recycling gains traction globally.  

3 Pillars: a phrase relating to corporate responsibility commitments (CRC) regarding People, Planet, and product Portfolio.

Organizations to Know

Climate Neutral: A new climate non-profit, now in its second year, with strong ties to the outdoor industry. In 2020 the organization grew its corporate carbon offset pledges by over 330 percent. On Earth Day,  April 22, 2021, Climate Neutral will certify 275+ companies, representing over $4B in revenue, and off-setting more than 1M tons of Co2.

Regenerative Organic Alliance:

Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC) was established in 2017 by a group of farmers, business leaders and experts in soil health, animal welfare and social fairness collectively called the Regenerative Organic Alliance. By adopting regenerative organic practices on more farms around the world, the Alliance aims to create long-term solutions including the climate crisis, factory farming and fractured rural economies.

Savory Institute: A Boulder, CO-based organization with expertise in regenerative rangeland management. Through partnerships with industry leaders Savory’s Land to Market program works to remove barriers that prevent farmers and brands from transitioning to the planet- positive regenerative grazing practices.

OIA Climate Action Corps: Established in 2020, the Outdoor Industry Association Climate Action Corps is made up of members that join to commit to  measure, plan and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and share their progress annually. The Corps goal is that by 2050 or sooner, the outdoor industry aspires to have a climate positive impact on society.

IPCC: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a scientific body established by the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization to examine and assess the latest scientific research into climate change. It warns that the rise in global temperatures should be limited to 1.5C to avoid dangerous impacts.

Goals to Know

Robust sustainability initiatives are now the norm in the performance textile sector. In general, suppliers are transparent about environmental responsible programs, allowing those interested access to sustainability reports via company websites. There is not, however, a one size fits all approach, when it comes to goal setting. Goal posts continue to shift and priorities differ company to company depending on internal areas of focus. In most cases, textile firms outline goals ranging from 2022 to 2050, with 2030 a frequent timeframe.

Outdoor Brand Initiatives to Know

SCARPA: A new key initiative is the goal of becoming a Certified B Corporation status by 2022. Certified B Corporations meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. This spring SCARPA will debut its first 100-percent biodegradable shoe and the first on the market with biodegradable performance rubber sole, the Mojito Bio. This shoe earned third-party certification for its biodegradability from Intertrek.

COTOPAXI: The brand’s product collection will be 100 percent repurposed, recycled or responsible by 2022. Further, Cotopaxi, a certified B Corp., has partnered with Climate Neutral, to achieve carbon neutrality in 2021.

VF Corp: In February, the company announced sustainable packaging goals that call for VF and its 20 brands across three divisions to eliminate all single-use plastic packaging, including polybags, by 2025. VF is also accelerating Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC) raw materials including cotton, leather, and wool to meet 2030 goals. l

Translation of the sentence at the top of the page: “When we meet to pick up trash while jogging, let’s talk about Science-based Target initiatives, Sustainable Development Goals and the Savory Institute regenerative agriculture programs, and later we can select and rent our outdoor gear from the specialty retailer for the weekend.”

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May 14, 2021


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