June 29, 2022 Brand Stakes Out Climate Neutrality 2024 Plan
Footprints? Yes, we all leave them when we’re out and about in nature. Preferably in the snow! Way up high and even on glaciers. But – how much longer will permanent ice be around? It sounds dramatic – and it is. That’s why for Ortovox, its environmental footprint is at least as important as any left behind in the mountains. As part of its ProtACT2024 sustainability strategy, the company has set itself ambitious goals – including climate neutrality by 2024.
“It is important to Ortovox that our customers who have a close connection to nature can feel safe with us. They can rely on the fact that we do everything we can to have a positive impact on our planet – our Swisswool products and Freeride collection are a good example of this. They have been climate-neutral since fall/winter 21/22. The online store followed in April 2022, and the climbing collection in summer 2022. Of course, following this path at this speed is a challenge. The amount of documentation and level of accountability required for a company to identify and advertise itself as ‘climate-neutral’ is increasing. And that’s a good thing! It helps counteract greenwashing,” explains Katrin Bauer, Head of CSR at Ortovox.
“Climate change is something we should all be much more concerned about,” says Ortovox CEO Christian Schneidermeier:
“Ortovox’s roots are that of a winter sports brand. If we didn’t fight for our climate, for the mountains, for our planet, we would be taking away the basis for our own existence. But – we need to think further than the company, further than the existence of the brand. It impacts us all, every person on the planet.”
Sustainability is in our genes
“The ecosystem is becoming increasingly unbalanced. We all know that. And we know that now is the time to act,” says Christian Schneidermeier, summing up the company’s motivation in a nutshell. He stresses that the alpine landscape is particularly sensitive to climate change.
“Protecting the mountains – and therefore our environment – is Ortovox’s top priority! We are mindful of sustainability all the way through to climate neutrality and beyond.”
“We have set ourselves ambitious goals, and these are the basis for the measures that will be implemented. There’s a lot to do!” explains Katrin Bauer, Head of CSR at Ortovox.
“Climate neutrality is one of six defined goals within the concept, but we do not view it separately from the others. When you start dealing with sustainability in greater detail, you quickly realize: everything is linked. We are always talking about cycles. ProtACT2024 is dedicated to leading the company to climate neutrality within the next two years – the name itself contains a call to action and a deadline for our goals.”
In addition to climate neutrality, the ProtACT2024 strategy comprises five other targets: using 100% wool that has been certified in accordance with the Ortovox Wool Promise; maintaining Fair Wear Foundation Leader status; 60% production in Europe; 100% PFC-free product range; the durability and repairability of products.
What does “climate neutral” mean?
“Climate neutrality is viewed on three levels: avoiding, reducing and offsetting carbon emissions. The focus is always primarily on avoiding CO2, then on reducing emissions and, finally, on offsetting. These three measures cannot always be clearly separated, but initially happen simultaneously.” Every company, process and product that offsets its calculated carbon emissions by combining these three pillars and supporting internationally recognized climate protection projects can be called climate-neutral.
Katrin Bauer goes on to say that offsetting emissions without reducing them is not conducive to achieving this goal and should only be a stopgap solution for companies on the way to climate neutrality. However, it is also the case that many projects that make reduction and avoidance possible cannot be implemented without offsetting. An example of carbon reduction at Ortovox is a project for reducing the amount of packaging: Within one year, CO2 was reduced by 25% thanks to various optimization measures. For example, poly bags were changed to 30% post-consumer and 70% pre-consumer waste – a measure that saves 3.5 metric tons of plastic a year.
When it comes to offsetting, Ortovox primarily works on measures concerning the supply chain. For example, the company is involved in the EOG Supply Chain Decarbonization Project.
The EOG Supply Chain Decarbonization Project
Launched at the beginning of 2021, the European Outdoor Group’s Supply Chain Decarbonization Project aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the use of renewable energy along the supply chain. This joint initiative, which counts Ortovox and numerous major brands from the outdoor industry among its participants, takes advantage of the fact that while individual supply chains are global and diverse, many outdoor companies share production facilities. The opportunities to exercise influence that arise from these overlaps are immense:
“The biggest potential to reduce carbon emissions can be found in the material production supply chain (approx. 60%). Energy efficiency and green energy are the two most important factors. Alone, we have very little influence on reduction. That’s why we have to join forces with other companies,” explains Katrin Bauer. “That’s why we are taking action by participating in the Supply Chain Decarbonization Project. That’s where we can make the biggest difference!”
Brands are role models!
The offsetting projects supported by Ortovox not only help reduce greenhouse gases, but also promote sustainable development in relation to a variety of aspects in different countries around the world – projects range, for example, from improving drinking water to protecting biodiversity.
“The people at Ortovox share a vision: They want to be role models for our society. And get involved in all of the areas that are important to us today – and will be in future too!” explains Christian Schneidermeier.
When it comes to climate neutrality, Ortovox works with ClimatePartner, a service provider that helps the company calculate and reduce its own emissions. Any remaining emissions are offset. This is how products and companies achieve climate neutrality, which is confirmed by the ClimatePartner label.
ClimatePartner was founded in Munich in 2006. Today, it has over 90 employees and works together with over 2,500 companies across 35 countries. ORTOVOX’s Product Carbon Footprint (PCF) is calculated according to international standards with the help of ClimatePartner. The offsetting projects also follow recognized standards. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer globally applicable criteria for measuring positive effects in this context – 17 goals for sustainable development that range from ending poverty and hunger to promoting education. Every climate protection project supported by Ortovox contributes to several of these goals.
Ortovox has stood for maximum protection on the mountains since 1980. Emergency equipment, backpacks, functional wool clothing and targeted training by a network of experts contribute to making mountain sport safer, saving lives every day. Ortovox sees itself as a brand for mountaineers and offers products for year-round ski touring, freeriding, alpine climbing and high alpine tours. As the founder of functional wool clothing for mountain sports, Ortovox is now setting new standards for the protection of animals, nature and people by means of its own Ortovox Wool Promise (OWP).
Based in Munich, Germany, Ortovox Sportartikel GmbH has over 120 employees worldwide and is part of Schwanhäußer Industrie Holding GmbH & Co. KG.
Photo: beau mori on Unsplash