Sustainability: Doing the Right Thing for the Product, the People, and the Planet
For the past 21 years, building quality products that last has been our approach to sustainability. Choosing materials for durability as well as performance has earned us a reputation for quality and an extremely low warranty rate. We are proud of our ability to quickly identify common failure points and design them out of each iteration of our products. Despite our growing business, we have fewer and fewer damaged/returned items to sell at our warehouse sale each year.
From an ecological perspective, however, this focus on making durable products is not enough to meet the growing environmental challenges we face today. We’ve looked at the ways in which our manufacturing processes impact the environment, and identified areas for improvement. Our goal is to make a meaningful change to our environmental impacts, without sacrificing the durability and high level of performance we demand from our products. This is a balancing act: how do we do the right thing for the product, the people, and the planet?
A “Recycled” Label is Not Enough
Including more recycled content in our products is among our goals, but it does not address the biggest environmental impacts of producing waterproof-breathable technical apparel. The energy used to power production facilities and the chemicals used in textile dyeing and production are often the cause of the most pollution in the manufacturing chain.
The bluesign® system works to combat this by uniting the entire textile supply chain to jointly reduce its impact by eliminating substances posing risks to people and the environment from the beginning of the supply chain.
We are already using bluesign® certified dyes on our new Clean Color apparel collection (due out Fall 2019), and plan to expand that line with each factory build, eventually moving to bluesign® certified dyes for all our products. The factory that produces 80% of our garments is already bluesign® certified, as is our primary fabric mill and we are committed to helping our other factory partners achieve bluesign® certification over the coming years. Learn more about the bluesign® system here.
We've also aligned our restricted substance list with which we require our manufacturing partners to comply with the bluesign® system. Download the full list here.
Durable Water Repellents and PFAS
We don't use any DWR coatings that contain PFOS or PFOA. For each fabric, we consider the durability and impact on performance and environmental impact across the life of the product. When possible, we select DWR coatings that are PFC free. Recently we've observed great improvement in the performance of PFC free DWRs and we are excited to further reduce our use of PFCs.
Energy Use in the US and Abroad
Many of our employees bike to work every day, and we now have an all-electric company vehicle. We use 100% renewable energy to power our building. Our goal is to be carbon positive in our US offices by 2025. Furthermore, we hope to work with our factory partners to use 50% renewable energy in the production of our products by 2026.
While our impact as a small-medium sized company cannot save the world, we will act as though it will. Perhaps we can inspire others to follow suit, and tackle these issues as a global community.
The Long-Range Plan: Showers Pass Sustainability Goals for 2025