Suston Issue #1 2019

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OUR SNOW Skiers, riders and resorts fighting for survival.


IS THE NEW ECO But what are the pros, cons and questions?


FOR CHANGE The Tarfala Think Tank retreats to nature to find new solutions.





What you need to know.

Retailers and brands join forces.

Good brands share good stories.

Let’s change the way we make our clothes. Together.

We’ve done a lot of work to make 67% of our line Fair Trade Certified ™ sewn and 69% of our materials recycled. If the entire apparel industry did even as much as we’ve managed so far, we could collectively bring millions of workers out of poverty, and reduce emissions roughly equivalent to taking every car off the road in Scandinavia.*

FAIR TRADE To date, Patagonia has supported 49,200 workers, who represent 39% of our finished goods workforce. If we all did this, we could reach 9,500,000 workers.*

*This number represents 16% of total workers in the apparel industry.

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*Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark.

RECYCLE To date, Patagonia has removed 13,000 tons of CO2 equivalent. If we all did this, we could remove 114,000,000 tons of CO2 equivalent.*

*This number represents 9.5% of total CO2 equivalent emissions in the apparel industry. The calculation is based on extrapolating Patagonia’s current fabric mix (75% polyester, 12% cotton, 5% nylon, 2% down, 1% wool, 1% hemp and 4% other fiber types).

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Initiated by the

The It’s Great Out There Coalition is together with the photography community Unsplash launching a collection of inspirational images that show what #itsgreatoutthere means to people around the world.


3 QUESTIONS TO ANDREW Can you describe the It’s Great Out There Coalition in three sentences?

Our goal is to inspire generations of Europeans to embrace the outdoors. As an organization, we are an International on Profit Association run b a volunteer board of e perienced industr directors. We work in partnership with European, national and regional authorities, all of the outdoor recreation industries, non profit associations and last but not least directl with the public.

In what way is this important for the outdoor industry?


o get ore people active outdoors is not onl good from a strategic perspective, but also as a wa to ta e responsibilit . he health benefits of being out in nature are scientific facts, and when so called lifest le diseases li e obesit are growing across Europe, we can a e a positive difference. he outdoor industr is nown to punch above our weight what we do will have an i pact in societ .

What strategies does the coalition work with to achieve its goals?

hrough our grants, we want to inspire oung peo ple to get active and access the outdoors for the first ti e, particularl those who are based in the inner cities or live in other circumstances that make this di cult. o create and highlight events, also from our members, are other important tools. And spreading the essage through our own social edia channels as well as via political lobb ing on all levels. Andrew Denton General Secretary, It’s Great Out There Coalition




Gabriel Arthur, Editor-in-chief

14 News

The latest in Outdoor.

20 Renewed in the USA

The Renewal Workshop takes on apparel waste.


ou’re the only ones asking these questions,” was the response from the sales manager for Sweden’s largest printer eight years ago when I asked if their operations were run using renewable energy, and why they hadn’t performed any form of sustainability report. We stopped printing there, but the sales manager wasn’t very concerned as the other customers didn’t seem to prioritize the issue. Today, our company partners with much more ambitious suppliers in several countries, and we continue to ask questions. A sustainability manager from Denmark’s largest printer, for example, has spent much time trying to find out if biodegradable plastic is better, despite methane gases emitted while composting. Why even wrap a magazine in plastic? Because if they’re mailed across EU borders, they must be wrapped in plastic. Why? This question has disappeared within the EU’s bureaucratic labyrinth. We all know that sustainability issues take both time and energy, using complicated Excel sheets and endless strings of emails. Yet the unique thing about the outdoor community is that we are continually reminded of why the job must be done. A hike in a nearby forest or a ski tour in the mountains can be enough to gain new motivation. This may also lead to completely new questions and answers that are harder to calculate in Excel – but just as important nonetheless.


Natural Motivations

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Retailers and brands join forces to find sustainable solutions.

32 Plan B in the Alps

Ski resorts facing uncertainty in an increasingly warm climate.

38 Biobased

Suston investigates common and less known biobased materials.

50 Biodegradable

Nature’s solution or dead-end? Experts and brands weigh in.

56 The Secret Summit

Scientists and changemakers gather to tackle climate change.

63 Winter’s Warriors

Prominent skiers and riders fight for the future of their sport.

78 Program

Seminars at ISPO Munich.

Suston Editor-in-chief: Gabriel Arthur, Editor: Jonathan Frænkel-Eidse Art director: Susan Larsen & Melanie Haas Layout: Emil Jonsson Cover illustration: Graham Samuels Editorial advisory board: Arne Strate, Cira Riedel, Joel Svedlund

Partner cooperation and sales: Karen Hensel, Suston is published by NORR Agency., +46 8 462 0707 Metargatan 11 116 66 Stockholm, Sweden

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CLIMBING PEAKS over 7,000 meters (23,000 feet) high is a feat in itself. Doing so as an Afghan woman makes the challenge much greater. On August 10 last year, 24-year-old Hanifa Yousoufi stood at the summit of Afghanistan’s highest mountain, Noshaq (7,492 meters/24,580 feet above sea level). She is the first Afghan woman – and only the fourth Afghan ever – to climb the mountain. The ascent was made possible by the American organization Ascend – Leadership Through Athletics, which is working in Afghanistan to empower young women and create strong role models. For the women and girls who participate in Ascend’s program, education, social work, leadership training and climbing, among other things, are part of the curriculum. The organization was founded in 2015 by American Marina LeGree, who spent many years working with development issues in the area and got to see the challenges that young women in Afghanistan face first hand. Since the start in 2015, participants in the project have climbed several of Afghanistan’s highest peaks and even made first ascents. The day before the group headed for Noshaq, the Taliban carried out an attack in the area and they came close to aborting the entire expedition. When they finally set off, neither altitude sickness nor frozen toes could stop Hanifa Yousoufi, who made her final push to the top together with Norwegian climber Vibeke Sefland. “I did it for every girl. Afghanistan’s girls are strong and will continue to be strong,” declared Hanifa Yousoufi after the successful climb.



WHILE BRAZILIAN NATURE is under threat of the new Bolsonaro regime, the continent’s other two giants – Argentina and Chile – are choosing a greener path. On December 5, the Argentine Congress ratified the creation of Iberá National Park in the wetlands of the Northeast. The new national park adds to the adjacent Iberá Provincial Park. At a combined approximately 7,100 km2 (1.8-million acres), Iberá Park is now the largest nature park in Argentina and one of the most biologically diverse areas of the country – including the jaguars that were absent in the region for more than half a century. Similarly, Chile signed a decree that will add 40,500 km2 (10 million acres) – approximately the size of Switzerland – of new national parklands to its protected areas. This green path has largely been facilitated by the UN Environment Patron of Protected Areas Kristine Tompkins, President of Tompkins Conservation. This former CEO of Patagonia Inc. and her late husband Douglas Tompkins (founder of the North Face and cofounder of Esprit clothing companies) left the business world in the early 1990s, moved to Patagonia and turned their entrepreneurial talents towards nature conservation. Over the years, they purchased over 85,000 km2 (2.1 million acres) of land in Chile and Argentina, and after becoming some of the largest private land owners in the world they started giving it away. The Ibéra National Park in Argentina was made possible by the donations managed by Kristine Tompkins, as well as the 40.500 km2 (1 million acres) laying the ground for the new Pumalín National Park and Patagonia National Park in Chile – billed as history’s largest donation of land from a private entity to a country.



ANYBODY WHO REGULARLY spends time outdoors knows it: nature does body, mind and soul good. Research has also found overwhelming support for nature’s many mental and physical health benefits, some of which include reducing blood pressure, aggression and anxiety as well as improving concentration and general well-being. Incorporating this knowledge into the medical field, however, has been a long time coming. But now, inspired by the growing evidence that nature makes us healthier and happier and following a successful pilot program last year, the Shetland National Health Service (NHS) will officially role out a program that encourages doctors to offer “Nature Prescriptions” to patients who they deem candidates for this form of treatment. This means that Shetlanders might be pleasantly surprised to leave a doctor consultation not with a scribbled list of unpronounceable medications, but with an imaginative pamphlet – peppered with local colloquialisms – prescribing a seasonal activity regimen including “turning o’er a rock and seeing what’s there,” “Bagging Shetland’s 19 ‘Marilyns’” (hilltops) and “Going for a ‘hock’ in a tidepool.” Nature Prescriptions is a partnership program developed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSBS) Scotland and delivered by the National Health Service (NHS) Shetland, and has quickly acquired international attention. Many local doctors are also enthusiastic to the initiative, and in an RSBS press release Dr. Chloe Evans, GP at Scalloway Health Centre explains why: “The project provides a structured way for patients to access nature as part of a non-drug approach to health problems. The benefits to patients are that it is free, easily accessible, allows increased connection with surroundings which hopefully leads to improved physical and mental health for individuals.”



The Man Who Stopped the Desert FOR HIS WORK in turning barren land in the Sahel into forest and demonstrating how farmers can regenerate their soil with innovative use of indigenous and local knowledge, this year’s Right Livelihood Award went to 73-year-old Yacouba Sawadogo of Burkina Faso. His work began in the 1980s while the region was in the midst of a deadly famine. Leaving the city for his home village, Sawadogo set out to experiment using abandoned, traditional Zaï techniques in order to cultivate otherwise barren land. Over time he succeeded. Word soon spread to other farmers in the area who would come to his bi-annual market/workshop to learn more, and before long, national farming organizations and NGOs began advocating his methods. “This project is for future generations,” explains Sawadogo upon receiving the award. “I don’t want to eat today and leave future generations with nothing to eat. The work I do is to create the seeds for wealth – not only for Burkina Faso but for many other countries.” The Right Livelihood Award began in 1980 as a response to the Nobel prize’s overly narrow categories. It is awarded annually in Stockholm to four recipients “to honor and support courageous people and organisations that have found practical solutions to the root causes of global problems.” 14 – suston


Kenya and the UN have joined forces to launch the “Greening Kenya Campaign,” with the goal of increasing forest cover from 7% to 10% in the country by 2022. To do so, they plan on placing a moratorium on logging in public forests and planting 1.8 billion trees in schools, farmlands and drylands.

NEW URBAN WILDERNESS HUT THE NORWEGIAN TREKKING Association (DNT) is Norway’s largest outdoor organization and is responsible for maintaining 30,000 km of marked trails and 550 isolated wilderness cabins. However, in celebration of its 150th anniversary DNT decided to treat itself to its own birthday present – Fuglemyr Hut – and it is already breaking visitor records. Why? Perhaps its world-class architecture or unmatched vistas overlooking the capital and Oslo Fjord beyond? These may help, but the fact is that this wilderness cabin is anything but remote: located on a hilltop above Oslo, it’s easily reached by subway and a 2 km walk through the woods.


This Christmas in Sweden, a dip in apparel sales in stores and online corresponded with increased secondhand sales. Why? Maybe because each December, a Swedish trade organization announces the “Christmas Present of the Year” based on what’s trending – in 2016 it was VR-headsets, 2017 electric bikes. 2018’s was second-hand clothing.



16-year old, internationally renowned Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. Interviewed by The New Yorker.


“We need to change the system, as if we were in crisis, as if there were a war going on.”

Sustainability Roadtrip OIA ANNOUNCES that in 2019 it will again hit the roads in the U.S. to host its expanded Sustainability Boot Camp. These intensive, one-day sessions are geared to help small to mid-sized brands develop a solid sustainability strategy e en if they lac dedicated staff or expertise. Attendees will learn how global sustainability challenges impact their businesses, how to strategize to get the most bang for their buck, how to make a plan and co unicate their efforts, and how to establish a support system. Check in on the OIA website to see if they will be passing through your town.


UAE’s Eco-Tourism’s Biodomes FACED WITH INCREASING nature tourism, the Biodomes Project in United Arab Emirates aims to prevent harm to these natural areas using minimal impact designed biodomes powered with 100% renewable energy and including an organic restaurant and on-site waste and waste-water recycling systems. The site is located at the base of the popular Al Hajar Mountains and, once built, these structures are intended to serve as wildlife conservation and adventure-based retreat centers.


If 2017-2018 were the years of Public Lands, what will be the focus in 2019? Sourcing ournal identifies Climate Change, Regenerative Agriculture, Closed Loop and Ditching Virgin Plastic as at least four of the most likely contenders.


FIGHTING FOR THE LAST 10% GERMAN ACTIVISTS FIGHTing to protect the last remaining patch of Hambach forest from being turned into an open-pit coal mine by the German energy giant RWE, have been pulled out of their treetop occupation and had their treehouses destroyed. Germany is currently the largest producer of brown coal – which produces more emissions than hard coal – and is set to fail to meet its greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 40% by 2020. Not so easily deterred, the activists have since returned to the forest and begun rebuilding their treehouses. “They can take us away from the tree house but they can’t evict a movement, they can’t evict the ideas we are fighting for, acti ist trobo said in org

In Western Canada, the Trudeau government is meeting peaceful resistance with a heavy hand, using police raids on indigenous protest camps in an attempt to push multiple oil and gas pipeline projects through indigenous lands never signed away by treaty or seized in war.



oday, companies in many industries boast CSR and sustainability departments reflecting the wider social and political climate, and the increasing economic realities. This is, of course, also the case for outdoor businesses. But I think that for our sector, there have long been deeper roots and an even broader perspective. When I look at the outdoor sector, I see an industry that is fundamentally entwined with nature. Many of the biggest outdoor firms in the world were founded by passionate outdoor enthusiasts. And still today, thousands of people are drawn to work in our sector by their deep love of the great outdoors. We know that without nature, there would simply be no outdoor industry. But our efforts shouldn’t stop there. Conservation of nature is just one pillar of the European Outdoor Group’s (EOG) work, with the others being Doing business right and Getting Europe active outdoors. These are all pre-competitive issues that should be addressed before the first product is designed. They’re not just marketing tools or the focus of a single business, but the foundation of the whole outdoor industry itself! Our industry increasingly recognizes that the best approach to such overarching topics is to address the challenges together. For example, the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) and the It’s Great Out There Coalition are doing a lot of great work on behalf of our sector. Both organizations were created by the EOG, and we continue to support their projects. That’s what the EOG stands for and why it exists – as a neutral hub, founded by and working for the entire outdoor sector. I believe that finding the right approach to sustainability, conservation and activation will provide the biggest point of differentiation between the core outdoor industry and those other sectors who are striving to profit from the megatrend that is “outdoor.” Arne Strate, EOG General Secretary suston – 15




This year, New Zealand and South Korea will implement a ban on single-use plastic bags, giving their retailers several months to phase them out. They join a growing list of over 50 countries with similar bans in place, including Bangladesh, China, France and South Africa.


This was the headline of a fullpage ad placed in the Washington Post, signed by Columbia’s CEO Tim Boyle. A response to the record-breaking federal government shutdown in the U.S., the ad then continues: “Walls shouldn’t block access to parks, and federal workers shouldn’t be left in the cold. Work together to open our parks.”

Central America’s Unsung Nature Heroes WITH A JOB DESCRIPTION that includes life-threatening encounters with poachers, lots of travel away from family and virtually no job security, a group of conservation organizations issued a survey to find just how Central America’s rangers are faring under such harsh circumstances. The results? The majority of the survey respondents reporting job satisfaction, and three-quarters stated they’d even like to see their children taking up the trade. Thus, it appears they’re doing surprisingly well, and when asked what keeps them motivated in spite of the challenges, most responded it was the excitement and their love for nature. “Central America’s rangers risk their lives every day to protect nature,” said Jeremy Radachowsky, Mesoamerica and Caribbean program director for the Wildlife Conservation Society, which partici-


THAT’S HOW MANY companies and organizations from the textile industry signed the United Nation’s “Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action,” on December 10, 2018. Here, industry actors agreed to collectively address the climate impact of the fashion sector across its entire value chain. Several outdoor brands are among the signatories, including Sympatex, Arc’Teryx and Mammut. 16 – suston

pated in the survey, and continues: “They work in the midst of some of society’s most complex issues including drug, weapons, timber, and wildlife trafficking, corruption, poverty and violence. These leaders and heroes deserve the institutional backing and the physical and legal protections to do their work for humanity.” The survey is part of a broader, global initiative to improve the work environment of rangers, and included responses from 331 rangers in seven countries – Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. While Central America is one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet, it is disappearing rapidly due to increased habitat loss and poaching, placing Rangers on the frontlines of protecting our natural heritage.


THAT’S THE PERCENTAGE of the world’s landmass still wilderness, excluding Antarctica, according to a recent report published in Nature. Pointing out the importance of wildernesses in carbon capture, biodiversity and to indigenous peoples, the authors call on the fi e ega wilderness” nations Russia, Canada, Australia, United States and Brazil to secure the last of the wild.


OUR PLEDGE: C L I M AT E P O S I T I V E 2 0 2 0 What’s left of CO2 footprint after having minimized our resource use, ICEBUG will offset and overcompensate by 10%. We include all our activities in this: Products, logistics, operations, travel. The climate cost will be integrated into our core business model. We’re willing to invest all of the profit into this change to become sustainable. ( After all, that’s a small price for doing all we can to stay within a safe temperature for the planet.) Join us!

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Sustainability Wins at Innovation Awards At Outdoor Retailer Winter Market's first Innovation Awards ceremony, seven of the winners and finalists put the focus squarely on advancements in sustainability. BY KASSONDRA CLOOS


Costa Untangled Collection Baffin Sunglasses

FISHING NETS ARE among the most dangerous and prolific forms of plastic pollution in the ocean. In an attempt to mitigate the problem, frames in Costa’s Untangled line of sunglasses are ade entirely fro recycled fishing nets


United By Blue Bison Puffer Jacket


Crescent Moon EVA Foam Snowshoes

UNITED BY BLUE’S bison wool insulated ison uffer ac et ta es what has traditionally been trash bison wool fibers as a byproduct of the food industry and turns it into an effecti e insulation he ac et is filled with , which is half bison wool and a quarter each recycled polyester and low-melt poly. The waterproof shell is also made of part recycled poly.

UNLIKE OTHER SNOWSHOES that use a hinged area to e with the foot, Crescent Moon’s EVA Foam Snowshoes rely on a rocker-shaped platform to mimic a more natural gait. They’re made entirely of EVA foam and can be recycled at the end of their life through athletic shoe recycling programs.

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GoLite ReGreen Windshell

BY USING RECYCLED green plastic bottles of the , to be e act , o ite clai s its e reen indshell is green at literally e ery stage of the process ecause they re ore difficult to dye, recycling green plastic bottles is often less feasible and they often end up in landfills y using the tinted bottles and declining to dye the fabric, o ite eeps typically undesirable plastic out of landfills as well as reduces water consu ption by up to percent


Allbirds SweetFoam

ALLBIRDS CLAIMS its new SweetFoam, derived from sugar cane, is the world s first carbon negati e foa nstead of using petroleum, it’s made with sugar cane sourced from ra il where it naturally grows easily, and it s processed in fa cilities run on renewable energy llbirds will a e the weet oa for ula open source in hopes that other shoe anufac turers around the world will adopt the greener technology


SOLE Jasper Wool Chukka

THE USE OF a carbon negati e, recycled cor idsole in the asper ool hu a got it onto the list of finalists ollowing years of de elop ent, their e or idsole pro ides all the perfor ance characteristics of foa s with ust a fraction of the en iron ental i pact


PrimaLoft Bio Insulation

SYNTHETIC INSULATION IS typically made from recycled or irgin , both of which ta the en iron ent and can release plastic icrofibers into water ways when washing ri a oft s new io insulation and fabric offer a uni ue solution t s ade fro percent recycled plastic fro bottles that is also ostly biodegradable t sounds i possible ut ri a oft has figured out a way to a e tiny plastic fibers ore desirable to icroorganis s, allowing it to degrade in arine and landfill en iron ents suston – 19


RENEWED IN THE USA newal Workshop Re e Th m fro m tea e th d an tt sse Ba Nicole n of clothing aims to divert nearly half a million to from landfills by 2025. BY KASSONDRA CLOOS

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ach year, untold tons of imperfect but fixable apparel is sent to landfills across the United States, deemed unsellable for minor issues like broken zippers or missing buttons. It’s often easier to toss these goods rather than repair and sell them, coming at both a financial and environmental cost. The Renewal Workshop, a circular solutions company based in Oregon, has lofty goals to change this mindset. By 2025, the company aims to have diverted 450,000 kg (1 million pounds) of waste from landfills through repairing and reselling these pieces of clothing. The end goal is a system in which brands have little to no landfill waste in the manufacturing process, ultimately making for a more sustainable industry. Along the way, they also want to encourage people to be more responsible in how they shop, return and dispose of apparel. “We’re trying to build a circular movement,” says co-founder Nicole Bassett, who started the company together with Jeff Denby in 2016. Currently, The Renewal Workshop has 22 brand partners including Icebreaker, Prana, and The North Face, and has diverted roughly 36,000 kg (80,000 pounds) of apparel from landfills since its founding. To get to 1 million pounds within the next six years, Bassett says one key is to bring in more brand partners.

A novel business model

Here’s how it works: Apparel brands end up with an imperfect, damaged or soiled product somewhere along the way, or it’s returned and can’t be resold. Previously, companies would donate oversees or throw these items away. Now, they pay The Renewal Workshop a fee to take the clothes, which is roughly comparable with the cost of sending these products to the landfill. The Renewal Workshop then clean and repair the items and sell them online and in select stores. Bassett additionally points out that brands also have the opportunity to share in the profits from renewed item sales, or to own the sales channel outright, meaning they will repair the goods and the original brand will recoup the profits from selling the items. The fast fashion industry has fostered a culture that finds it easier—and cheaper—to throw away and replace clothing many years before its time has come. Bassett is optimistic that the apparel industry and current DIY trends will help reverse these bad habits. “It’s cheaper for me to go get a new shirt than it is to getting around to find a needle and thread to sew a button back on,” says Bassett. “We want to teach people how to see value in their clothing rather than junk it.”

The “Renewal System” strives to bridge gaps, connect systems and make current linear manufacturing practices circular.

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RE-INVENTING THE INDUSTRY The history of the leather tanning goes back 10,000 years — and the process was always thought to be impossible without the use of large amounts of water. ECCO Leather's new DriTan™ technology breaks the paradigm and is now set to revolutionise the entire leather industry.


Leather Applied Research team

water annually — enough water

Developing a more

changed the tanning process.

to keep 9,000 people hydrated for

sustainable tanning process


one year. The efficient process also

Estimated worldwide water con-

The first solid step towards

saves 600 tons of sludge that would

sumption in leather making is 400

water-free leather manufacturing

otherwise go into landfills per year.

billion litres a year, and we are in

DriTan™ by ECCO Leather is a step


the perfect position to take the first

in the tanning process and uses

Unveiling ECCO's DriTan™

step in inventing a more sustainable

the moisture already present in

game-changing technology

tanning process. Our starting point

the hides. The resulting leather is

In celebration of the sustainable

was this very fundamental question:

indistinguishable from traditionally

breakthrough in tanning, ECCO

how can we tan without water in a

tanned leather in terms of quality,

Outdoor is launching a series of

world of increasing water scarcity,

characteristics, stability and lead

three iconic products. The ECCO

and is it even possible?

time. Besides saving huge amounts



of water, the technology also

will all see a version that capitalizes

Applied Research

considerably reduces the amount

on this new tanning process and

In a unique process developed by

of chemicals used and lowers

build on ECCO’s reputation for

our in-house Applied Research lab,

wastewater production.

pushing the boundaries within global innovation. All three products will

proprietary tanning agents preserve the leather's natural collagens with-


be unveiled at ISPO in Munich and

out the use of added water. After

DriTan™ saves 20 litres of water per

distribution will be via select key

five years of research the ECCO

hide, equal to 25 million litres of

partners in the latter part of 2019.


D R I T A N ™

R E - I N V E N T I N G



20 litres of water per hide, equal to 25 million litres of water saved annually — enough water to keep 9,000 people hydrated for one year.

TWO SIDES TOGETHER Can retailers and brands put competition aside and instead focus on finding sustainable solutions? The results of the pan-European “#RMB Single Use Plastics” project’s first year seem to prove they can. BY GABRIEL ARTHUR PHOTO KARIN ALFREDSSON

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n November 2017, representatives from four outdoor companies met up with Anny Cardinahl and Pamela Ravasio from European Outdoor Group (EOG) at Patagonia’s office in Amsterdam. The working title for the meeting was “#RMB – Retail meets Brand” and the main topic on the agenda was sustainability. “At that point, we only knew that we wanted to bring retailers and brands closer together and collaborate more. We wanted to launch a project series that the EOG would facilitate, with retailers and brands as the driving force. As a kick-off, we invited two retailers and two brands to discuss pre-competitive market challenges in a very informal meeting,” Anny Cardinahl recalls. One idea was also to try working on a pan-European level. On the brand side of the table were Ryan Gellert, GM EMEA from Patagonia’s European headquarters and Peter Ottervanger, GM Europe of Icebreaker. On the retailer side were Tim Wahnel, CEO of Outdoor Profis and Daniel Peters, E-commerce Manager from A.S. Adventure Group. Outdoor Profis is a buying group including around 160 independent outdoor specialists in Germany and Luxembourg, with the head office in Limburg between Frankfurt and Cologne. “We also run a shop ourselves, in Limburg. So both from our own experience, and from our members, we know that sustainability is a big and very complex topic. There are so many certificates, labels, projects etc., so that the individual store owner or manager can easily get lost,” says Tim Wahnel, and continues: “Instead of everyone fighting their own battles, we saw this collaboration as an opportunity to join forces and find solutions for all.” The omnichannel and multibrand retailer A.S. Adventure Group has over 265 stores in the Benelux-countries, France and the UK, including chains such as A.S. Adventure, Cotswold Outdoor, Bever, McTrek and more. With a background in retail, Anny Cardinahl had expected that she would need both diplomacy and persuasion to get the two sides to start collaborating. As she explains: “I have seen so much ping-pong between retailers and brands over the years, where one part thinks the other should take action and vice versa. A lot of valuable ideas and content never reaches the customers at the point of sale.” Yet this time, Anny Cardinahl was happily surprised – “I was overwhelmed by the positive energy from the very first minute” – and following the meeting in Amsterdam the participants agreed on two things: they all wanted to go ahead with the Retail meets Brands-project and they wanted to get more companies on board.

Polybags are everywhere

PERRY LAUKENS EMEA Marketing Director, KEEN Footwear

MICHAELA ZEUSS O ce anager, Icebreaker’s European HQ


CEO, Outdoor Profis

After ISPO Munich in January 2018, the group had grown with retailers like Transa and Bergfreunde. de and brands like Keen and Marmot. The next step was then to pin down what they wanted to collaborate on, which turned out to be rather easy. Steven De Beul, buying manager at A.S Adventure in Belgium, is today the company’s representative for the project. “As retailers, we are meeting the end-consumers on a daily basis. One problem that is getting attention is the huge amount of single use plastics in our daily lives,” explains Steven De Beul and continues: “On the retail side, we have other insights than the brands. We receive all these polybags and have to deal with them. It is not a problem that a single store can solve – but if we could address these problems on an industry level, we would have much bigger possibilities.” Brands too see the potential in collaboration on this issue. Michaela Zeuss, office manager at Icebreaker’s European headquarter and part of the steering group, agrees that single use plastics is the obvious first step. “Single use plastics as our first project is important because we wanted a concept that is relevant, accessible and understandable for businesses and consumers alike. The topic of plastics is everywhere – in TV documentaries, on the EU legislation level, etc. – and nature is our playing field. We definitely felt that we as a group wanted to take a leadership position around this.” Keen Footwear, represented by Perry Laukens, the brand’s EMEA Marketing Director, was similarly enthusiastic to the choice of topic. “As a footwear brand, we don’t use polybags in the same way as the apparel brands, since we have shoe boxes. But we still want to take part in finding solutions. At first, a project like this might sound easy. But it’s not like there are hundreds of solutions just waiting for us,” says Perry Laukens.

A roadmap for 2019

STEVEN DE BEUL Buying Manager, A.S. Adventure

Today, the #RMB-group consists of nearly twenty companies, in collaboration with the European Outdoor Group (EOG). They try to meet in person every three months, and via conference calls on a monthly basis. The group has been divided into four focus teams; looking at economical, ecological, legal and communication aspects. An international survey has been undertaken to understand what quantities of single use plastics are used in the European outdoor market today. A project manager, Scott Nelson, has also been recruited to manage the project during 2019 and is working together with the steering group on developing a roadmap to “significantly reduce single use plastics in the value chain,” as stated in suston – 25

Products need to be protected during transport from company to consumer. For years, polybags have been used to meet this need, but at a cost.

the latest white paper from the EOG. “This will involve a lot of research and looking at what other industries are doing to tackle problems of this size. We want to bring in as many options as possible into the discussion. The goal is definitely a challenge – but we are optimistic that we will find meaningful solutions that can push an entire industry in a positive direction,” explains Scott Nelson. Another challenge is the size of the project, which went from four companies and the EOG at the start to around twenty today. With the hope of many more joining during 2019, there is always the potential that different perspectives and agendas will collide. “The size can be a pitfall, also when we are many nationalities with different situations in each country. But on the other hand, we have more things that unite us. One of the characteristics of the outdoor industry is that we are more conscious of the nature around us. I think we can take a lead together,” says Steven De Beul. Tim Wahnel agrees, and talks about “coopetion” – cooperation and competition hand in hand. “I have been surprised by how easy we have managed to move forward so far, and also be transparent within the group.” Compared to the sports and fashion industries, the outdoor industry is still a small player. But Perry Laukens believes that in a project like this, 26 – suston

ANNY CARDINAHL European Outdoor Group, #RMB Project Initiator

outdoor’s size could be an advantage: “I have a sporting goods background, and I am not sure it would be possible there. We in the outdoor industry, however, are good at finding common ground.” As many have pointed out before, sustainability in general is an arena where it can be easier to find such common ground between competitors. The problems are too big – and too expensive – to tackle without collaborations and, for the outdoor industry, protecting the environment is or at least should be a paramount concern. “Size matters. If we can join forces and move the industry, from the supply chain to the end consumer, we can have a real impact. And I think working together for the greater good brings out the human side in people,” says Michaela Zeuss.


European Outdoor Group, #RMB Project Manager

Ready to join or want more info? Contact Scott Nelson, Project Manager: At ISPO Munich, the project will be presented at an event in the CSR Hub & Sustainability Kiosk, Hall A4. There, you can also meet the steering group: Tuesday, February 5, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm.



Green Fashion on a Black Friday

While many retailers embrace Black Friday, the Norwegian outdoor brand Bergans chose to take a stand for responsible clothing consumption with its new project, “Bestis.”


he unlimited creativity of 60 young design students turned 250 old outdoor products into high fashion. These had been collected through Bergans’ own return scheme, and over a few weeks in November old sleeping bags, anoraks, tents and pants were revitalized into new and innovative jumpsuits, jackets, bags or skirts. The project culminated on Black Friday, when the re-designed clothes were presented by the designers themselves, on live models in an old-school industrial location in Oslo’s trendy Grünerløkka quarter. Redesign comes naturally The main objective of Bestis – a name derived from its three partner brands Bergans, Esmod and Tise – has been to create increased interest and awareness for re-use and redesign. “We sell products to be used in nature, so naturally we

are concerned about taking care of this place, for us and the generations to follow,” says Bergans’ sustainability developer, Yngvill Ofstad. Bergans already offers a dedicated redesign collection made of old clothing. While these typically are smaller items like phone covers, shopping or toilet bags, Bestis allowed the students to think bigger and to use all their creativity, without any commercial hinders to start with. Even so, all items were offered through the Tise app, a marketplace for second-hand clothing, and many of them sold just a few days after the show. A circular economy test-drive Bergans and its partners intend to carry on using Bestis as a platform to show what a circular economy and re-design has to offer. Some of the unique styles will be present at Bergans’ booth at Ispo

Munich alongside a live redesign demonstration to help spread the word. “Our goal with Bestis had been to increase awareness for more sustainable ways of consumption. And we wanted to explore what happened when different partners, disciplines and mindsets come together to use all of their know-how. We have been greatly inspired, and we will continue to further develop the concept,” says Yngvill Ofstad. Retail companies can play an important role in working towards more sustainable consumption by promoting circular business models such as reuse, redesign and rental. Bergans’ hope is to inspire more industry actors to move in this direction. ISPO Munich: Hall A2/102 OR Snow Show: 39045/UL suston – 27

The Bluesign system ensures a product that is both sustainably produced and that meets the highest consumer safety standards.

The Bluesign cloud computing solution is the science gateway to responsible consumer textile products.

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A Cloud on the Horizon Bluesign leads in ensuring safe, sustainable and efficient manufacturing in the textile industry. In 2019, Bluesign will fully-integrate its powerful set of tools, taking the system to the next level with a cloud-based platform.


onscious consumers increasingly want products that are free of harmful chemicals and that have had as little environmental impact as possible. Producers want to meet this demand. Sounds simple enough at first glance. But meeting this demand with reliable claims? There’s a lot of hangtags out there and navigating to the right one is no easy task. Many industry certifications, for example, focus on the end product but say nothing about the substances or practices used in the previous stages of production. Other systems rely on self-reporting, but this opens up for potential errors and false-claims. A simple solution Since 2000, Bluesign has provided a simple yet effective solution to both shortcomings: start at the beginning of the manufacturing process, using scientific verification. This approach has led to the collection of vast amounts of chemicals and supplier data that can be utilized via a set of applications. These applications have already worked closely together to ensure that textiles are manufactured using the least but most environmentally friendly resources available. But following increasing requests from stakeholders for collaboration, transparency and traceability, Bluesign began the transformation of its web-based service platform, making it a highly-integrated system that allows partners to interact

throughout the whole supply chain. In 2019, this work will culminate with the Bluesign cloud computing solution. Integration brings new possibilities The Bluesign cloud computing solution is the science gateway to responsible consumer textile products. This service platform provides continuously growing and updated information, as well as applications related to the Bluesign system. Digitalization brings new opportunities, and Bluesign’s cloud-based integration will provide additional, far-reaching possibilities for the industry and its players. Some of these possibilities include an “advanced search” function to facilitate finding collaboration partners, the ability to create supply chain lists to improve transparency, and an intelligent dashboard that makes it simple to monitor figures and to check measures for their effectiveness, making it useful as a starting point for decisions. These new features aim to simplify the collaboration and exchange throughout the whole supply chain and will automatically lead to more transparency and traceability for Bluesign’s system partners. The transformation will be implemented incrementally in 2019 and once complete, Bluesign’s service platform will become the first in the industry to contain such a vast quantity of verified data checked against scientific criteria. ISPO Munich: Hall C5/400

APPLICATION TOOLKIT bluetool: For chemical suppliers, Bluesign’s bluetool is a concerted guide that helps System Partners navigate through the homologation procedure. Bluesign bluetool provides all the necessary information on the evaluation of products and processes. Once products are erified to be in co pliance with Bluesign system by means of the Bluesign bluetool, they will be luesign approved and made searchable in the luesign bluefinder blue nder: Identifying problems is easy, but finding solutions re uires e perience hat s why luesign created the ost comprehensive positive list in the industry always ept up to date he luesign bluefinder is a web based, ad anced search engine for manufacturers containing Bluesign approved chemical products. blueguide: The Bluesign blueguide is a comprehensive database of garment anufacturers and asse blers as well as brands and retailers containing Bluesign approved materials. blue pert: Combining intelligent processes and smart chemistry for increased resource productivity, the Bluesign blueXpert is a productivity calculator for anufacturers allowing process calculation with luesign appro ed che ical products and bench ar ing with erified best practice processes suston – 29


How Does Bluesign Work? Bluesign provides a holistic solution for safe and environmentally friendly textile production, working at each step of the supply chain to ensure that products meet rigorous benchmarks with focus on people, the environment and resources.

PEOPLE People Consu er safet Consumer Safety Occupational Occupationalhealth health and andsafet safety

ENVIRONMENT Environment ater eemissions issions Water Air issions Aireemissions aste Waste Soil Soil

The Bluesign system Many certifications focus on the end product, but this says nothing about substances or practices used in the previous stages of production. The solution is simply to turn this approach upside down: start at the beginning. By preventing hazardous chemicals from entering the input stream in the first place, the Bluesign system creates a clean process that provides consumers the confidence they are purchasing a product that is both sustainably produced and that meets the highest consumer safety standards. This is the Bluesign Input Stream Management approach. Since its founding in 2000, Bluesign has used scientific chemical assessments to evaluate the hazards of 20,000 30 – suston

RESOURCES Resources Energ , water, Energy, water, chemicals, che icals, raw aterial raw materials ench ar Benchmark

chemical formulations and assign them to one of three categories: blue – safe to use; gray – special handling required; and black – forbidden. The assessments relate to over 900 different chemical substances, whereas 600 banned substances are included. Yet it’s not enough to merely point out which chemicals to avoid – manufacturers need good and safe alternatives. That’s why Bluesign created the first and most comprehensive positive list in the industry, outlining over 11,000 safe and effective alternative chemicals in what’s known as the Bluesign bluefinder. Cooperation with system partners Together with system partners, Bluesign’s industry experts prepare a

BLUESIGN SYSTEM bluesign® system is minimization ini i ation Risk eduction of pacts Reduction ofi impacts Protection Protectionofofpeople people and and the environ ent the environment esource productivit Resource productivity

roadmap for the company to meet the benchmarks on the focus areas. Once achieved, the system partner may then use the Bluesign trademark on the applicable product, one made with minimal negative social and environmental impacts. But it doesn’t end here. While the right to use the Bluesign logo is certainly a milestone along the journey, it’s not the final destination. That’s because Bluesign offers more than a standard, it provides an active and growing industry forum where its over 500 system partners together find ways on collaborating on some of the industry’s most pressing sustainability challenges. Continued focus on people, environment and resources. This is the blue way.


Traceable & Transparent Producing directly in Europe, with their own factories in Italy, Romania and Serbia, AKU has been able to trace every single component of their footwear. Now they're taking the next step by making this information public.


nown for its efforts regarding sustainability and a responsible corporate governance, Italian footwear specialist AKU already concentrates 90 percent of its production in company-owned facilities in Italy, Romania and Serbia, thereby reducing the environmental impact caused by the transport of goods. Naturally, AKU also pays close attention to where the various materials for their different shoes and boots come from. Behind closed doors, workers at AKU

have continually monitored and evaluated the component origin of their entire collection, with the main goal to further shorten the supply chain. Transparency to the people But now, to give people – retailers and end users – a better insight into where the components of the European-made shoes actually come from, the company decided to share the information publicly. This traceability project starts with the Mountain Inspired line that is 100 per-

cent designed in Italy and made in Europe. To begin with, this will specifically focus on the two new premium models Bellamont Lux and Bellamont Gaia GTX. For both styles AKU provides an individual online chart at, listing each of the over fifty shoe components, their origin and the distance of the supplier from the AKU factories. Having just initiated the project, the long-term goal will be to step-by-step create such a specific chart for every single Made-inEurope style in the collection. Towards a product ID card To promote and gauge the interest of the market and the end user on this important topic, AKU has recently launched an advertising campaign in Italy in several influential magazines within the outdoor sector. The positive feedback received thus far confirms the growing interest towards this responsible approach to production and consumer relations. Following AKU’s unique-to-the-industry creation of an EPD report for the AKU Bellamont Plus model last year, this novel “ID card” for the individual product is the next major move towards full transparency.

ISPO Munich: Hall A4/502 suston – 31

Will we meet the UN’s climate goals from the Paris Agreement? No one knows. In the Alps, a number of ski destinations are taking steps to prepare for winters without sufficient snowfall. BY JAAKKO JÄRVENSIVU

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n the Alps, there has long been a simple rule of thumb: The ski season needs to be at least 100 days long in order for a ski lift to be profitable over the long term. This would be based on at least a 30 cm (12 inches) snow base on the slopes, and perhaps the occasional warmer winter every now and then. But warm winters are becoming more and more frequent. Instead of snow, rain is falling at ever higher elevations, and the line for where snow cannons can be operated continues to creep up on the slopes. In 2007, approximately 90% of the Alps’ nearly seven hundred ski resorts were estimated as being snowsure, according to the hundred days rule. However, an OECD report from the same year revealed that only half of the ski resorts in Switzerland at lower elevations would be snowsure if the snow line were moved up less than 300 meters (1,000 feet). There are many indications that this is likely to happen, and the other Alpine countries have more low-lying ski areas than Switzerland. In the United Nations Paris Agreement, which entered into force in November 2016, the signatory countries agreed to keep global warming under 2° C, but preferably 1.5° C. The latest UN report keeps these goals in place, however, there are few signs indicating that the 1.5° C target will be achieved. According to research conducted at EPFL, the Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland, the 2° C scenario means that approximately 40% of ski resorts in the Alps will not be able to manage over the long term. If the 2° C goal is exceeded, then even more resorts will of course be affected. According to Austrian climate researchers, approximately half of the ski resorts in Tyrol – the cradle of the downhill skiing – will not have enough snow in 2050. While other Austrian studies have been a little more optimistic, most experts estimate that by the end of the century only 10–15% of Tyrol’s ski resorts will have enough snow unless we start drastically reducing our current carbon dioxide levels.

activity. But the uncertainty surrounding climate change means that more and more ski resorts are instead investing in year-round activities and experiences that are not as dependent on snow. Mountain biking, electric bikes and hiking trips can be safer sources of income, along with shopping, spas, food and indoor ski resorts. Tignes, a high elevation ski resort in France, decided to invest in an indoor skiing center after the slopes of the Grand Motte glacier shrank by 30%.

Pioneering ski resorts

Many ski resorts, both in the Alps and other mountainous regions around the world, have long turned a blind eye to the problems. But in recent years, risk awareness has increased in many places – as has the desire to reduce their own emissions. Ski resorts such as Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Wolf Creek and Aspen in the United States have committed to drastically reducing their greenhouse gas emissions – above all by focusing on solar energy. The Finnish ski resort Pyhä is pursuing the same strategy and is completely “carbon neutral” today.

In light of recent, shorter winter seasons, many resorts are pushing to expand on activities that can be undertaken in spring, summer and fall.

The decisive factor is the elevation of the ski areas. Already, lower-lying resorts all around the Alps are struggling with financial problems. Investing in snowmaking is expensive – and it can be risky. Although artificial snow is durable and withstands sunshine and mild weather better than natural snow, temperatures below freezing are required in order to operate the snow cannons. Several Swiss banks have stopped lending money to ski lift facilities below an elevation of 1,500 meters (approximately 5,000 feet). It is believed that snowsure ski resorts at high elevations will be able to raise their prices as downhill skiing becomes a more exclusive


Uncertainty hinders investments

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The ski resort Laax runs on solar and hydro energy and its Greenstyle Foundation funds eco-projects in the area.


The altitude where snow cannons can operate is rising every year.




The Great Aletsch Glacier in the Swiss canton of Valais is the largest glacier in the Alps. Between 1973 and 2010, Swiss glaciers melted by 28%. Experts estimate that they will have lost 80–90% of their volume by 2100, in the best case scenario.

Ski resorts in the Alps are also adapting, particularly in Switzerland, with the foremost among these being the town of Laax. Although Laax had previously been known as a Mecca for freestyle skiing – with Europe’s longest half-pipe – today, more is being written about its comprehensive sustainability work that deals with more than just greenhouse gases. Weisse Arena Group, the company running the ski resort, launched the Greenstyle Project back in 2010, which aims to find ways to be more ecological.

A holistic approach

Today, the electricity in the Laax valley is generated by hydro and solar power provided by the local Flims Electric company. The resort has also installed solar-panels on the roofs and façades in the village, which are used to provide electricity for the electric car charging stations. The innovative approach has already earned the resort Swiss and European solar accolades. A local wind farm project on the Vorab Glacier is also in the works, and the resort advises that its guests arrive by public transportation. There is also a non-profit Greenstyle Foundation in Laax that works with a crowd-sourcing principle and funds eco-projects in the area. Guests of the 34 – suston

resort can also participate via donations, which the Weisse Arena Group will then triple. According to Reto Fry, who has been in charge of the Greenstyle Project, approximately 75% of the emissions of a resort are caused by transportation. However, finding new ways to travel to ski resorts in the Alps is not an easy task. “I have actually been looking for a travel agency that offers sustainable vacations, but I haven’t found any,” says Reto Fry.

PYHÄ – A NORDIC PIONEER Already in 2009, the Finnish ski resort Pyhä beca e the first ordic s i resort to shift to renewable energy, powering its lifts, snowmaking and lighting with hydropower and the heating with biomass. The resort then oined the s energy efficiency contract, which involved an analysis and eventual decrease of overall energy consumption. The re aining carbon footprint is co pletely offset by purchasing old tandard certification emission reduction credits, making Pyhä the first ordic carbon neutral s i resort as well pyha en about environment



Eco-Adventures Without End The sweeping landscapes in West Sweden and natural ethos of the Swedes combine to provide sustainable experiences that the adventurous just can’t get enough of.


ollowing venues in Tuscany, Argentina and Alaska, this year’s Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS) will be held in Gothenburg September 16–19, located in West Sweden. The summit will be hosted by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), in collaboration with Visit Sweden. ATTA's Executive Director of Europe & Central Asia, Chris Doyle, has no doubt Gothenburg will match its predecessors in terms of adventurous allure. And he’s one to know – he currently resides in the region. “One reason we chose Sweden for the 2019 summit was because when it comes to sustainability, Sweden doesn’t even have to try,” Chris Doyle explains. For example, Gothenburg was designated as “the most sustainable city in the world” based on the results of the 2017 Global Destination Sustainability Index. Chris Doyle sees the tourism develop-

ments in West Sweden as positive: “The region is seeing an increase in operators, but they all have ‘sustainability’ as their middle name.” Indeed, a far cry from package tourism, visitors to West Sweden can expect the full Swedish experience. “Local operators have begun pairing the adventure with other experiences,” Chris Doyle explains, and continues: “Such as exploring the culinary traditions, whereby guests are served locally sourced seafood, seasonal produce and foraged delicacies. Then, have the guests cook these on a camping stove – people love this stuff!” As to adventure, one doesn’t need to look far. Sweden offers Europe’s largest forested area and is speckled with 100,000 lakes and countless heritage sites. Add the 8,000 islands of the Western Archipelago, and the potential for exploration is virtually limitless.

CHRIS’ TOP 5 WEST SWEDEN EXPERIENCES 1. Imagining the world as it was millennia ago at Tanum World Heritage Site. 2. Paddling through Sweden’s one and only marine national park, Kosterhavet. 3.

periencing fishing illage life in Smögen.

4. Mountain biking in Änggårdsbergen Nature Reserve, ust a stone s throw fro downtown Gothenburg. 5. Island hopping and hiking Bohuslän’s Archipelago. suston – 35

Decarbonization 2050: Are you Ready? The fossil fuels industry is exhibiting all of the signs of a bubble economy, and this applies to the textiles industry as well. We ignore the warning signs at our peril.


t’s been 10 years since the global markets were shaken by a financial crisis that brought the economy to a near collapse. The “Final Report of the National Commission on the causes of the financial and economic crises,”1 commissioned by the US government and published in January 2011, describes the causes and concludes that sufficient 36 – suston

warning signs were there for all to see. If one swaps out terms like “subprime lending” (the original cause) with “fossil-based investments,” the corresponding paragraph from the report should be cause for alarm: “Despite the expressed view that the crisis could not have been foreseen or avoided, there were warning signs. The

tragedy was that they were ignored or discounted. There was an explosion in risky fossil-based investment* and securitization, an unsustainable rise in fossil industry share* prices, widespread reports of egregious and predatory mining* practices, dramatic increases in fossil asset value*, and exponential growth in financial firms’ trading activities,


CO2 emitted during the manufacture of an outdoor jacket can be halved by just swapping a PTFE membrane with a PESbased membrane.



CEO Dr. Rüdiger Fox with the climate-neutral bleed Thermal Jacket at COP24.

… among many other red flags. Yet there was pervasive permissiveness; little meaningful action was taken to quell the threats in a timely manner.”

Economy needs an overhaul

Despite warnings from scientists from 120 nations,2 NASA3 and many other renowned institutes around the world about the urgent need for Climate Action, instead of addressing the issue, many companies are still clinging to the wishful idea that climate change really does not exist. But one thing has long been clear: we will have to fundamentally reinvent our economy, and the longer we wait, the greater the pressure will be to change. Perhaps it would be helpful to step out of our entrenched fronts for a moment and into a space that sits somewhere between “denial” and “conviction” – the area of the possible. Within such a space, companies would already be obligated to weigh any existential risks for their business model and it would be prudent

to carry out a sustainability “stress test” in order to see just how prepared they are to implement the necessary changes in a timely fashion. Such a test could include three questions for every company in the textile industry: • How high are the hidden costs of climate change born so far by society and which we could be made responsible in the near future? • To what extent are the current products more climate-friendly than the industry average? • Which products could be substituted with significantly more climate-friendly competitive alternatives?

Preparing for full decarbonization

With the release of the “UN Charter for Climate Change” for the textile industry on December 10, 2018, it is clear that the 40 signatories are committed to forging a new path for our industry. In a first step on the journey to full decarbonization until 2050, a 30% reduction by 2030 is

part of the 16 collective commitments. While this may sound ambitious for some, it may actually be achieved much faster than most would presume by taking on the “low-hanging fruits.” To cite one example, the CO2 emissions generated during the manufacture of a typical outdoor jacket can be reduced by more than half just by swapping out a PTFE membrane with a polyester-based membrane – with gloves by around two-thirds. With a single component change, the climate targets could be largely exceeded. The irreversible shift to sustainability in our industry has started. Those who wait will be left stranded on the train platform of history. 1 The

Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, January 2011 / *replaced word from original report 2 IPCC Report, October 2018 3

ISPO Munich: Hall A1/300 suston – 37

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THE NEW “IT” WORD? Lately, everyone is taking about “biobased & biodegradable.” But what are they and what are the pros and cons? Suston takes a closer look at materials, recycling and the end-of-life cycle. ILLUSTRATIONS NADIA NORBÖM

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The Ins and Outs of

Organic Cotton Cotton: the fabric that spans closets, continents, and centuries. Chances are you are wearing cotton right now. Does it matter if it is organically grown? Suston investigates. BY CRISTIANA VOINOV

First, what exactly is cotton and how is it made?

Cotton is a fiber that grows protectively around the seeds of the cotton plant. To make cotton fabric, the fluffy fiber (called the boll) is separated from the seeds, and then aligned, spun, and woven. The cotton plant also has other uses, producing everything from cottonseed oil, paper, and even sausage casings.

What is the difference between cotton and organic cotton?

The difference between cotton and organic cotton lies in production. The majority of conventionally grown cotton uses genetically modified seed to produce more fiber per crop. Organic cotton, on the other hand, is strictly unmodified, and must be grown without the use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers.

What gives a cotton fabric the label of “organic”?

There is no way to tell if something is organic just by touch or sight, so labels are important – they will indicate whether a product has been certified organic by an independent third-party. But from here it gets a bit complicated, as not all countries regulate organic textile labeling the same. The U.S., for example, recognizes organic cotton if the crop meets certain federal (USDA/NOP) standards for growing and harvesting plants, while the European Union’s Ecolabel requires a percentage of organic cotton or integrated pest management (IPM) cotton. Many other countries have no legal basis for labeling textiles “organic” whatsoever. Fortunately, independent accreditors like the Organic Content Standard (OCS) and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) can determine which cottons have been grown and processed in an organic manner, and products containing certified textile can be affixed with a consumer-facing label.

How do these standards work?

The OCS works at the farm level with approved national certification authorities to verify that a final product contains mostly organically grown and harvested plants. GOTS, on the other hand, ensures production meets environmental and social criteria. Moreover, with GOTS, integrity is maintained throughout every step in the supply chain from farm to finished product, including the 40 – suston

otherwise especially polluting dyeing and finishing stages of production. A US-made cotton shirt with a GOTS label, for example, is made up of at least 95% cotton from a certified organic farm and its fibers are cut, woven and treated with nontoxic chemicals. All this is guaranteed to be done under fair, safe and transparent working conditions.

Is organic cotton better for the environment?

Cotton production used about 2.78% of the world’s farmable land in 61 countries in 2017/18 – that’s nearly 32 million hectares (320,000 km2) of land dedicated to growing cotton. Growing conventional cotton requires lots of water, pesticides, and other chemicals to keep the crop productive and costs low. Organic cotton, on the other hand, uses far less fresh water (91% reduction) and energy overall (62% reduction), and its carbon footprint is nearly half of conventionally grown cotton.*

Is there a downside to organic?

As organic cotton is not genetically modified, organic crops have lower yields per plant and as such require more land than conventional crops. Also, due to the extra costs associated with the added diligence and production costs of organic standards, organic cotton tends to be more expensive. This means some smaller companies may not be able to afford certification. Source: Textile Exchange/



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Biobased Plastics

Can corn, sugar cane and other starch-rich sources replace crude oil when making plastics? In many cases, yes, it is technically possible. But of course the question is more complex than that. BY GABRIEL ARTHUR

What is the difference between bioplastics and biobased plastics?

The concept “bioplastics” raises issues as it suggests that the polymer is more environmentally friendly, and/or that it’s derived from biomass only. That’s why some advocate using the term “biobased plastics” or “biobased polymers” when referring to plastics derived from renewable biomass, including when they are mixed with petroleum-based plastics.

So biobased plastics can also contain petrobased materials? Yes, there is no official definition or international standard. Polymers that have somewhere between 10–100% biobased content are usually referred to as biobased plastics. They are most widely used for thermoplastics. 42 – suston

Do biobased plastics have less environmental impacts than petroleum-based plastics?

Generally speaking, they have the benefit of being partly or fully derived from renewable resources. But to say more than that, each raw material must first undergo a life-cycle analysis. For example: if a rainforest in Brazil is cut down to farm sugar cane, which then is refined into ethanol and biobased polyethylene in facilities run on coal power, and the materials are then transported to China to manufacture products that are transported to Europe, the negative environmental impact can be very large.

At end of life, are biobased plastics also biodegradable or recyclable? Not necessarily – some are, some are

not. With regard to recyclability, the only biobased plastic that is currently recycled on a larger scale is bio polyethylene (bio PE), which is primarily used in packaging. Biobased plastics can also be used to produce energy at end of life, which can be positive if they thereby also replace fossil fuels.

Why do biobased plastics still represent such a minor proportion of total production? Biobased plastics are still more expensive, and large investment is required to transform the plastic industry to become more circular and biobased. If international demand begins to increase significantly, this development may go quickly. Source: European Bioplastics, SPIF



... And Biosynthetics Picture a world where silk scarves are made of milk and shoes from seaweed. Suston explains why biosynthetics just might be the future of apparel fabrics. BY CRISTIANA VOINOV

What are biosynthetics?

Biosynthetics are fabrics made, either partially or entirely, from biological sources like plants. These plants, also called “1st generation” crops, undergo a chemical process that break them down into polymers (repeating chains of large molecules – think DNA). The polymers are then spun and woven into fabric.

What’s the main difference between biosynthetic textile and synthetic textile?

Typically, synthetic textiles like polyester and acrylic are made using fossil fuels. Though biosynthetics use biological materials instead of petroleum or natural gas, creating a finished fiber still requires a number of chemical tweaks – hence the “synthetic” in biosynthetic.

Why choose biosynthetics over other fabrics?

Biosynthetics provide the performance of man-made fibers with the renewability of natural fibers. This means that the textile is not only a technologically novel option but one that can theoretically provide a long-term solution that could effectively bypass the textile industry’s current heavy reliance on fossil fuels.

Are there potential downfalls to biosynthetics?

Due to its relative newness, ecological and economic evaluations on biosynthetics are limited – for instance, whether a material is recyclable and how scalable infrastructure for recycling could be developed. It’s also a textile that tends to use destructive mono-crops, and experts

warn of its potential negative impact on the communities that depend on natural-fiber farming. The upshot is that new technologies are being developed for commercial use that are aimed at repurposing industrial waste products and non-food resources like algae into textiles. With these advancements, along with the standardization of agricultural and social practices, biosynthetics’ benefit to society and industry looks promising. Source: Textile Exchange

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Facts You Should Know About Down As with all products derived from living animals and produced on an industrial-scale, there are undeniably animal welfare concerns with down. Suston helps you navigate them. BY JONATHAN FRAENKEL-EIDSE

What is down and where does it come from?

Down is the fine, insulating layer of feathers found underneath the coarser exterior feathers of waterfowl like ducks and geese. Down has become pervasive within the outdoor industry in cold-weather applications, and not without good reason: down’s insulation, weight and compaction characteristics make it truly a wonder-product that alternatives find hard to match.

can then be regrown and plucked several times over per animal. Thus, the short answer is no, much down found on the market today is not coming from sources that practice humane animal treatment.

What’s being done to change that?

As a biobased, recyclable and biodegradable product, down holds an impressive sustainability profile. But the ethics surrounding down can be somewhat less straight forward: as down comes from geese and ducks, animal welfare is a topic that repeatedly raises concern.

The fact that down involves animals in captivity and their eventual slaughter notwithstanding, geese and ducks intended for the down industry needn’t suffer the cruelties mentioned above while alive. In the absence of any global animal welfare standards for waterfowl, and following criticism from animal welfare groups, several outdoor industry actors have taken initiative to secure a traceable down supply chain and set standards to ensure the animals live the best possible lives.

Is down animal-friendly?

Which are the leading standards?

Is down sustainable?

Many of these animal welfare issues stem from the fact that much of down comes from the food industry as a by-product. While this actually adds to its overall sustainability, the food industry has its own practices with geese and ducks that many find hard to stomach. Foremost among these is the practice of “forced feeding,” whereby a funnel is inserted down the geese’s throat to stuff down food and enlarge its liver for foie gras. Another particularly cruel practice in the down industry has been “live plucking,” whereby the down will be plucked from a living goose or duck, so that it

While there are numerous independent and proprietary standards, two leading down standards are the Responsible Down Standard and the Global Traceable Down Standard. The Responsible Down Standard (RDS) was launched in 2014 and is an independent and voluntary global standard that was developed with the input of animal welfare groups, industry experts, brands and retailers. Down is only RDS certified if its entire supply chain passes a third-party audit that ensures a holistic respect for animal welfare has been maintained from hatching to slaughter

– including no live-plucking or forced feeding. Only 100% certified down carries a consumer-facing RDS label. The Global Traceable Down Standard (GTDS) is used primarily in the apparel industry, and essentially shares the same animal welfare standards as the RDS above but is somewhat stricter on at least one count. This relates to the down’s “Parent Farm,” whereby the GTDS requires mandatory certification of farms that produce the eggs, regardless of whether or not down is produced here. While RDS is undergoing revision at time of writing, this is currently optional and parent farms only need to be certified if down is also produced there.

Will the standards make a difference? Yes. Although the outdoor industry is estimated to account for just 1% of global down consumption, by using considerable leverage in raising awareness and promoting ethical down, the outdoor community can continue to blaze trail for the remaining 99%.

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Harvest of Trees We have heard about recycled down and wool – but cork? Maybe it’s time we start looking at this wonder material as more than just a bottle stopper.

First – where does cork actually come from?

From cork oak forests, primarily found in Portugal, Spain, Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Tunisia, and France. The tree bark, which is what wine corks are made of, is harvested by hand once every nine years. Every time a tree is harvested, it begins to regrow its bark anew. This process causes no environmental damage and can actually be good for the tree: harvesting a cork oak’s bark can extend the tree’s lifespan to over 300 years. There are differences, however, in environmental impact depending on cork producers. There are FSC-certified forests in all the major producing countries.

What are the benefits of cork?

The trees’ root systems both anchor the 46 – suston

soil and are excellent water regulators in the semi-arid landscapes where they grow. They also provide a living ecosystem, with each tree offering shade and a home to approximately 100 species. Finally, they are also effective carbon sinks – and the cork harvesting process itself also removes more carbon from the atmosphere and locks it away in new bark. At the end of its life cycle, cork can easily biodegradable into the environment, or be recycled into new products.

Aside from wine corks, what are its other applications?

While most of the raw material is used for making new wine corks, cork is an extremely versatile material with a range of applications. Cork’s naturally durable, moisture-wicking, lightweight and rot-

resistant qualities make it perfect for repurposing into a wide variety of eco-friendly products, for instance soles for footwear. Sources: ReCork, WWF




A Fiber for Life

The keratin fiber, wool, has evolved along with the rest of life on Planet Earth. As part of the natural carbon cycle, wool grows on sheep and biodegrades readily – making wool fiber a naturally sustainable choice.


ature is the original circular economy. Carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and other molecules continually shift from one form of life to the next in a cycle that has operated since life on Earth began. Biodegradation – micro-organisms in soil or water breaking down matter so it can be recreated – is the key to this process. Keratins like wool readily biodegrade, particularly in warm, damp conditions and in the presence of oxygen – a healthy soil or compost, for example. Initially, fungi colonize and weaken the outside of the fiber. Then, bacteria begin digesting it. When wool is kept dry or there is an absence of oxygen, however, it is extremely durable. Archaeologists have found preserved wool samples dating back thousands of years. Wool and microplastics Ready biodegradability is a key difference between wool and the oil-based synthetic fibers. In ideal conditions, wool prod-

ucts are almost completely degraded after six months in the ground and can even function as an effective soil conditioner and fertilizer. Synthetic fibers do not readily biodegrade. Their chemical structures were developed during the past 50 years, and nature has not yet evolved a ready means to recycle them. Instead, they progressively miniaturize and then bio-accumulate. These tiny plastic particles are now causing great concern to the medical community, environmentalists, and conscious consumers around the world. While more research is required, independent sources provide some confidence that fibers shed during the washing and wearing of wool clothing are unlikely to contribute to persistent pollution. Wool has been shown to biodegrade in marine environments, in laboratory and on-site testing. Experiments in New Zealand showed surface damage to wool fibers after 21 days incu-

bation in sea water, and the presence of wool-degrading bacteria was confirmed. In addition, early data from research in seabirds shows that when ingested, the proportion of natural microfibers in the digestive tract of birds declines from esophagus to stomach to intestine, indicating that they are likely being digested naturally. Sustainability at the IWTO Nonetheless, there is much more to be done. The International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO), whose worldwide membership encompasses the wool textile pipeline from sheep to shop, is contributing to the science of sustainability. Current research includes a study of the biodegradation of wool, including the number and fate of wool microfibers formed during garment care. This research will ultimately help inform consumers about how their product choices can be part of a sustainable world.

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The whole product range from Light My Fire is now biobased.

Biobased Step by Step At the end of 2018, Light My Fire took a big step towards a world less dependent on fossil fuels. Biobased plastics were phased in for all products after two years of intensive research and development.


here has long been a “Catch 22” with biobased plastics. For the development to take off, greater purchaser demand was required in order for manufacturers to have the courage to invest. But for demand to increase, manufacturers needed to have more to offer. The technical solutions exist – but someone had to risk taking the first step. In 2017, Swedish company Light My Fire decided to be one of the first to stop waiting and start acting.

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“We set a goal: In 2019, our entire product range would consist of biobased plastics,” says company CEO Calill Odqvist Jagusch. The decision was not the result of countless investigations and market research surveys. It was more about being proactive and about the willingness to take responsibility for a growing environmental problem. “Plastics have become an increasingly controversial material in recent years, among both consumers and politicians.

Light My Fire owns our own factory in Sweden, where we produce products made of plastic. As a company, we have to help change from this mentality of disposable and single-use items, and at the same time start using materials that have less of an impact on the environment. We want to be part of it and help make the change!” As early as 2013, the company had conducted a pilot project on biobased plastics. For example, could Light My Fire’s bestseller “The Spork” be made out


Light My Fire shares more about the product materials and suppliers at the company’s website.

of a blend of corn and wood? “We did lots of quality tests. But the materials were not good enough back then. There’s no environmental benefit if our products break down more easily. At the same time, there were a lot of unanswered questions due to the fact that our products are intended to be used with food. Can the materials withstand being used in a microwave, being washed in a dishwasher, and so on?” The project was shelved up until 2017. “When we started up again, I thought that the technological development in biobased plastics would have been much further along. But the fact is: It wasn’t,” says Calill Odqvist Jagusch.

Cooperation – a key to development

What was new, however, was that the discussion within the plastics industry had begun. Even multinational manufacturers of various plastic materials were interested once the small Swedish company got in touch. “The fact that we own our own factory

is a great asset when it comes to cooperating with suppliers. They need to test and adapt their materials. For example, SK Chemicals in South Korea, one of the world’s largest companies in the industry, has had their technicians out visiting us several times.” “The development has been a joint process, whereby we look at what happens to materials if, for example, temperatures are increased a few degrees during the melting. The suppliers benefit greatly from participating in the manufacturing phase.” Besides the technical challenges that Light My Fire has been working on since 2017, there have been other aspects that have also taken time. Since the company’s products need to be authorized for use with food, new licenses have to be applied for in several markets. And what sort of conditions are the raw materials for the biobased materials being grown under? “We are always looking for raw materials that are being produced in a sustainable way, preferably in Europe. Many

consumers want to know if biobased plastics are leading to the destruction of rainforests, etc. But at the same time, I am struck by the fact that no one ever asks about the origin of the oil – which countries it was produced in, and what that leads to there.” At different percentages and with plastic based on various raw materials, such as corn, sugar cane, etc., Light My Fire has now tried to maximize the utilization of biobased plastics throughout its product range. The products are labeled with the company’s own “Biobased” symbol. “This way, consumers and other interested parties can visit our website, where we list all the materials and all the suppliers in an attempt to be as transparent as possible. And we also share more information about both biobased and regular plastics.” ISPO Munich: Hall A2/223 OR Snow Show: 39044/UL li m r .com suston – 49


Biodegradable – Nature’s Solution or Dead-End? Throughout history, human technologies have more or less unwittingly been in harmony with nature’s cycles. Our textiles, for example, would biodegrade and nourish the soil, which would in turn grow new crops and support new flocks of sheep. No longer. BY JONATHAN FRAENKEL-EIDSE

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stop non-biodegradable materials from entering nature via circular design, and/or replace these materials with biodegradable ones.

Synthetics were meant to be a solution

To better judge these options, it helps to understand the underlying reasons behind the rise of synthetics. In many ways, synthetics were themselves orginally seen as a solution to the problems associated with natural fibers. Charles Ross works as a



aste can be seen as the antithesis of a cycle, and the last century is shaping up to become the perfect case study of what things look like when human outputs run afoul of nature’s cycles – in more ways than one. But get ready for a fun fact: mother nature has had a few embarrassing hiccups along the way herself. Just 300 million years ago, for example, 160 fttall (50m) plants first appeared across the Earth – trees. The microbes and fungus of the time, however, wouldn’t evolve the ability to ingest these newcomers for another 60 million years. This meant that trees would rise and fall, only to pile up on top of each other in what might be called geological history’s biggest mess. With time, heat and pressure, this mess would eventually turn into today’s deep lying layers of coal. With plastic microfiber pollution, could say this history is repeating itself and microbes are late for dinner once again. Only this time, humans are to blame and, unless we want to wait a few million years on evolution, it’s up to us to repair the cycle. This leaves us with two options:


consultant and university lecturer specializing in Performance Sportswear Design & Sustainability, and works with among others the EOG’s Sustainability Working Group. As he explains: “Almost all natural fibers require massive amounts of land, water, energy, fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides and not to mention labor to procure. Synthetics, on the other hand, require comparatively little of these.” Add to that characteristics like durability and low-maintenance and it’s easy to see how the scale tipped in their favor. Were it not for the recent understanding of the degree to which they contribute to plastic pollution, especially in the oceans, and the effects this is having on the food chain, synthetics would have likely continued to be known as the more sustainable solution. But now, many question whether fibers that cannot biodegrade should have a place in a sustainable future at all. However, a closer look at biodegradable fibers reveals that things aren’t exactly as black and white as they seem.

The downsides of biodegradability

While at first glance biodegradability fits best with nature’s cycles, the virtues of biodegradability as an industry-wide solution is much more complicated on at least three counts. Firstly, aside from the aforementioned greater production impacts of natural fibers versus synthetics, biodegradation as a product’s end-of-life strategy is seen to be particularly wasteful when synthetics can in theory be recycled indefinitely. Secondly, biodegradation emits greenhouse gases CO2 and methane in significant quantities, unlike fossil-based synthetics, which can be seen as a form of sequestering carbon – if one turns a blind eye to the oil industry’s burning of the remaining 99.5% of the oil they pull up. Finally, even if a product is technically biodegradable, the process itself is not straightforward. “Biodegradation also requires the right conditions to happen. Wool biodegrades easily, but some fibers generally seen as biodegradable, Type 1 cellulosics like cotton for example, have been found to be persistent in marine environments if they have been treated with synthetic dyes,” explains Charles Ross, and continues: “Yet whether or not this represents a similar threat to marine life as synthetic fibers requires further study.”

Vaude “We’ve moved on”

Within the outdoor industry, biodegradable materials have been on the verge of becoming a trend in recent years. But not all agree that this is the way for the industry to go. The German outdoor brand Vaude has established itself as one of the

industry leaders in sustainability. Alarmed with the reports of microfiber pollution, Vaude set out to find ways to mitigate its own product impacts some years ago. Among other things, this work resulted in the creation of an award-winning fleece jacket using the biodegradable Type 2 cellulose-based fiber, Tencel. René Bethmann, Innovation Manger Materials and Manufacturing at Vaude, today perceives such product innovation and experimentation as crucial to their learning process, but says that for Vaude, biodegradability and sustainability is no longer necessarily seen to go hand in hand: “The solution cannot be just to replace every clothing to biodegradable – durability and recyclability is the solution. That’s why Vaude’s focus has moved past biodegradability to circular design.” Through the use of biobased plastics and the development of wide-spread collection systems, René Bethmann sees the potential for closed loop manufacturing as the holy grail of sustainability. With respect to unintentional microfiber pollution, he argues that it’s the handling of synthetics and not only the synthetics themselves that needs to be addressed. “Our best-case scenario is to stop micro-fiber pollution through a combination of solutions like better constructions and filters at the source. Industry is trying to address this but needs help with effective regulatory policies.” Ultimately, for René Bethmann the shortcomings of biodegradables have caused him to support biobased synthetics: “I know the topic of biodegradability has become a big trend, but I see a contradiction in wanting a product that is both durable and that degrades quickly. This will just lead to greater resource waste, which is why I’d say it represents a huge danger and risk for our industry.


Innovation Manger Materials and Manufacturing at Vaude


Consultant and university lecturer specializing in Performance Sportswear Design & Sustainability

Not necessarily an either/or issue

The Swedish outdoor sportswear brand Houdini has also been working at the vanguard of industry sustainability. When it comes to the synthetics/ natural fiber stand-off, Houdini has decided to play both sides: “To combat our industry’s impacts, radical change will be required. But we have to remember that it’s a multi-front war and there are no silver bullets. At Houdini, our circular design principles are combined with building on the positives while reducing and eliminating the negatives of both synthetic and natural fibers,” explains the company’s CEO Eva Karlsson. This pragmatic approach has led to a collection packed with both biodegradable wool products as well as recycled and recyclable synthetics. “When it comes to natural fibers, if ill-managed they can be devastating to land systems and biodi-

EVA KARLSSON CEO at Houdini Sportswear

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In 2016, Houdini demonstrated the compostability of three of their product lines with the The Houdini Menu, a meal prepared using herbs and vegetables grown from the resulting compost.

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versity. But these impacts can largely be mitigated, and can in fact become restorative if managed correctly,” says Eva Karlsson, and continues: “Here, we are aiming towards recycled and recyclable natural fibers, as well as ones that are fully-compostable, not just biodegradable, at their end-of-life.” In general, many challenges arise from natural fibers being mixed with synthetics, ruling out the ability to recycle for both. Additionally, biodegradable fibers like wool are most often treated with a cocktail of chemicals and dyes that would toxify any soil, and the products will contain non-biodegradable parts. Houdini tackles these issues already at the design stage, striving to ensure that recyclable products – both natural and synthetic – are not mixed with non-recyclable and that biodegradable fibers are of a quality that can actually compost without contaminating soil. Houdini has proven the compostability of these products with its Houdini Menu Project, culminating in a three-course meal, prepared by a celebrity chef, based on plants grown in soil with their composted clothes. Houdini currently makes use of the advantages of synthetics and, following recent innovations,

Eva Karlsson says that she is optimistic that the problems associated with them can and will be solved. But as we don’t know what the future has in store, she argues that a responsible company must continue to plan based on today’s realities: “Currently, synthetics represent a risk not just with micro-fiber pollution but also due to the planetary impacts of crude oil extraction, lack of value chain traceability and transparency and limited recycling opportunities. If sustainably sourced, biobased, recyclable, traceable and biodegradable synthetics can be fully realized – we’re all for it! But we’re not there yet. Most synthetics that end up in nature today will contaminate it for hundreds of years to come. Against this reality, biodegradable fibers are a responsible choice.” For this reason, at Houdini, synthetics are up against the clock. As Eva Karlsson explains: “Nature provides the blueprint for circular design, and to date we have moved 70% of our styles from linear to circular. By 2030 our goal is to have a circular ecosystem at Houdini, meaning we will have no waste streams. Anywhere. Microplastic pollution is a waste stream, albeit an unintentional one, and if we haven’t solved this by then we will have to replace synthetics.”


DEGRADABLE DEFINITIONS BIODEGRADABILITY refers to a substance’s ability to be broken down by the action of living organisms like fungus and microorganisms into its elemental parts. This ability is dependent on factors such as temperature, ti e, the presence of specific fungi and bacteria and the specific en iron ent (e.g. marine vs. land). DISINTEGRATION, in contrast to biodegradation, is the continual fragmentation and reduction of size of a substance (e.g. plastic reduces to micro-plastic). COMPOSTABLE refers to a substance that can biodegrade into its molecular components under natural conditions relatively quickly, and the end result will contain no eco-toxicity. Not all things biodedegradable are compostable. Not all biodegradable products are made from renewable resources, and vice versa. Similarly, not all biobased products are biodegradable. Many of the latter are chemically identical to fossil-fuel based ones and carry the same properties.

Jury still out

While it remains unclear how the impacts of synthetic and natural fibers ultimately balance out, the fact is that natural fibers are not without their share of problems, and many may not even biodegrade unless in ideal conditions. One way or another, a cycle that can handle synthetic fibers will arise either by natural processes or by human intent. Obviously, we can’t afford to wait on nature’s evolutionary R&D, with its timeline measured in epochs. Vaude is betting on circular design that mimics nature’s own cycles, and is advocating for policies and innovations that stop microfibers from entering the environment. Houdini, on the other hand, is betting that they can create a cycle with both synthetic and natural fibers in just a little over 10 years – beating the aforementioned microbes’ 60 million years with a healthy margin. One thing Charles Ross, René Bethmann and Eva Karlsson can agree on is the urgent need to stop microfiber pollution, and call on industry and policy makers to get it done. But this aside, it’s safe to say that a consensus surrounding what role biodegradability can and should take remains to be hashed out.

Learn more at

The insulation remains highly durable throughout its usable life cycle in a garment

ri a oft io could help to sol e the growing proble of icroplastics littering the ocean

he fibers are enhanced to be ore attracti e to naturally occurring microbes.

The microbes eat away at the fibers at a faster rate, returning the insulation and fabric to nature!




What’s Left? The biodegradation* process leaves behind Water, Methane, CO2 and Biomass

PrimaLoft has optimized the fibers to be more attractive to the naturally-occurring microbes found in these environments



n o e ber , ri aloft launched an international co unications ca paign e plaining the research and facts behind its biodegradable technologies. 54 – suston

PrimaLoft has created the first-ever synthetic insulation and fabric made from 100% recycled, biodegradable* fibers


These fibers break down, when exposed to the right environments

*84.9% biodegradation in 457 days under ASTM D5511 conditions. 56.1% biodegradation in 441 days under ASTM D6691 conditions.


A Better Answer PrimaLoft® sets sustainability forward by introducing PrimaLoft® Bio™ Insulation and PrimaLoft® Bio™ Performance Fabric, each made from the first-ever 100% recycled, biodegradable* synthetic fiber.


t’s a breakthrough in textile sustainability. The advanced material technology experts at US-based PrimaLoft® are the first to provide a proper solution for the end of a garment’s life. The recently launched PrimaLoft® Bio™ products begin as 100% post-consumer recycled materials and, when they reach the end of their usable life cycle, return to nature – the first technology of its kind. The basis is a technically advanced fiber technology, which enhances the fiber to be more attractive to naturally-occurring microbes. This allows for highly accelerated biodegradation* under certain environmental conditions, like in a landfill or in ocean water. In the end, the biodegradation process leaves behind natural elements: water, methane, carbon dioxide and biomass.

No change in performance

But don’t worry; your garments will not start to break down while you wear them. PrimaLoft® Bio™ Insulation and PrimaLoft® Bio™ Performance Fabric both remain highly durable throughout their usable life cycle in a garment. This proprietary technology does not change the performance, look or feel of the garment. The first products from brands are expected to be available to consumers in fall 2020.

4 years of development

Nobody can change the world in one day. The idea for this textile breakthrough

was first introduced in 2014. But it took the PrimaLoft® team of scientists and engineers two years of research to crack the code of biodegradation, another two years to develop the process and more than a year of testing with an independent lab to make sure that the performance of the fibers remain on the same high level. In accelerated test conditions simulating a landfill environment (ASTM D5511) and a maritime environment (ASTM D6691), PrimaLoft® Bio™ fibers have reached near complete biodegradation* in a little over one year – a highly accelerated rate as compared to the negligible degradation observed in standard polyester under the same conditions. PrimaLoft® has enhanced the fibers to be more attractive to the naturallyoccurring microbes found in these environments. The microbes eat away at the fibers at a faster rate, returning the insulation to nature.

“Recycling is a good start, but…”

Mike Joyce, president and CEO of PrimaLoft®, about the intention of PrimaLoft Bio™ : “Recycling is a good start, but we are intent on providing an even better answer to the environmental issues facing our industry. As we have been making sustainable products since 2007, PrimaLoft® Bio™ speaks to the heart and soul of who we are.” As a result, PrimaLoft® Bio™ helps to solve the growing problem of microplastics littering the ocean, a significant issue

for the textile and other industries. It is estimated that half a million tons of plastic microfibers shed during the washing of plastic-based textiles such as polyester, nylon, or acrylic end up in the ocean every year, according to research from The Ellen Macarthur Foundation.

Relentlessly Responsible

PrimaLoft® Bio™ expands upon PrimaLoft®’s commitment to being Relentlessly Responsible, providing sustainable solutions throughout its business in order to lessen its impact on the earth. To date, PrimaLoft® has saved more than 90 million plastic bottles from landfills and transformed them into premium insulation technologies. By 2020, 90% of PrimaLoft® insulation products will have at least 50% post-consumer recycled content, without compromising performance. Earlier in 2018, PrimaLoft® introduced its first insulations with 100% post-consumer recycled material. Moving forward, PrimaLoft® is working diligently and investing to reduce its footprint through the supply chain with an emphasis on finding solutions for reducing energy, carbon emission reduction, and many more. *84.9% biodegradation in 457 days under ASTM D5511 conditions; 56.1% biodegradation in 441 days under ASTM D6691 conditions.

ISPO Munich: Hall A2/304 OR Snow Show: 56004/UL suston – 55







e still pass through shadows, but the peaks high above glow a fiery red-yellow in the morning sun. Only the soft whisper of skis sliding up the snow-clad glacier can be heard, with the bulk of Kebnekaise massif – Sweden’s highest mountain – leaning in over us from all sides. The silence is suddenly ripped asunder by the pounding roar of an avalanche crashing down a nearby mountain side. The snow and ice at the mountain tops must be getting warmer. Then again, another one releases, this time just a few hundred meters away. Our mountain guide, Carl Lundberg, takes a brief look and registers the details of each new slide without missing a step in his tempered pace – our path presumably out of harms way. Of course, safety can never be one hundred percent guaranteed in the mountains. Yet by using forecasts, observations, acquired knowledge and by consistently erring on the side of caution, a good mountain guide can navigate and mitigate most risks. A reckless guide, on the other hand, is in the best case unemployed and in the worst at the bottom of a crevasse. Convinced Carl belongs to the “good guide” category, I resolve to trust his judgement and enjoy the powerful spectacle each avalanche presents. The best untold story in town In the same way, climate scientists are not allknowing, and their margins of error are often large. Yet despite their shortcomings, they are perhaps the best navigators of the unpredictable risks we may soon face. Following an impeccable day in spring skiing conditions, a group of 25 exhausted yet elated delegates gather togetherin the Tarfala Research Station. The station is run by Stockholm University and consists of a dozen aging, rust-colored cabins clustered at the foot of Storglaciären, literally translated as “The Big Glacier.” Research has been going on here since 1946, giving Storglaciären the reputation of holding the world’s longest continuous glacial mass-balance record. Thus, the station attracts many researchers and experts in the field, including one of the most reputable contemporary climate researchers, Swedish professor Johan Rockström. One day he is being interviewed in the New York Times, the next he is speaking at a UN conference. Today, he’s welcoming us to his semitop-secret event in the middle of nowhere. “Us scientists have the best untold story in town,” he begins after everyone is seated. “On the one hand, humanity is utterly destroying the world. But then on the other, the fix is totally doable.” An admitted pragmatist, Johan Rockström has a knack for cutting through utopic optimism and suston – 57


”Once, we were a small world living on a big planet. Today, we see we have become a large world on a small planet.” – Johan Rockström.

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defeatist status quo-ism. He believes that when it comes to climate change, a wild dash for some poorly defined finish line will not achieve the results we want. But alternatively, doing nothing will all but guarantee that we fail. That’s why he’s pushing for a paced effort towards science-based targets. He continues to summarize our current climate situation, explaining that over the last ten thousand years, during the epoch known as the Holocene, temperatures have remained remarkably stable and human civilization has flourished. The last time Earth’s climate left Holocene conditions 70,000 years ago, the global human population was nearly eradicated. “Many global changes resulting from human behavior now suggest we are entering a new epoch referred to as the Anthropocene. If we don’t change course in time, we risk tipping into a climate state where there is no guarantee a civilization of 9 billion can survive.” In other words, if the Holocene has been our Garden of Eden, our current trajectory into the Anthropocene may soon become our hell. Humanity’s best bet, according to Johan Rockström, is therefore to find and accelerate solutions that enable us to remain in Holocene conditions. How? That’s the issue Tarfala Think Tank will wrestle with over the next five days, exploring a variety of approaches championed by this group of passionate individuals.

An idea born on foreign slopes The idea came to light in Chamonix during a guided ski tour, where Johan Rockström and Pia-Maria Lodhammar discovered that they shared a passion for both skiing and climate issues. Pia-Maria Lodhammar, M.D., works in Tromso in Northern Norway, with a special interest in prehospital care in alpine winter environments. “We spoke a lot about how something happens with people in the alpine,” recalls Pia-Maria Lodhammar, “Meetings and conversations ensued. It went quickly from an idea into action, and in the winter of 2017, we gathered here for the first time. The response was incredible, and this year there’s even more of us – 25 fantastic people!” The guest list had been carefully put together by Rockström himself. Mountain-lover and CEO Eva Karlsson from Houdini Sportswear, one of Europe’s outdoor brand leaders in sustainability, is one. Another is Björn Ferry, Swedish Olympic biathlon gold medalist turned national TV celebrity, starring in a program where he and his family strive to reduce their carbon footprint at a rate consistent with the Paris Agreement. Keith Tuffley is a polar expeditioner in his spare time and is otherwise founder of NEUW Ventures, an entrepreneurial impact investing company that creates and finances businesses that aim to reduce the human ecological footprint. And so the guest list continues. Each and every


individual having an incredible CV with regards to both their career and their outdoor experience. Yet I quickly find that out here, none of that seems to matter. In the great equalizing force of the alpine, it’s the person who comes out, turning resumés into nothing more than good fire-starters. Each evening we gather, joints aching after a long day skiing, and listen to a prepared presentation from a few of the guests. Two presenters with very different backgrounds in particular keep my pen tearing through the pages of my notebook: Nigel Topping and Pella Thiel. Leveraging change Nigel Topping is CEO of We Mean Business Coalition, and instead of a PowerPoint presentation, he invites us to join him in the common area for some impromptu storytelling. With first-hand accounts of the events and eccentric personalities behind the Paris Agreement negotiations – to which he had front row seats – he shares the gripping tale of how last-minute pressure from the business world helped save the 30-page-long agreement from the brink of collapse caused by just one single word, “shall.” Sitting there comfortably in his thermal underwear and with a sense of humor and wit that seems innate to the British, it’s easy to forget he leads a coalition of massively influential businesses that are committed to keeping the world economy

on track to avoid dangerous climate change. Pella Thiel’s natural candor becomes clear soon after meeting her: She doesn’t nod politely if she doesn’t agree and doesn’t laugh if it’s not funny. But when she does agree it’s sincere and when she laughs it comes from the heart. She is co-founder of Rights of Nature Sweden, part of a global grassroots movement that seeks to fundamentally alter humanity’s relationship to nature by applying pressure on the greatest leverage point – our legal system. “In granting nature legal standing, humans can raise cases in defense of natural entities as though they were endowed with the same rights as humans,” Pella Thiel explains. While we listen to the movement’s success stories, it becomes clear that there is potential for sweeping changes at the stroke of a pen. “With enough pressure,” I think, “something like this could actually work!”

Located at the foot of Storglaciären, Tarfala Research Station has provided a basecamp to world-renowned scientists since 1946.

How does change happen? But soon, questions begin to gnaw at me. Perhaps it’s a bit optimistic to believe we could protect nature’s rights when we do such a poor job of protecting the rights of our fellow humans? I think about the other paths proposed by the guests. Change at the individual level, one by one and voluntarily? But climate change is clearly a systemic problem… And come to think about it, isn’t busisuston – 59



Located well above the Arctic Circle and deep in the Swedish Arctic wilderness, just getting to the station is a feat in itself. But using train, dogsled and ski demonstrates that low CO2 travel can also add to the experience.

ness’ insatiable hunger for growth and profits the reason we’re all sitting here having these discussions in the first place? What is the solution here, really? Confusion sets in. Fortunately, at some point I’m thrown a lifeline. “The thing about system change,” Nigel Topping is saying, “is you never know what will change the system until it’s already happened. That’s why it’s good to have many different strategies running at the same time.” I let that sink in. It does makes sense to keep attacking the problem from different angles despite their obvious shortcomings, and just because individuals, organizations and ideas may be ahead of their time, it doesn’t mean their time will never come. From vision to action Our final ski tour is bitter-sweet, climaxing at a spectacular panorama on Kebnekaise’s south peak ice cap while knowing that it is destined to melt away before long. The common thread running through the week’s discussions has been similarly double-sided, focusing on solutions to climate change on the one hand and on the other, learning more about the impending crisis should we fail. Yet in spite of the odds, there’s a palpable sense of optimism as we ascend the rolling glaciers by ski, bandage one another’s blistered feet afterward and dine together in the mess-hall. What is

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TARFALA RESEARCH STATION he arfala esearch tation is a field station run by Stockholm University’s Department of Physical Geography, specializing in glacial and climatological research. The station is located at the base of Sweden’s highest peak, Kebnekaise, in the upper reaches of Tarfala valley. This is a typical sub-arctic, high alpine valley into which four glaciers terminate. Storglaciären is the most famous of these and is one of the most researched glaciers in the world. The Tarfala Research Station’s only other neighbor is the STF (Swedish Tourist Association) Tarfala Mountain Cabin, open to the public and offering beds and a self catering kitchen.



Born: 1965 Resides: Vaxholm Known for: One of the world’s most sought-after climate experts. In October 2018, he left his position as director of the Stockholm Resilience Center and assumed the role of Joint Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

it that the participants see that gives them hope? Maybe they see one another. Maybe they understand that if the solutions already exist, then it just comes down to rolling up our sleeves and getting to work. Or maybe it’s not all bad news, as Johan Rockström observes: “Climate change doesn’t only represent unprecedented risks, but unprecedented opportunities as well. As a global civilization, we now have the incentive and have begun taking the first steps towards redefining our relationship to the planet and to one another.” Thoughts come easy on dogsleds The last day, I find myself packing out the same way I had come in – by dogsled. Finding inspiration has been easy in these pristine mountains, I reflect as we whisk across the valley bottom. Thoughts untangled. But will I be able to keep old thought and behavioral patterns from creeping in once we return to the cramped, asphalted world below? I observe the dogs with amazement as they pull me along so effortlessly, and ask our young musher, Kuba Ziolko, to share more about his trade. “Once you learn the personalities of the dogs, it quickly becomes obvious where to place them in the team,” he explains, and continues: “The pair in front must be well-natured, know the commands, and respond without hesitation

when called into action. The next pair are younger up-in-coming leaders, learning the commands and watching the two dogs in front. Next are a couple of random dogs that simply add their strength. Finally, the strongest dogs are put at the back. Any other configuration and you won’t get anywhere. The dogs will just fight, lose focus and tire out quickly.” My mind wanders back to civilization and to the seeming confusion of everybody going in all directions. Of the multitudes of the willing who yearn to act, but are not sure how. With the Paris Agreement, we now know where the finish line is. The next step is to assemble the teams. Not everybody needs to break trail. Where good leaders lead others can follow, and those at the forefront can pass on their know-how to the up-and-comers. People who feel they have nothing to contribute? There’s always the random dog post available, and it’s crucial. Lots of energy but don’t know what to do with it? Get behind a team and start pushing. I think of the chaos of the sled dogs before they started running, untethered and without direction. Then their frustrated wails and howls as they’re teamed up, itching to run but still held back. Then, the sudden silence filled only by the wind and sense of shared purpose as they are finally released. So where should we go? Tarfala Think Tank might be a very good place to find the direction.

More Info: For a quick introduction to what Johan Rockström considers to be sustainable and necessary solutions for the future, you can listen to his latest TED-talk: “5 transformational policies for a prosperous and sustainable world.” Would you like to know more on the subject? Johan Rockström also co-authored the report Exponential Climate Action Roadmap, which lists 33 solutions that can drastically reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases within central sectors of the global economy – energy, transport, buildings, industry, agriculture and forestry. exponentialroadmap. org

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Looking After Kids – And Their Planet

In 2019, Reima will celebrate its 75th birthday with a collection free from harmful chemicals, increased recycled content and unique designs inspired and tested by outdoor life in Nordic nature.


he apparel industry’s reputation when it comes to pollution and waste has become well-known. But Reima fights this actively through intentional material and design choices. For example, Reima’s clothing is 100% PFC free, using non-toxic dirt and water repellants like Bionic-Finish Eco and renewably sourced, plant-based and bluesign approved EcoElite instead. Reima’s aim is to continually increase the share of recycled material in its collections as it finds fabric solutions that meet its high durability standards, and its autumn/winter 2019 collection will feature more recycled polyester than ever before using material sourced from used PET bottles. But Reima aspires to go a step further and is also developing innovations with recycled fibers from old synthetic garments through the Trash-2-

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Cash project, closing the loop to create the most sustainable use of synthetic, non-biodegradable durable fibers. Products that go the distance Product longevity is itself an effective way to reduce waste, whereby a durable construction will ensure products last from season to season, child to child. And as of Spring 2019, customers will also be offered a repair kit containing a sheet of self-adhesive patch material, enabling waterproof repairs without having to sew one single stitch. But finally, there comes a day when there are no more siblings in the family left to inherit the product, though it may still have many more years of potential use. Here, Reima helps extend the product lifespan even further by encouraging customers to sell their used clothes

through Reima’s partner, Finland’s largest online store for preowned brand clothing. This in turn has had the great spin-off effect of convincing new customers of Reima’s quality and durability. The Nordic way In all its material and design decisions, Reima promotes the Nordic way of parenting that enables kids’ joy of movement and free play, in all seasons and climates. And when it comes to reducing the environmental and health impact of its products, Reima is convinced that what’s good for our kids is also good for our planet. ISPO Munich: Hall A2/104 OR Snow Show: 42031/UL

WINTER’S WARRIORS The Tarfala pioneers are not the only ones taking to the mountains to tackle climate change. Meet four prominent skiers and riders also fighting to ensure the sustainable future of their sport.

Marie-France Roy. Whistler, Canada. Photo: Erin Hogue.


THE RADICAL Professional snowboarder and activist Marie-France Roy is fighting for the survival of her sport, joining the newest Protect Our Winters branch and releasing a film that goes way beyond snowboarding. BY KASSONDRA CLOOS PHOTO JUSSI GRZNAR


From words to action

Before becoming a professional snowboarder, Roy studied applied ecology at Cégep de Pocatiere, a university in Quebec, and she has followed the

change in the environmental discourse over the years with interest: “More people are talking about climate change now than they were then, fifteen years ago. But too many people still refuse to believe in climate change, or they don’t understand why we’re running out of time.” People can’t just quit their jobs, stop traveling, or give up their cars – Roy knows that’s not realistic. And not everyone can build their own sustainable cob house like the one she built on Vancouver Island. But she hopes that air travel will someday be more sustainable, we will all work together to consume less, and we’ll prioritize biodiversity and the health of future generations. “Arguing and pointing the finger at each other about who has the biggest footprint is not only wasting precious time and energy towards improvements, but it’s also making the rest of the population afraid to join the conversation and efforts,” Roy says. “Humans are incredibly smart and nature is extremely resilient, so I will always have hope. We have all the tools, but we need to make this challenge an immediate priority before it is too late. We need to understand that sustainability is the ultimate ‘profit’ and that no economy can survive without clean water, air and food.”


sustainaible lifestyle is about more than composting, eating organic, and building your home from recycled or renewable materials. Just ask Marie-France Roy, the famous Canadian snowboarder who is vice chair of Protect Our Winters Canada, and ambassador for Patagonia and other snowsport companies. She’ll be the first to tell you that world travel isn’t easy on the planet. “As a snowboarder, my footprint is massive, mainly from flights and travel needs. But as hypocritical as this lifestyle is, I speak up because I want to address the issue and work towards solutions instead of remaining hopeless and silent. We all add up to the problem so yes, ultimately, we all are hypocrites for demanding change. But solutions don’t happen from silence.” Roy uses snowboarding as her vehicle for climate change activism. She helped open Protect Our Winters’ new Canadian outpost this fall and went on tour with the organization to mobilize the country’s outdoor industry to tackle climate change in a meaningful way. Her latest project is touring for the release of the Beyond Boarding documentary “The Radicals,” which explores environmental and cultural issues First Nations communities are battling in western Canada. The film follows Roy, snowboarders Meghann O’Brian and Tamo Campos, and surfer Jasper Snow Rosen as they go beyond sport to raise awareness about urgent threats to the land, ecosystem and First Nations people’s ways of life. The Xwisten Nation, for example, is battling hydro-electric dams that are destroying salmon habitats in British Columbia. Salmon are vital to the overall health of the ecosystem, and their decline has been linked to the frighteningly low number of killer whales still able to survive in the area.


Occupation: Professional Snowboarder Age: 34 Residence: Whistler, Canada More info:


RENAISSANCE MAN Like a figure from the Renaissance, Tobias Luthe routinely crosses many of the imagined boundaries of our world and follows his multiple passions down whatever paths they lead. BY JONATHAN FRAENKEL-EIDSE PHOTO JEAN-LUC GROSSMANN


n stark contrast to the specialist that dominates our era, Tobias Luthe’s hats are many and include mountain guide, inventor, photographer, entrepreneur and professor. Yet wherever his curiosity may wander, he keeps returning to find inspiration in the wild places that raised him. “I grew up in the mid-mountain range of Germany. It was a small town with not much to do, so I spent most of my time in the woods. I loved the forests, I loved the trees. It was this initial passion that drove my hunger to understand nature’s designs, balances, flows and materials.”

From science labs to hemp skis TOBIAS LUTHE

Occupation: University professor, inventor, mountain guide and more. Age: 44 Residence: Zurich, Switzerland More info:

It took a decade and no less than four university degrees in as many countries to begin satiating this hunger for knowledge, eventually attaining a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences from the German Sports University (DSHS) in Cologne. “Gaining more and more insights into the theories of complex systems, I was thinking about how this knowledge could be put into practice in the socio-technical environment. One example is the design mentality behind skis, which I saw to be problematic and wasteful.”

“I came up with a question that peaked both my passion for skiing and my research interests: What if skis or skiing could be used to communicate sustainability? And so I got to work.” This work culminated in a ski that would win the 2018 ISPO Award for Eco-Responsibility: the regenerative designed Grown MonViso Hemp Edition – a 100% industrial hemp fiber-Paulownia wood composite sandwich core construction ski. To discover whether or not Tobias succeeded in his goal to communicate sustainability through his ski, one needn’t look further than the ISPO Award jury’s own statement: “Using systemic design to combine natural, locally sourced materials with innovative production methods and a scientific approach, this is a real inspiration for everyone within and beyond the hardgoods ski industry. The expectation for the jury was to judge a ski… we found both – a statement of the future and a beautiful product.”

Pushing – and ignoring – boundaries


While life has certainly gotten much busier since those timeless wanderings of his youth, Tobias still makes a point of regularly returning to wild spaces either privately or as a mountain guide in order to stay close to his primary source of joy and inspiration. “Due to time constraints, when I do get into the wild it’s more intense, yet I’m also more aware. For me, it’s become more about observing complexity and systems in action, and how these relate to design needs,” he says, before quickly adding, “But I still make sure to have fun and play! Not just to feel better, but because it also unleashes all sorts of creative problem-solving. I believe that our best bet in restoring balance with nature rests in learning from and within nature, biomimicry being one such practice. And for me, it’s important to find creative ways to communicate these complex ideas, to make them more tangible and accessible.”

Tobias Luthe lectures at the Systemic Design for Sustainability course at the Zurich Technical University ETH.


THE COMPETITOR The world’s elite downhill skiers are dependent on snow and glaciers – yet their CO2 emissions are far above average. The Swedish Alpine National Team has promised to halve its carbon footprint within four years. BY MATS NYMAN PHOTO MALIN POPPY DARCY MÖRNER


Five Areas of Focus

In the fall of 2018, Vattenfall launched the National Climate Team campaign to inspire more people to start living more climate-smart. Here, the Swedish national team skiers were challenged in five different areas: Home, community, shopping, driving and meat consumption. Frida Hansdotter’s personal goal in the challenge was to switch to an electric car, eat more vegetarian meals and buy more used items. But it’s not that easy combining life as a professional skier with reducing one’s impact on the climate. Later that fall, she uploaded a picture of her new sponsor car – an Audi Q8 – and received some criticism from her followers on Instagram. “Many of my followers are extremely committed. And of course it would be great fun to have an electrically powered Audi in the future.” She has started working on climate-smart solutions at home as well. “I think it’s fun to try out more vegetarian meals. We also installed solar panels at home. For me, it is important to try to find more environmentally friendly ways to continue doing what you think is fun to do. And the more I learn and think about the environment, the more opportunities I see to change to more sustainable alternatives.”


rida Hansdotter is one of Sweden’s biggest alpine stars. She won the Slalom World Cup in 2016 and stood atop the podium at the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang. Now, she and the entire Alpine national team are facing a new challenge: By 2022, they are going to halve their carbon emissions. “It’s great that the Swedish Ski Association is addressing the issue head-on and looking at what the association as a whole can do in the national team activities. We weren’t asked to change our private lives as part of the project – but I’m learning a lot that I’m benefiting from in my private life as well,” says Frida Hansdotter. The climate initiative was launched two years ago in collaboration with the Vattenfall energy company, which has been the main sponsor of the Alpine national team since 1994. When Vattenfall put together an analysis of the ski association’s climate impact, the result was disappointing. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency’s climate target for 2050 is one metric tonne (2.2 US ton) of carbon dioxide per inhabitant per year. Today, the Swedish population emits an average of approximately 7 metric tonnes per person. For Frida Hansdotter, the number came to 28.7 metric tonnes. “Since we’re traveling as much as we do, it would have surprised me more if we had been doing well,” says Frida Hansdotter. Since the beginning of 2017, a number of activities have been carried out within the ski association – partly to inform and educate internally and partly to specify measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Education on driving in a climate-smart manner, the installation of solar cells at the national arena in Åre and a new agreement with SAS airlines regarding a larger share of biofuels are some of the steps that have been taken along the way. “The hardest part is cutting down on travel and transportation to where we train as well as to competitions. But I know that they are working with these issues as well,” says Frida.


Profession: Professional alpine ski racer Age: 34 Residence: Fagersta, Sweden More info:


STRAIGHT SHOOTER According to Auden Schendler of Aspen Skiing Company, what we really need is a revolution – the outdoor industry’s beloved public lands will quickly become unrecognizable without one. BY KASSONDRA CLOOS & JONATHAN FRAENKEL-EIDSE PHOTO ASPEN SKIING COMPANY


AUDEN SCHENDLER Profession: VP of sustainability for Aspen Skiing Company Age: 47 Residence: Basalt, Colorado, USA More info: aspensnowmass. com

uden Schendler, vice president of sustainability for Aspen Skiing Company and a Protect Our Winters (POW) board member, is not known for sugarcoating the severity of the global climate crisis. Besides working behind the scenes to green up resort operations, Schendler has also spearheaded initiatives to get customers involved. Now it’s time, he says, for your company to get off the sidelines and get involved. Without major action on climate, the whole industry is at stake. “The question POW is trying to answer is, why doesn’t the outdoor industry wield power on climate the way the NRA does on guns?” asks Auden. “The NRA is successful because they have a passionate constituency that’s basically rabid. What we want to do in 2019 and beyond, is to weaponize the outdoor industry as a political force, an advocacy force on climate.” Some may suggest the reason why global warming is not being properly addressed is because it’s both too far-off and too big, but Auden doesn’t buy into this: “I think we’re capable of engaging a big problem and not being scared. That goes against Americanness—we’re not scared of big, scary things; we take them on.”

Auden observes that businesses have great power in the United States, and that almost without exception they’re not speaking out on climate to their customers or elected officials in the United States and elsewhere. “These people can push other companies and their trade groups to elevate this issue and stop talking about public lands. Public lands will be sacrificed if we fail to solve climate.” The outdoor industry has certainly made its mark on the public lands debate. But Auden believes it has been prioritized over climate change because it’s simply the easier and safer of the two: “No one’s going to criticize a business for supporting or protecting public lands. But you could say, ‘What are you doing talking about climate? You’re just an outdoor business.’” But as Auden sees things, this is a pivot we need to make: “There is something kind of clueless about saying ‘We gotta protect our public lands,’ when we know full well that we’re headed for a level of warming that will [render these places] nothing like what we understand them to be. They will be entirely different.”

Inform and empower

Auden observes that there’s a big communication gap when it comes to explaining what’s needed to tackle climate change. “What we need from people, businesses, institutions, is engagement in a democratic society. Participation, at the local, state, and federal levels. That means voting, writing, and running for office.” Aspen Skiing Company has taken this message to heart and has gone from a “Come see Aspen” marketing campaign to “Here’s how you can become climate activists.” As Auden explains: “We created a website that allows you to contact your elected officials. We released 1 million postcards to three key senators we think can swing on climate. So we’re reaching a ton of people, educating people. We’re also saying to the rest of the industry, ‘Hey, it’s OK to do this—you can talk about these issues and not get in trouble.’”

Shoes getting ready for a second life.

Repairs at the Elite Level From the Swedish Alpine National Team to conscious consumers – more and more people are discovering the advantages of Kavat’s repair service.


ver the last few years, repair has gained increasing attention within the outdoor industry. But in certain segments this is nothing new. In footwear – particularly shoes and boots made of leather – this service has always been offered. Not just by brands, but also by the global shoemaker trade, which has passed the craft on for centuries. The Swedish footwear brand Kavat was founded in 1945 in what was then the 72 – suston

heart of Sweden’s shoe manufacturing, the small city of Kumla. Calle Karlsson, the company’s quality and environment manager, is the grandson of the founder Ragnar Karlsson and “grew up in the factory,” as he says. “We have always taken in worn-out shoes from our customers and repaired them. In the 1970s, the company stood at a crossroad: Either we had to focus on quality shoes – which can be repaired – or begin competing with low prices,”

shares Karlsson. Fortunately, Kavat chose the first option. For a long time, however, repairs were offered on an informal basis. But two years ago Kavat, one of the industry’s pioneers in sustainability, wanted to see if the service could be scaled up as a way to make the business more circular. The company has its own shoemaker in Kumla, but also many knowledgeable shoemakers in its own factory in Bosnia. A pilot project began to take form: to


Nearly all details can be replaced on Kavat’s boots.

Gustav Lundbäck and Helena Rapaport from the Swedish Alpine National Team.

offer a service package at a fixed price in their domestic market. For 699 Swedish kronor (approx. 70 Euro), the customer could have a total restoration of their worn-out Kavat shoes, including new inner and outer soles, repaired seems, replaced leather details, washing, polishing, impregnating and otherwise as required. It is no exaggeration to say that their timing was good. “The first year we received 50 pairs of shoes. The response from our customers has been incredible. During 2019 we anticipate 500 pairs.” For now, the service is offered only within the Swedish market, but the next step is to look at possibilities to also offer it in Kavat’s other major markets. “We’re looking into environmental impacts with regards to transport. Working with local actors would be a good alternative,” says Calle Karlsson.

Swedish ski elite choose repairs

Kavat initiated another pilot project in parallel. The company is the Swedish Alpine National Team’s official shoe sponsor. The norm within this type of sponsorship is that each year the athletes are provided with the latest products. Kavat wanted to try another path. The company’s marketing manager Anders Blomster explains: “We make shoes that are meant to last for years – giving away new shoes every year just didn’t match with our values. We began discussing with officials from the ski association if we could offer service and repairs instead as a part of the sponsorship.” Again, the timing here was also good. The Swedish Alpine National Team had just elevated sustainability and climate mitigation to two of its primary focus areas. “Kavat’s environmental profile is one of the reasons why we want to partner with them. When we began discussing their repair service, if felt like a natural choice,” says

Kalle Olsson Bexell, the national team’s marketing and communications manager, and adds: “In fact, not just from an environmental perspective. At first thought, perhaps the skiers wouldn’t see the advantages of not receiving new shoes each year. But upon closer consideration, leather shoes are of course more comfortable and beautiful once they’ve been broken in.” And for elite skiers who are used to having their skis cared for and waxed with virtually scientific precision, it’s not a great leap to also take good care of the shoes. “We also hope that through this project, we can inspire others to choose quality products that can be given a new life, instead of throwing away shoes as soon as they get worn out,” says Olsson Bexell. ISPO Munich: A2-219 suston – 73

3 QUESTIONS TO TANYA & CATHERINE Can you describe EOCA in three sentences?

EOCA is a conservation charity which raises funds from the European outdoor industry to put into projects around the world. All our membership fees go directly into the conservation projects we support. EOCA is a way for the whole industry to be able to work together to look after and protect the wild places it depends on for its livelihood.


What were the major achievements last year? In 2018, EOCA and its members committed €330,000 to 14 conservation projects around the world. To conserve mountainous alpine environments, threatened wetlands and rare species, as well as ocean environments – making a real difference at a local level. Part of this also includes a specific focus launched in 2016: planting and reforestation. We wanted to raise enough funds to plant 2 million trees around the world - and we ended up planting 2.5 million by the time we were finished!

What’s happening in 2019?

At ISPO, we will be presenting EOCA’s new focus to our members, which will run for two years, alongside our other project funding. Our next focus will be on single use plastic clean up – in the mountains, forests, alongside rivers, lakes and beaches – raising awareness of the issue, educating and reducing the use of everyday single-use plastic.


Tanya Bascombe & Catherine Savidge General Managers, EOCA




Fix the Fells, UK, is a team of skilled rangers and volunteers who repair and maintain the mountain paths in the Lake District, with funding from partners like EOCA.


Initiated by the


There is a perfect outdoor for everyone. OutDoor by ISPO 2019— for the first time in Munich.

Europe’s biggest outdoor platform in Munich: June 30–July 3, 2019 June 28–July 1, 2020 June 20–June 23, 2021 #OutDoorByISPO 76 – suston

At the largest outdoor fair in Europe – ISPO Munich – sustainability and social responsibility will be in focus. A large part of Hall A4 is dedicated to events, get-togethers, presentations and committed brands. Come visit a growing, passionate and eco-minded outdoor community! ANNA RODEWALD, CO-FOUNDER OF GREENROOM VOICE You are a part of the CSR Hub – what will happen at Greenroom Voice?

Every year we focus on a special topic – this year it’s biobased and biodegradable materials. We will showcase 18 brands and suppliers presenting well-known solutions and innovations around the challenges of the effective use of biobased resources while avoiding dependence on crude oil and plastic contamination in nature. The showcase wants to create transparency on this topic and bring solutions to the table.

JONATHAN FRÆNKEL-EIDSE, EDITOR SUSTON MAGAZINE Which topics and issues will you be keeping an eye out for during the fair?

We have a collaboration with Greenroom Voice, whereby we are both highlighting biobased and biodegradable materials, so this will be one focus. Another interest will be learning more about how brands are going beyond one-off eco products to incorporate sustainability into their very business model and supply chains. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I want to see how companies are working to reduce their impact on the climate, and hope to see more ambitious, specific targets here.

KIM SCHOLZE, SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER ISPO OUTDOOR What is the vision behind the ISPO CSR Hub & Sustainability Kiosk?

The CSR hub was created to support sustainability projects and to bring attention to visitors and media by conveying their work and achievements directly. The goal is not to evaluate what’s better or worse, but to show numerous possibilities. We want to tell, inspire, share. Furthermore, the Sustainability Kiosk provides an arena for networking, and the CSR Hub’s speaker’s corner offers a platform for companies and CSR experts to speak to visitors on an important sustainability topic.

FRANK LOHSE, CO-FOUNDER OF BRANDS FOR GOOD What will happen at the Brands for Good exhibition in the CSR Hub?

We are happy to welcome exciting new companies/initiatives for Brands for Good, and you can meet some of them at the Hub. Martin Weiß from Backwood will be shaping surfboards live at the booth – using nearly only renewable raw materials. SUP World Champion Sonni Höhnscheid has designed a Mizu-Brands for Good-Starboard drinking bottle especially for ISPO, which we will sell on site. Also, I want to highlight the exciting panel discussions in the Speakers’ Corner.

HENRY HOOGENVEEN, BRAND MANAGEMENT & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, KLEAN KANTEEN EUROPE Why is there a need for a place like the CSR Hub & Sustainability Kiosk at the trade show? Tradeshows nowadays are not only focused on sales or marketing. It’s the place where you meet like-minded people and get inspired and create new ideas. And the Outdoor end-consumer is increasingly focused on sustainability. They realize that if civilization doesn’t become more sustainable, their playground will change dramatically or even disappear. And if that playground disappears, the outdoor industry will disappear with it. So, the industry needs to offer solutions.

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Sustainability Events at ISPO Munich Meet the experts, join the discussions and learn the latest in outdoor industry sustainability!

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 3 9:00 am–6:00 pm

EOCA happy hour Outdoor products sold at good prices with the profit going to uropean utdoor onser ation ssocation s pro ects

Location: ENTRANCE WEST, EWE.04 4:00 pm–4:30 pm

An eco-friendly solution for global textile waste problem oday, lac ing a feasible technology or syste to deal with textiles, textile waste is destined for landfills ith increased i port regulations, shipping the proble away is no longer an option, and we are faced with the issue of what do we do with it?”

Location: HALL C4, BOOTH C4.20

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4 9:00 am–10:00 am

Shaping a resilient future for fashion supply chains Speaker: Angela Adams, Quantis International re iew of the first science based study to assess the en iron ental i pacts of the global apparel footwear industries his tal will pro ide insight into the tools and technologies a ailable to the fashion industry

Location: B32

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9:30 am– 10:15 am

Retail clinic with focus on sustainability uided our for retailers interested in learning ore about sustainability and brands

Location: HALL A2, SCANDINAVIAN BAR A2.40 10:00 am–11:00 am

Measuring a product’s duration of service earn about s approach to easuring a product s duration of ser ice he igg roduct odule will use this ethodology to easure the ad antages of longer lasting products

Location: B32 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

Textile mission project update - reduction of microplastic release from textiles earn about the nitiati e against icro plastic elease in n iron ent, a oint research pro ect funded by the er an ederal inistry of ducation and esearch

Location: A61 1:15 pm–3:00 pm

Building business models for a circular economy tal on building sustainable business odels to fit custo er s needs, whilst being co ercially iable and benefitting society and the planet n iu will share so e of their ethods with attendees for application in their own businesses

Location: B32

3:00 pm–4:00 pm

Circular economy working group he ccelerating ircularity or ing roup e plains where the industry is at now and what it needs to a e a circular alue chain happen

Location: B32 4:00 pm–4:30 pm

An eco-friendly solution for global textile waste problem

oday, lac ing a feasible technology or syste to deal with textiles, textile waste is destined for landfills ith increased i port regulations, shipping the proble away is no longer an option, and we are faced with the issue of what do we do with it Location: HALL C4, BOOTH C4.20

TUESDAY, JANUARY 5 7:45 am–9:00 am

EOG industry breakfast et updated on a range of topics including public acti ation, preser ing nature and responsible business lso ai s to highlight opportunities in upco ing de elop ents, fro custo er engage ent to preparing for the e erging ne t generation of custo ers

Location: SEEBLICK RESTAURANT 12:00 pm–12:30 pm

From sustainability to circular economy. Activating new dimension of values for contemporary consumer n e cursus of the conte porary role of co unication will set a new way of design thin ing that represents a shift in culture to e power businesses to be co petiti e and socially responsible

Location: HALL C4, BOOTH C4.20 2:00 pm–3:00 pm

How to supercharge your sustainability strategy ife cycle assess ent is a ey ter in the sustainability sphere o what is and how

can it support your co pany on its sustainability ourney earn the ethodology and why robust etrics are ital for shaping sustainability strategies

Location: B32 3:00 pm–4:00 pm

Creating a standard product assessment: the Higg Product Module n e planation of s igg roduct odule, which ai s to be the trusted tool enabling si ple, scalable, ulti purpose, and holistic en iron ental i pact calculations for a range of apparel and footwear products

Location: B32 4:00 pm–5:00 pm

Single Use Plastics Project earn about the s ingle se lastics ro ect, which will deli er a road ap to significantly reduce single use plastics in the alue chain by ece ber as part of the s etail eets rand nitiati e

Location: HALL A4, CSR HUB

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6 4:00 pm–5:00 pm

From sustainability to circular economy. Activating new dimension of values for contemporary consumer n e cursus of the conte porary role of co unication will set a new way of design thin ing that represents a shift in culture to e power businesses to be co petiti e and socially responsible

Location: HALL C4, BOOTH C4.20

EVERY DAY 11:00 am–12:00 pm

earn about the sustainable de elop ents in the field of bio based and biodegradable aterials, eet the a ers behind the pro ects and get inspired


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Sustainability Events at Outdoor Retailer Snow Show Meet the experts, join the discussions and learn the latest in outdoor industry sustainability! TUESDAY, JANUARY 29 3:30 pm–4:30 pm

Sustainable transparency no longer optional: turning difficulty into opportunity Speaker: Kevin Myette, bluesign technologies ag Becoming more transparent about your product and supply chain is no longer optional, and in the end, sustainable business practices are simply good for your business, as you will discover all sorts of opportunities for efficiency and building a much more robust supply chain.

Location: MR401

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30 7:15 am–8:45 am

Snow Show Kickoff Breakfast: A New Era Of Collaboration Solutions in All Sizes: How the winter sports, outdoor and resort industries along with elected officials and other partners are uniting to drive change and develop innovative business solutions to address a common threat: climate change.

Location: MR401 10:00 am–11:00 am

Small Batch Sustainability Less is more when it comes to sustainability. How are emerging brands responding to this shift in consumption when it comes to manufacturing environmentallyfriendly products?

Location: RANGER STATION (Booth VO119-SL) 78 – suston

12:00 pm– 1:00 pm

Advancing Your Climate Strategy: Best Practices for Emissions Reduction in the Supply Chain As manufacturers, the bulk of our emissions are deep in the supply chain where we have less leverage and challenges with measurement. This session looks at emerging practices to assess and reduce scope 3 emissions, including industry collaboration around energy efficiency, renewable energy procurement and investment, land use strategies, and examples from industry.

Location: MR401 II1A2 12:00 pm–2:00 pm

Reduce, Reuse and Repair Workshop Interested in learning how to repair an old jacket or sleeping bag? Stop by The Ranger Station for this workshop!

Location: RANGER STATION (Booth VO119-SL) 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

Must-Haves for a Successful Sustainability Strategy Learn how to establish or evolve your brand’s sustainability strategy and about the tools available to help you identify the issues that matter most to your business, gain deeper transparency into your supply chain and materials, and plan for action.

Location: MR405 II1B2

THURSDAY, JANUARY 31 10:00 am–11:00 am

The Current State of Climate Change & How the Outdoor Industry Can Help Protect Our Winters and leaders from across the industry are here to provide an update on the current state of climate change and share how brands, retailers, and individuals can turn their passion into purpose and work together to take meaningful action on climate change.

Location: THE CAMP (Booth 56117-UL) 11:00 am–12:00 pm

University Series—Sustainability: A Retailer’s Dilemma Retail has a responsibility in providing a platform for either sustainable or unsustainable products. Whether creating products that are biodegradable or those that are durable and enabler longer life, which option is more sustainable and how should retailer buyers identify which products are truly sustainable.

Location: THE CAMP (Booth 56117-UL) 12:00 pm–1:00 pm

State of the Rockies and Conservation in the West: Bipartisan Issues and Opinions in the Rocky Mountain West Join OIA, Colorado College, the Center for Western Priorities and two of the nation’s leading pollsters for the release of the 2019 Conservation in the West

Poll and a discussion of the land management conversation in the West.

Location: MR405 II2A2 3:00 pm–4:00 pm

A Call to Action: Corporate Engagement and the Outdoor Industry More and more Americans believe corporations have a responsibility to speak out on political and social issues. Global Strategy Group (GSG) tracks corporate engagement and condenses recent data in its annual Business & Politics study. This presentation will feature brand new data from the sixth annual study, and how it specifically relates to the Outdoor Industry.

Location: 405 II2B4 3:30 pm–4:30 pm

Let’s change the way we make our clothes. Fair Trade and Recycled Materials. Fair Trade is about people doing their jobs with dignity, sending their children to school, and putting food on the table. Where workers get a fair deal, basic human rights are protected, and our fragile environment respected. Join us for a panel discussion with representatives from Fair Trade USA, Patagonia, and other brands (tbd), about their journey to make the most ethical choice the easiest one. Followed by a happy hour with Patagonia!

Location: THE CAMP (Booth 56117-UL)

SUSTON: More Than a Magazine There is a perfect outdoor Suston publishes three print magazines per year, with the next issue scheduled ahead of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Denver and OutDoor by ISPO. But you don’t have to wait until then to collect more news, knowhow and inspiration about sustainability. Visit our editorial website, sign up for our monthly newsletter or follow us on social media – where we regularly post both feature stories and shorter news updates. are also looking out for pioneering outdoor brands and retailers to become partners in this project. Is your company working systematically towards sustainability? Do you have interesting news or stories that you want to communicate to the outdoor community? Do you want to help bridge the sustainability information gap? Just get in touch!

for everyone. OutDoor by ISPO 2019— for the first time in Munich.



Europe’s biggest outdoor platform in Munich: NEXT ISSUE: MEET THE June 30–July 3, 2019 CONSUMERS June 28–July 1, How 2020 can retailers and brands support June 20–June 23,the2021 growing number of outdoor enthusiasts who want to buy and act sustainably?


80 – suston

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