SUSTAINABILITY: THE BIG PICTURE
Before buying something, think again.
Even though more sustainable product innovations and solu tions are great, they seldom have a positive net effect. They still use resources. To become truly sustainable, the most important step is to consume less.
For us, as individuals, that means not getting things that we don’t need. The second most important thing is that when you do get something you need, you make sure that you choose a product carefully and look after it so that it serves the intended purpose – for you or somebody else – for as long as possible.
This is really quite old school and it’s common sense too, so it’s strange that it now seems nearly radical. But along the way, most of us have acquired other habits.
For a brand, the logical conclusion is that we only make prod ucts that people really need and we make them very durable, user friendly, easy to take care of and repair.
With those principles in place, we come to what we normally mean when we talk about sustainability: selecting materials, production method and location, and transport in the least resource consuming and polluting way, while also not exploit ing people.
And then, when we’re finally at the end of the product life cycle (once the products are not fit for use anymore after exhausting all possibilities for repairing and passing on), they should not end up in landfill but be recycled or break down (ideally not only being biodegradable in a controlled setting, but actually being compostable).
Does this seem austere?
”Simple”, as in a ”simple lifestyle”, is not to be confused with ”easy”. With so many options readily available at our finger tips, it’s more difficult to remove things from our lives than to add them. It’s difficult to conquer the fear of missing out when we say, no, not that, not that. But if this process is done with discrimination, what you end up with is less noise and more focus on the things which really matter to you.
And fortunately, there are many things which are freely avail able and not a resource that we need to compete for or exploit - such as air to fill your lungs with; such as moving, and the joy and energy that it brings.
At ICEBUG, making products that people really need is indeed the very foundation of what we do, since we’ve built the brand on solving the problem of slipping. And everybody that lives in our climate needs at least a couple of pairs of good shoes for different weather conditions (two pairs that you alternate also last longer than wearing one pair everyday until they wear out and then wearing out the second pair). But you don’t need a pair for every single activity, so we always strive to make our shoes versatile. And we have a very strong commitment to and track record in quality and durability, though this is an area where we definitely can improve further (running shoes being the most challenging, since the wear is extreme and being light, soft and flexible is also necessary). A smaller part of our effect on the environment is the operation
of the company. That’s really quite similar to an up-scaled household. So here we go again: only get things that we really need, make sure that they will last for a long time (by selec tion, design, and caring for them), choose alternatives with less of a negative environmental impact, for energy, choose renewable sources, eat more plant based food, when possible take the train rather than the plane, try to offset CO2 emis sions that we have to create.
We base our understanding of what is fully sustainable on the four principles of the Natural Step. https://thenaturalstep. org/
Huge challenges remain for us – as for the footwear industry at large – when it comes to kicking oil dependency for raw materials, getting rid of potentially harmful adhesives and chemicals and introducing a realistic end-of-life solution. Our most hands-on-work here consists of reviewing the prod ucts currently in our line, digging deeper into the different supply chain levels, getting rid of harmful finishing treatments, unifying materials and changing to better materials and dye ing methods. Those are the small systematic steps, but they matter a lot since we’re starting with our best sellers and that’s where the majority of our volume is.
To challenge and be able to take real leaps forward, we’re also participating in cross brand collaborations to lift up the best possible solutions available at the moment. Stay tuned and join the project at https://innovation.ispo.com/pages/pro jekteDavid Ekelund. CEO.
ICEBUG SUSTAINABILITY REPORT
options and weigh up our decisions with the aim of becoming a sustainable brand while keeping the business profitable. We have set our goals together and those are verified by man agement. Every department has their own sustainability man ager while everyone in the company has their own projects to reach the company targets.
In this report you will find new people writing about their views on sustainability related to their work. Whether it is cus tomer service, event managing, recruiting new people or sell ing on the market where sustainability is part of every sale, all these aspects must be considered when talking about com pany level commitment. We’ve got it.Henrik Tuomas, Quality Control
Welcome to our second sustainability report. In one year we have made progress on many levels. One example is that you will find this report as an integrated part of our homepage and information channel. For a small company it’s a big effort to tackle sustainability and report on it. We have had great support from many instances and tools on our way develop ing a better company, making everyday choices for a good and even better tomorrow.
Sustainability has been our guideline for a long time and right from the beginning our whole reason for being has been the good cause. We want to enable people to go out and enjoy the outdoors, no matter what the conditions.
We started our focused sustainability work in 2015 by partici pating in the Peak Innovation project for creating a strategy for becoming more sustainable at a company level. The whole company participated and our important supply chain part ners were included from the very first steps. By creating a strategy we also envisioned our position in the industry 20 years from now, being industry leader in grip technology with products that are manufactured in a sustainable way, and where Icebug is part of a circular society. We offer our commu nity products that are safe to use and produce. Also we want to create products that are engineered for re-use after their initial purpose, with all materials eventually coming back into circulation with no wasted resources.
Company level commitment:
Making a difference in the industry is far more challenging than gaining the trust of our customers. Although we are tiny in the world of giant brands, we do demand from our partners an above average shoe brand. It is in our DNA to create long lasting products with comfort and durability for challenging conditions. It goes without sayng that quality comes first but we need to remind ourselves and take care of that during every production phase.
Sustainability is deeply rooted in Icebug. From the smallest of daily actions to future business planning we consider the
Sustainable apparel coalition
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is an industry leading coalition of brands, facilities, NGOs, governmental organisa tions and other actors. The common link is the will to unify all efforts for a sustainable future in our industry and to be a leader for other industries. To measure their progress, the SAC has developed a tool called the Higg index. It is a self assessment tool for brands and facilities taking into consider ation environmental as well as social and labour-related aspects. From 2018 facilities can also have their results verified by a third party verifier. A vast tool box of modules also includes the Material sustainability index (MSI) and Design and development module (DDM).
Context of pilot project:
In January 2016, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) in partnership with IDH The Sustainable Trade Initiative launched an ambitious pilot project to engage European small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) brands to utilize the SAC’s Higg Index. The objective of this project is to carve out a com mon language that can be used for the smallest to the largest brand(s) to measure their sustainability performance and accelerate impact creation. At the same time the project is investigating if this approach could be one of the answers to the European governments’ call for a scalable standardized system with a particular focus on SMEs. By taking into account political and industry needs, the SAC and their supporting partners aim to work proactively with all stakeholders towards a scalable and common standard. The project has received a great deal of support from industry stakeholders, including the Association of Swedish Fashion Brands, Danish Fashion Institute, Dansk Fashion & Textile, European Outdoor Group, Modint, Outdoor Sports Valley and 27 SME brands in nine European countries.
The pilot project, which ran until December 2017, gave SME participants the unique opportunity to access the SAC’s Higg tools and training resources to (i) measure their sustainability performance at both brand and supplier level and (ii) collabo
rate with their peers through the Higg platform. The user feedback from the SME participants is valuable and critical to fuelling future developments and improvements of the Higg suite of tools.
Icebug’s positive experience with the SAC, the Higg Index and collaboration with other brands led to our decision to join the SAC as a full member. This brings us closer to the best available tools and the opportunity to challenge our partners to improve their sustainability efforts.
Bluesign® (BS) is an effective way to reduce chemical man agement risk in textile production. BS certifies manufacturing facilities, ensuring their working methods do not affect end products in negative ways and that they comply with the latest chemical substance regulations. The bluesign® system is the best available solution for sustainable textile production. It eliminates harmful substances right from the beginning of the manufacturing process and sets and controls standards for environmentally friendly and safe production. This not only ensures that the final textile product meets very stringent con sumer safety requirements worldwide but also provides confi dence to the consumer that they are acquiring a more sustain able product.
Icebug is increasing the use of bluesign® approved textiles and nominating suppliers that are system partners. We are also looking forward joining bluesign® as a system partner as soon as the footwear module is ready.
Sweadish Chemicals Group
A knowledge platform for the benefit of member companies’ efforts to keep up to date with relevant legal requirements in the area of chemicals. It aims to
• Communicate relevant chemical requirements to their subcontractors
• Meet the demands and opinions from the media and consumers.
A knowledge platform for the benefit of member companies’ efforts to keep up to date with relevant legal requirements in the area of chemicals. It aims to:
• Communicate relevant chemical requirements to their sub contractors
• Engage with demands and opinions from the media and con sumers
There are over 100 member companies divided into two subgroups, one in the textile industry and one in the electronics industry. In the “Chemicals Group Textiles” there are compa nies mainly in textiles, furniture and retail business. The “Chem icals Group EEE” focuses on chemicals in electronic and electri cal products.
The group’s scope includes:
• Regular meetings to exchange experience of, and informa tion about, the current environmental and chemistry-related issues within products and production.
• Sharing knowledge through inviting speakers from e.g. the
chemical industry, NGOs, and agencies.
• A forum for open dialogue and contact with others in the industry.
• Access to the chemistry database developed for member companies’ needs. The database is easy to use and covers chemicals used in the textile and the electronics industry.
• The Chemicals Group is run by Swerea IVF and is linked to a network of experts such as universities, Chemistry and Environ mental Protection Agencies.
Icebug joined the Swedish Chemicals Group in late 2016 to gain knowledge and support in chemistry related issues.
We are long term partners with Swerea in product testing for chemicals. Together with specialists, we screen our shoe col lection twice a year (spring/summer and fall/winter) for possi ble chemical hazards and arrange testing in third party facili ties. After testing it is important to analyze the results according to current restricted substance regulations. Close collaboration between brand, Swerea, factory (supplier) and the third party test organization is needed and expected, and as a result we can present safer products to our customers.
The Scandinavian Outdoor Group (SOG) has a sustainability group that meets a few times a year and has an active social network. The Group shares info on the latest updates and insights within sustainability. Mr Joel Svedlund is the leader of the SOG sustainability group. SOG) has also announced that it has signed up to support the European Outdoor Group (EOG) Sustainability Charter. The charter sets out an understanding of good corporate citizen ship and responsibility and articulates the stages and aspira tions of a journey towards best practice. It was unanimously agreed at the SOG’s recent annual meeting to adopt the Sus tainability Charter and make pursuing the aspirations set out in the charter part of the membership criteria for the group’s 64 members.
Icebug signed the Sustainability charter in early 2018.
Icebug joined CSR Västsverige in 2016, to become a member in a organization that offers broad knowledge and a strong network in business responsibility issues.
CSR Västsverige (CSR West Sweden, Public & Private Social Responsibility Initiative) is a non-profit organization that was formed in 2008. With more than 290 members from the pri vate, public, and non profit sectors and academia, the associ ation is today Sweden´s largest CSR-network. With the vision statement ”a region where all organizations take responsibil ity and make a difference in the world”, CSR Västsverige helps its members to improve their ability to take responsibility for their actions, and encourages positive impact through their activitie -. in short, making business go hand in hand with increased accountability for the environment and for society.
Karin Hagberg, Projektledare, CSR Västsverige.
POPFREE is a three year project with the overall goal of creat ing a transition in sectors using PFAS to feasible non-fluori nated alternatives. Icebug joined this project as one of four teen brands in the outdoor and clothing industry working to phase out fluorinated Durable Water Repellency (DWR) treat ments used in our products. The total number of brands is over 30, ranging from cosmetics to the paper industry. More on the project can be found on the website: https://www. swerea.se/en/POPFREE
Master thesis from two industrial design engieneers from Chalmers.
“Why did Icebug choose to include students? Icebug was happy to have two dedicated and environmentally enlight ened students to work with us and challenge us in our material and design choices. Lovisa and Mariell made a research that is globally significant and informative, providing solutions and alternatives for better product design and thinking the full lifecycle of products. We must take the responsibility for the used goods already in design phase.” Henrik Toumas.
Most shoes worldwide end up at a landfill at their end-of-life, which is a non-environmentally friendly solution. To add to the difficulties the midsole of a shoe, usually made from EVA, takes approximately 1000 years to degrade in landfill. EVA is used partly due to its rebound properties and there are not many viable replacement materials available that have similar properties. But Icebug has initiated the work to source an alternative material to use as a midsole.
In Sweden there is currently no recycling of shoes - everything is incinerated for energy - and when looking at Europe there is only one recycling centre that can successfully recycle shoes: SOEX Footwear Recycling in Wolfen, Germany. There they shred the shoes and put them through different separating stages to get as pure materials as possible. 20-25% of the recycled rubber can be reused in new shoe soles or used in rubber mats, and the foam and textile fluff can be used as padding in, for example, a car seat. This is known as down cycling, where the quality of the material has been reduced from the original material – which is not the preferred type of recycling. The best option is upcycling, to retain or improve the material quality and to have a circular product lifecycle. SOEX Footwear Recycling was on pilot project level when we did our thesis but they have now had their grand opening, on 6th of June. They are part of the SOEX group and are in col laboration with the collection company I:Collect, which in turn works with H&M. I:Collect uses reverse logistics; this is not applicable for smaller companies that do not have their own stores in almost every city. But in Sweden you can hand in your Icebug shoes that cannot be reused to companies that use I:Collect, such as Naturkompaniet and also Red Cross.Mariell Bjuhr, Junior Designer
Footwear is a complex product with a lot of different materials that are glued together, making it very difficult to separate, sort and recycle them at their end-of-life. The end-of-life phase of shoes’ lifecycle is something that has not attracted so much attention in the industry, even though it is one of the biggest challenges in terms of footwear. Therefore we, Lovisa Wargsjö and Mariell Bjuhr, decided to focus our masters thesis on this theme.
The title of the thesis is: Let’s reconsider shoes end-of-life. How to facilitate a prolonged life and proper material recy cling, through system-and product-redesign.”
The most important thing to know as a consumer is that the absolute best option from a sustainability point of view is to use the product for as long as possible. Thus, it is very import ant to design products that last for a long period of time, are durable, don’t retain dirt, and can be easily repaired and reused. This is done at Icebug and has always been some thing of great importance for them - to provide shoes that will last for a long time. When you no longer want to use your shoes but they still are in a wearable condition, the best thing is to make sure that the shoes are reused locally.
Something that we found in our research is that a lot of peo ple cannot imagine using second-hand shoes, simply because they find used shoes to be disgusting and they are afraid of being injured by using old shoes that have been worn down and shaped by others. This is a big challenge to solve and something that Icebug have to work harder at, so that we can create the possibility of exchanging components that degrade and that are currently permanently fixed to the shoe, in order to facilitate different user behaviour and attitudes towards second-hand shoes.
This masters thesis gives concrete suggestions for how Ice bug can improve their sustainability work and is based on research and user behaviour analysis. After presenting the work to Icebug we could immediately sense that they care a lot about the topic and that sustainability is a core value that they have. The suggestions to improve Icebug’s end-of-life responsibility have different implementation steps, of which the first step is to become better at providing customers with information about how they can repair their shoes and where they should turn when they no longer use their shoes. This step has already been initiated and a new homepage is in the making that will provide users with better information. Design work and research into future models that can be more easily disassembled and reused are also in the pipeline.
So although there are a lot of challenges when it comes to footwear and sustainability, it is a subject that lies close to Ice bug’s heart and actions are being taken to improve and become better at this. For Icebug to improve, they need their customers to help, by taking care of their shoes, using them for as long as possible, repairing them, reusing them and in the end handing them in for recycling. We are in this together, so let’s reconsider shoes’ end-of-life!
reduction. The cardboard is made from 100% recycled mate rial according to the FSC (www.fsc.org) is are 100% recyclable. The ink used is 100% made from soya beans and we only use a black colour.
For FW17 we took away cardboard and paper fillers from the shoes. The first reactions from our sales channels were that the shoes were losing something in appearance but when the waste reduction and drive to save trees were explained, every one accepted that it was a change for good. We have also implemented our “one hang tag only” policy: information about the shoes can be found digitally instead of on paper. Finally, to inspire people to go outside and feel great we have included an extract of Markus Torgeby’s fantastic book Löpa rens hjärta. Göteborg: Offside Press AB, 2015.
PRODUCT STRATEGYKarin Möller, Head Designer & Creative Director
One of our most frequently used textiles (RipStop) is now con solidated to be 100 % recycled PET polyester solution dyed, and of course with Bluesign certificate, meaning that 58% of textile shoes’ uppers are solution dyed.
• GoreTex liners are Oeko-Tex.
• Oribi GTX GoreTex lining is Oeko-Tex and Bluesign certi fied.
THE SHOE BOX
The shoe industry is a global business, and today the main challenge is to improve the logistics. In 2016 we took the stra tegic decision that our packaging was to be seen first as an environmental burden and second as a functional marketing tool. Therefore we redesigned our shoe boxes completely with implementation as of spring/ summer 2017. Follow up in autumn/winter 2017 was done with a small adjustment for bet ter fitting and reduction of “shipped air”. New boxes with smarter construction allow us to save 12% in weight and also reduce the volumes which has direct results as a C0² emission
• Repairable BOA system closure.
• 99% of our insoles lining textile are Bluesign.
• 59% of our textiles shoes uppers are 100% Recycled PET Polyester.
SS19+FW19: All leathers Gold rated according to Leather Working Group. (Gold standard FW18: 40%, silver standard FW18: 56%.
Ongoing research for SS19 that are not confirmed yet: Change all insocks from EVA to Bloom foam. Engineered mesh now Bluesign certified and made from partly recycled yarn. Ongoing research for FW19 that are not confirmed yet: Use recycled wool as insocks instead of EVA. Change all laces to be 100% recycled Polyester.
FACTORY STRATEGYJérôme Manceau, Product director
For the second Icebug sustainability report issue, we have a lot to be happy about, given the fact that our long term part nership strategy is working well. All the hard work done by Icebug and our 2 partners Chief Vict Industries corp. and Hak san Ltd resulted in a full pot success for the 2017 production. Despite the introduction of new styles and increased volumes, we managed to deliver to our customers 100% of the pro duced shoes; this was the result of Intensive periods of early preparation and quality/chemical controls. For 2017, the con trol process for the Restricted Substance List (RSL) was initi ated earlier. It started with screening by Swerea IF and tests were performed on products taken directly from the produc tion line. Tests were performed at the SGS test centers. Also we noted our best results for quality so far with a rate of 0.2% claim for Autumn/Winter 17 (target under 1%). As we are a producer of goods, this is really where we can make the differ ence by limiting our consumption of resources and avoiding waste in order to combat climate changes.
The second positive factor that is noticeable for 2017 is the new mentality and how our influence on the different stake holders has started to pay off. From the first discussions and our will to work actively in a structured way on sustainability we have made a big journey. Today, we do not need to push our supplier base as much. Instead they are much more pro active. The Higg index tool from the Sustainable Apparel Coalition goes a long way towards explaining these mindset changes. Today our partners have registered several modules, and thus the understanding, the knowledge and even the vision for opportunities has changed a lot. The next steps will definitely be to continue working more deeply with the tools and to plan our targets and work.
However the journey to a sustainable future is far from over and challenges are still in front of us. As we continue to grow and produce more shoes, we have to plan a few years in advance to make the growth as organic as possible.
After several years of sourcing, in 2017 we started another partnership with the Fulgent Sun group. Their experience and understanding of the products we make is a perfect match for Icebug and the company’s vision for the environment will help us to be even better. The company implements human-based management, as guardians of the company’s most important assets, safeguarding the rights of employees, and maintaining harmonious labour relations. From an environmental perspec tive, their factories work on reducing carbon emissions (solar powered factory), reduce volatile organic compounds, save water resources, and manage and recycle waste in an exten sive way.
For 2018, we will commit to continue digging deeper into more sustainable footwear and take our decisions with the aim of reducing the environmental impact even further. http://www.fulgentsun.com/eng https://www.sgs.com/en/testing https://apparelcoalition.org/ https://www.swerea.se/ivf
FOREST FEMMESMichaela Lindgren, Store Manager
In August 2016 we launched our Forest Femmes concept, and it was a huge success from the start. From the beginning, we managed to inspire more women to try trail running, to elimi nate all the mental obstacles they had and to see the beauty of running in the forest, together as a group. At the beginning of 2017, we had 300 followers on our Gothenburg Facebook page and by the end of 2017 we had nearly 2,000 followers.
We have also expanded our concept to Kullavik, Stockholm,
and München. This allows us to reach more women and to help them take the step from running in the cities to running in the forest. There are lots of studies showing that running in the forest does wonders for our mental health and for our bodies. We are very glad to be able to spread our knowledge and to inspire more people to try trail running and see the benefits for themselves.
In 2018, we plan to start up 3 new groups in Uppsala, London and Stockholm. We’re also going to have a pop-up group in Odda, Norway during the summer.
Icebug Trail Sisters – together we own the forest!
The purpose of Forest Femmes is simple: To encourage more women to take up trail running. In our store, we were con stantly meeting people who wanted to try it out, but who were a bit uncertain about where and how to begin and not entirely comfortable about going out on their own.
Forest Femmes removes the obstacles by running together in groups, offering companionship as an added bonus. We place considerable focus on having fun and enjoying our sur roundings, and very little focus on speed and performance. We encourage participants to find new running companions in the group so that they can go out on runs together in addi tion to our normal joint sessions.
During sessions, we’re always there to support and cheer peo ple on. All levels are welcome and we make sure we come up with challenges to suit everyone. It’s perfectly OK to take a few extra runs up a tough slope while the others catch up, and it’s also OK to walk sometimes. We always encourage runners when they’re struggling.
We love being out in the forest and notice what a positive impact it has on our wellbeing, both physical and mental. We want everyone to have the chance to experience it!
Icebug Xperience is our collection of events, covering all the events that Icebug arrange. The purpose of Icebug Xperience is to market Icebug values and products and to show people that life is better out here in the natural environment. The portfolio contains annual running and walking events in the Nordic countries, such as Icebug Xperience West Coast Trail, Icebug Xperience Ultra, Icebug Xperience Mountain Trail, Ice bug Backyard Trail, Frozen Lake Marathon and Winter Run. The events attract thousands of outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world.
Economic, social and environmental sustainability is some thing we really care about. We want the events to grow organ ically together with the local area, so we work with local entre preneurs and innkeepers, and our vision is that most things¬ consumed at Icebug Xperience events should be made by organic, locally produced ingredients. We have the ambition of not using any disposables at our events, and when we are forced to use disposables we make sure they are recycled products. We also want to take care of the environment in the area. Most of the events therefore follow exist¬ing paths and trails, we have a strict policy regarding littering during the events and we place garbage bins along the courses.
The Icebug Customer Service team provides guidance to our customers in how to care for their shoes, depending on wear and tear and different styles and materials.
We offer our customers sustainable service options to extend product lifetime by taking care of shoes with replacement parts such as new laces, insocks, studs, zippers and leather/ textile treatments after cleaning.
When possible, customers are encouraged to visit their local shoemaker to repair shoes with minor defects, where the shoes are otherwise in a wearable condition. Icebug offer reimbursement for minor repairs instead of the customer throwing away or replacing the shoes. This is much appreci ated by the majority of customers. We always look at which and all pieces on a shoe that could be replaceable to prolong the shoe’s lifetime and we offer these spare parts to our cus tomers at no cost.
A good example of after-care is the replacement of lost studs. We send out replacement studs free of charge and have a simple and successful method of attaching them. This signifi cantly prolongs the life of the shoes.
At Icebug Customer Service we are actively trying to make repairs, however small, as environmentally friendly as possi ble. By supplying retailers and shoemakers with spare studs we are eliminating unnecessary shipping from/to end custom ers, who can simply have a repair done locally. The packaging used to send out spare parts has been updated to remove plastic packaging, in favour of paper materials. Small improve ments like these are in line with one of Icebug’s core values –to be a part of the whole. Our customers should know and feel that they contribute to a sustainable future when we offer to repair shoes, instead of throwing out a fully functional shoe with a minor defect.
In cases where a product cannot be fixed, detailed records are
kept of all claims so that carryover styles and new develop ments are improved in terms of longevity, material, comfort and usability.
groups or lobbyists and the companies tend to be reactive. To fully understand our journey, actions and plans, it is important to understand that this was not our starting point and it’s defi nitely not the ICEBUG way. We knew that we - and the whole industry – needed to do better, so we started acting – not despite but because of the challenges. We don’t have specific boxes we want to tick, we all share the vision of becoming a fully sustainable company.
Footwear is a highly complex topic, but to give a simple example, we could have announced that we wanted a fully recyclable shoe – but if this shoe would only last a few weeks, or need crazy amounts of energy or CO2 to produce, would it really be the right thing to produce such shoes? Since the recent car industry scandals in Germany, it’s time to under stand that seeing things in black and white paintings has to be questioned in the field of sustainability.
Guest article from a central-european perspective.
One of the effects we underestimated when launching our sustainability vision and efforts, were the cultural differences. This became evident, when we talked to our team-members, partners and journalists.
Within Central Europe, we often think in a pretty linear way: problem, action, result. We prefer short, simple answers –often linked to a logo, a statement and a test result. The top ics are often determined by external experts, campaigning
We hope with our efforts to be transparent about our work year after year, so that people can see us developing and we create trust in our process. For our partners it might in the first instance be more challenging too: it means fewer easy answers, and more in-depth (and complex) insights, but on the positive side, it also means an assurance that we are not about following trend topics or risking green-washing, but about changing our company and ideally the whole industry for the better.
Joakim Niemi, Sales North Sweden & North Norway.
Most of our customers have a sustainable way of thinking, but the Swedish outdoor store Naturkompaniet is something spe cial. They actively prioritize the more environmentally friendly products, they prefer locally manufactured products and they have an environmental classification of their products, whereby the most sustainable products get their own symbol “A greener choice”.
What is required to get the symbol is kept secret. They think it’s good that we are looking for more sustainable production. When it comes to Bluesign for example, they think it’s good, but it’s a bit unclear what Bluesign really means. They think the end customer does not understand Bluesign.
We need to be better at telling the end customer what Blue sign means. For example, we can have POS that explains Bluesign for the end customers and for resellers who visits our displays at trade shows etc.
The new office has become all we hoped for when opening up in 2016. And then some. We did the move to get closer to our natural habitat- nature and specifically the forest. Wintertime- The forest moves into the office as we lit up the wood stove to assist keeping the heat up in the office space. At the same time it creates a hearty and warm atmosphere for those paying us a visit as well as those of us working in the office doing our best to keep fingers warm.
Summertime- we move out to the forest. There’s almost always someone out for a trail run in this magical landscape. Different types of woods, canyons and creeks and tons of roots to trip over will keep you on your toes in a never ending mix of possible routes. As we like to share stuff we enjoy doing ourselves , all those interested are welcome to join us. Icebug Backyard Mondays is an informal way of taking a lunch run or walk together with us on our own playground, the Forest. Wintertime we’ll start the sauna and summertime we’ll dip into the river or the lake Aspen for a quick swim. Bring your lunch and join us for a bite after activity in our shared spaces.
If you enjoyed that you’ll be even more thrilled about the Ice bug Backyard Trail which is the up scaled and more thoroughly planned version of the same sort- sharing what we like to do ourselves. First time we did this was in Autumn 2017. We expected our nearest friends, families and then some to show up. Eventually- The Call from the Forest was adhered by more. Many more. In the end we had +500 runners turning up out side and inside the office on a famously rainy Gothenburg Sunday. In a wild mix of mud, water, running, walking and hanging out together the office and it’s surroundings became a spectacular backdrop and venue for a truly happy & memo rable day in the woods.
In the same spirit, the office has become a venue for numer ous other events with sharing as the common denominator. Ranging from Bachelor parties, weekly yoga sessions via birth day parties to the regional Chamber of Commerce paying us
house visits a couple of times it has become a venue for a wide range of happenings and get together.
Peter Sandblad, Office Support.
When the new Icebug offices were designed, a point was made of creating a useful kitchen area. Recycling areas were included in the blueprint and staff are encouraged to bring their lunch boxes from home or prepare meals at work, thus minimizing the use of single-use containers. In our old offices there was a mass of single use take-away containers and uten sils. We keep high quality utensils to eliminate the need for plastic ones, as well as kitchen knives from the classic Swedish brand Morakniv. https://morakniv.se/
Icebug strives to keep to a high recycling standard in every thing we do at the office. Recycling includes batteries, office paper, corrugated cardboard and electronics. Our kitchen hosts containers for sorting out waste for recycling. We sort out food and drinks packaging from metal, paper, plastic and glass – which besides food waste is the majority of the waste generated in a kitchen. Employees take turns emptying these containers at local recycling points, which are accessible by foot.
https://pantamera.nu/om-oss/returpack-in-english/about-re turpack/ http://www.ftiab.se/
Coffee is an important ingredient in the Swedish workday. We brew responsibly sourced coffee beans from local coffee roaster Per Nordby so there is never any need to bring a card board cup of coffee in the morning. The kitchen also hosts a high powered blender for quick, nutritious smoothies. https://www.pernordby.com/
At in-house events and conferences Icebug chooses small, local catering firms with a focus on organic food and vegetar ian/vegan options. We use as much of the office’s own plates,
cups and cutlery as possible or rent reusable items, rather than creating another cubic metre of waste. https://spirafood.se/ https://lillegrisen.se/ http://hyrglaset.se/ Soup & The Kitchen (Facebook)
Lova Callaghan, Human Resources.
Icebug aims not only to attract the right people to the com pany but to keep them happy at work and help them develop and grow. As with any sustainable project, constant and long term dedication is required in order to find new ways to prog ress within the field of human resources.
Icebug advocates balance in life and strive for working smarter instead of harder. This year, a 37.5 hour work week was intro duced and one hour a week is dedicated to physical activity, when the switchboard is closed and everyone has to activate themselves – it does not matter whether for a walk along the river, a gym class in the yoga room or a run in the forest. It’s a way of trying to keep co-workers healthy, give people who might not normally work together a chance to mix, and increase our love for nature. Apart from the forest around us, which serves as a brilliant gym, there is a yoga room which is also used as ping pong room and general exercise room.
To balance personal life and work life is one of the core values at Icebug. Normally, meetings are scheduled sometime between 9.00 and 16.00, to make flexible working time truly flexible.
Healthy co-workers are happy co-workers and we wish to spread our love of nature not only to our co-workers but to the world around us.
EMISSIONS REPORTING AND COMPENSATION
Greenhouse gas emissions continues to be an important met ric for determining our footprint on the natural environment. As Icebug does not own any production facilities, we have measured the emissions from our inbound freights from our production partners in Asia, as this is the only part we have total control over. With the model of vested partnership that we have with our production partners, we are still able to have considerable influence on sustainability matters and we con tinue to push these with fervour. We are lucky to have partners who share our passion in these matters and we will continue to improve rapidly.
Most of our production takes place in Vietnam, which is far away from where most of the consumption of the products is (Scandinavia). However, we choose sea freight in almost all cases which keeps the emissions low, even though the dis tance travelled is high. We only choose air transport if there is no other option, as this creates around 20 times more emis sions than transportation by sea.
Local transport is being measured from this year. We have measured our transport to customers who are served from our warehouse in Gothenburg, Sweden.
BUSINESS TRAVELJames Varkey, CFO Diana Boric, Supply Chain Manager
As a first step towards balancing the negative impact from carbon emissions that our activities generate, Icebug has cho sen to compensate for business travelling emissions through setting up a “Fund for the planet”. The dedicated fund will be used strictly for sustainable efforts intended to compensate for the emissions generated by our travelling. Money from the fund can be put towards different causes, ranging from putting solar panels on factory roofs to sponsoring tree plant ing. At this time we don’t yet know what will make the most sense. Investment decisions for the fund will be headed by the board of directors at Icebug. All use of the fund will be communicated on our website and in future sustainability reports.
FUTURISTIC LOOKDavid Ekelund, CEO
Part of our mission is to be a leader and catalyst in making our industry fully sustainable. That’s a tall order for a small brand, and though parts of it will mean punching above our weight, we certainly won’t succeed on our own. Saving the planet is team work, and indeed, for this task the old rule of the more the merrier does apply. We’re lucky to be part of an industry which attracts people who loves to be outdoors, because nat urally that means that they love nature and the logical conclu sion of that is wanting our planet thrive.
So we’re seeking collaboration on many different levels. On a principle level, we have signed the European Outdoor Group Sustainability Charter, to show our commitment to the vital importance of sustainability and to support the great work that the European Outdoor Group is doing in this field,
supplying it’s members with knowledge and guidance. At the end of 2018, we will start reporting a self assessment of how far we have progressed according to the Sustainability Char ter.
On a very practical level, we’re sharing our experience about our sustainability work and using the Higg Index with other footwear brands who use the same factories, so that together we will make it more worth while for the factory to invest in sustainability work. Maybe this cooperation can also lead to purchasing some materials together, where more sustainable options demand higher minimum quantities than what we can reach on our own.
On an innovation level we’re participating in a project to develop environmental friendly durable water repellence treatments in the POP free-project.
And then, maybe the most daring project that we’ve ever undertaken will be launched this year: Project Clean Run.
This is about partnering up to get all the best ideas on how to make the most sustainable trail running shoe at the moment, have a panel of experts analyze what’s best and where further innovation is needed to become fully sustainable. Make that shoe, and show that there is a real interest from end-users (meaning people will actually buy it – that’s when change can be accelerated). Best solutions are not only for this special project, but integrated into the general line as fast as possi ble.
And then it’s time to do it over again.
The Project Clean Run will be hosted by ISPO (www.ispo.com) on their open innovatoin platform, with the support of Peak Innovation (www.peakinnovation.se). Starting collaborating brands are Dynafit, On Running and ICEBUG!