Shining a light on innovative eco initiatives from around the outdoor industry — from hardgoods to packaging and beyond.
From Plastic to Steel: Gnarly
Sports nutrition brand Gnarly has just transitioned its product packaging to recyclable tin coated steel cans, moving away from plastic tubs. With the move, Gnarly hopes to spearhead a movement in sustainable packaging within the supplement industry. Shannon O’Grady, COO at Gnarly Nutrition, had been thinking about ways to adopt sustainable packaging for many years, and the idea of switching to metal sparked when she was drinking from a large mouth beer can. Not only is the recycling rate of steel higher than plastic (70% compared to 7%), steel is often pulled out of landfills with magnets even when discarded. A walk down the supplement aisle of any shop selling nutrition items reveals the abundance of plastic in the category. Gnarly knows its steel cans will stand out. Plus, the cans are also hermetic, or air tight, enhancing shelf life and product integrity. Gnarly is also a member of the Plastic Impact Alliance and just signed on to be one of the 100+ brands dedicated to reshape packaging as part of prAna’s Responsible Packaging Movement.
Respect on the Slopes: Rossignol
French ski brand Rossignol is deep into a multi-decade sustainability project that looks at their manufacturing impact holistically, from where they get the energy they use, to how far they have to ship products from source to sale, and, of course, the sourcing of the raw materials they use to make their products. The program is called Respect and it has four pillars: Design, Manufacturing, Commitment to Advocacy and Community and Act — preserving the playgrounds people use Rossignol products in.
For example, Rossignol’s flagship Experience and Blackops lines of skis are maxing out their sustainable material claims — featuring 15% recycled top sheets, sustainably harvested wood cores, 70% recycled material in the bases and 100% recycled steel on the edges.
Objectives include a 40% reduction in production waste by 2025, 30% in carbon footprint by 2030 and carbon neutral by 2050. And Rossignol is committed to planting 25,000 trees to reduce 4,000 tons of CO2 from the environment.
A Green Manifesto: Scarpa
Mountain sports brand Scarpa is bring a steadfast commitment to sustainability and renewable sources to its latest winter gear, aligned with the brand’s Green Manifesto. Every boot in the brand’s popular Maestrale or Gea RS or Maestrale and Gea ski-boot family has been redesigned to incorporate Grilamid Bio and Pebax Rnew, plastics made with renewable resources, while a dollar from each sale of a boot that includes these materials will be donated to Protect our Winters (POW).
“We enacted our Green Manifesto at the start of 20201 to outline Scarpa’s commitment to sustainability to the public in an easy-to-understand manner,” said Kim Miller, CEO of Scarpa North America. “Along with the Mojito Bio, the industry’s first fully biodegradable shoe that has a performance rubber sole, the plant-based plastics used in the Maestrale and Gea are one of our most significant initiatives in the product realm this year. We’re excited to showcase that in a way that also gives back to POW, an organization that has done a lot of excellent work in raising awareness and lobbying around the effect of climate change on winter sports.”
The values at the core of Scarpa’s Green Manifesto are Sustainability, Care, Air, Respect, Performance and Authenticity — all created to help reach Scarpa’s goal of becoming B Corp Certified within the year. Scarpa’s redesigned Maestrale and Gea boots fall under the Performance pillar, which underlines the brand’s passion for creating innovative and advanced products, including Pebax Rnew and Grilamid Bio.
At Scarpa’s global headquarters in Italy, the brand is focused on bringing sustainable updates to its manufacturing process. This includes a 100% solar power powered HQ building and being a 0 Km ski-boot company — meaning the entire manufacturing process takes place at the company’s headquarters in Asolo, Italy.
Pebax Rnew is a totally organic, recyclable material first used by Scarpa in its ski mountaineering boots. The polymer is derived from castor oil, a vegetable oil extracted from a non-GMO and non-edible crop, therefore not competing with food production. Overall, the renewable material saves 32% of C02 compared to conventional materials. The Maestrale and Women’s Gea have been utilizing Pebax Rnew in their construction since 2019, while the Maestrale RS and women’s Gea RS began using it alongside planet-friendly Grilamid Bio in 2021. Grilamid Bio is also derived from the castor bean plant, and makes up the bi-injection carbon-infused shell of the Maestrale RS and Gea RS.
Tent Textile Revolution: Nemo
New Hampshire-based gear company Nemo is gaining raves for its Osmo fabric, debuting in 2022 in two of the brand’s best-selling tents. Osmo is a proprietary composite weave made from 100% recycled fabric without the use of harmful flame-retardant chemicals or fluorinated water repellents (PFAS).
The fabric innovation was honored with a ‘Best of What’s New Award’ from Popular Science magazine. Using a combination of 100% recycled yarns, the nylon fibers provide exceptional strength, while the polyester fibers resist stretching when wet. In addition to optimizing strength and water resistance, Osmo achieves water repellency with a PFC chemical-free finish, and meets flammability requirements without fire retardant chemical additives.
“Climate change, chemical impacts, and resource depletion need urgent action,” said Gabriel Rosenbrien, Nemo’s Product Development Manager. “The goal for Osmo was to develop a tent fabric that reduces environmental impact and maximizes performance, without compromise. Osmo fabrics represent a significant step forward in tent fabric sustainability and will help drive future developments.”
Osmo is available in Nemo’s best-selling backpacking tent, Dagger Osmo 2P/3P for Spring 2022, as well as its top-selling ultralight shelter, Hornet Elite Osmo 1P/2P. The brand intends to integrate the fabric into additional tents in 2023 and beyond.
Responsible Packaging Movement: prAna + More
As of December, 2021, more than 100 brands have joined the “Responsible Packaging Movement,” a program developed by CA-based apparel brand prAna to both inspire and create industry-wide change around responsible packaging. “RPM” was launched last year by prAna with brands such as Mara Hoffman, Outerknown, Toad and Co., and non-profit partners 5 Gyres and Canopy signing on.
The recent additions of more brand partners, such as Sephora, SOREL, Trek, HOKA and Burton demonstrate the connection the program is having beyond the apparel industry as brands from beauty, tech, bike and outdoor hardgoods sign on.
“RPM provides a blueprint for how brands can amplify their actions to reduce climate change by creating partnerships and openly sharing best practices in a non-competitive collaborative environment,” said prAna’s VP of product Brian Thompson.
Since 2010, prAna’s grassroots approach to reduce plastic and excess waste in its packaging has helped the brand understand the challenges of overhauling the consumer supply chain to entirely remove plastic from its consumer product packaging, a goal that prAna accomplished starting with its Fall 2021 collection. Through RPM, the brand is openly sharing its learnings and resources with brands that join the movement.
Brands interested in joining the movement can sign up at any time at prana.com/reshape-packaging. Consumers are encouraged to share ways they are eliminating plastic and virgin-sourced forest fibers from their daily lives on social media using #ReshapePackaging to build awareness.