Ortovox: PET recycling is “insufficiently thought through”

In its latest Planet Report 2023, Ortovox spells out its environment and climate efforts and, among other things, signals a turn away from recycled polyester sourced from PET bottles.

“Protecting what we love.” This is the motto for the Ortovox ProtACT 2024 sustainability strategy. Since 1980, the South German mountain sports manufacturer has been protecting not only mountaineers, but also the alpine area. As part of this, Ortovox uses the People Report each year to report on the company’s commitment to better working conditions along the supply chain. The newly published Planet Report 2023 is also released annually and summarizes the environment and climate protection measures taken by the company, providing transparency through insights into strategy, goals that have been reached, and future challenges.

“With the Planet Report 2023, we are providing a comprehensive overview of our various sustainability activities – including the challenges that we confront on a daily basis,” explains Lisa Pfeiffer, CSR manager at Ortovox.

“We don’t want to hide behind labels and stickers, and instead are much more concerned with showing anyone who is interested just how complex and multifaceted the topic of sustainability is – and how exciting!”

Bottles remain bottles – and clothes remain clothes

Surprising insights into PET recycling: Ortovox is no longer pursuing its planned transition to recycled polyester. The company believes that this type of recycling is insufficiently thought through. This means bottles that have been made into clothing cannot be turned back into PET bottles. Intervening in the drinks industry’s recycling lifecycle creates an imbalance – and the development of the clothing industry’s own strategies is also neglected. The future focus at Ortovox will instead be on using alternative raw materials: The aim is to gradually develop textile-to-textile recycling.

Reducing emissions a priority over offsetting them

The mountain sports expert’s goal is to reduce carbon emissions at Ortovox by 42% by 2030. The foundation for this is a baseline calculation that captures detailed data on the total carbon emissions along the value-added chain and at company locations. In total, this comes to 20,946.96 tons of CO₂ – an amount equivalent to the annual carbon footprint of 1,768 average German citizens. The objective now is to establish carbon reduction goals and take measures to achieve them. The latest findings in climate science and the compatibility of the goals and measures with the Paris Agreement play a central role here.

New farms in the Ortovox Wool Promise (OWP) Group

The demand for wool is increasing, but the standards for quality and animal welfare remain just as high. With this philosophy in mind, six Tasmanian farms have been added to the OWP group. This philosophy is characterized by a common understanding of animal welfare – this and the protection and conservation of the animals’ habitat are the number one priority for both the farms and Ortovox. Close, personal cooperation with the farms gives Ortovox’s partners long-term planning security. A special feature of the OWP group is the round tables that bring various parties to the table once a year and provide a platform for exchange and discussion – for the benefit of the 175,000 sheep.

Stronger together

What ways are there to increase sustainability? The answer to this is provided by an internal Ortovox materiality matrix that visualizes the various fields of action. But an exclusively internal perspective also creates a type of tunnel vision. For this reason, the observations were expanded to include an external dimension and 188 end customers, dealers, suppliers, journalists and partner organizations were surveyed on the topic of sustainability. The results and resulting insights then inform the ongoing development of the ProtACT 2030 sustainability strategy as part of Ortovox’s multi-stakeholder approach, and are anchored in the overarching company goals.

The complete Ortovox Planet Report 2023 can be accessed here.

About Ortovox

Ortovox stands for the greatest possible mountain safety – since 1980 we have been protecting climbers, mountaineers and the mountains themselves. Emergency equipment, backpacks, technical apparel made with wool, and specialized training with a network of experts help make mountain sports safer every day. Ortovox defines itself as a brand for climbers and mountaineers and offers products year-round for ski tours, freeriding, alpine climbing and high alpine tours.

“Protecting what we love” is the motto of our protACT2024 sustainability strategy. It defines the six areas of the Ortovox sustainability objectives.

As a pioneer of functional wool clothing for mountain sports, Ortovox has been defining standards for the protection of wildlife, nature and people with its own wool standard, the Ortovox Wool Promise (OWP). Based in Munich, Germany, Ortovox Sportartikel GmbH has over 160 employees worldwide and is part of the Schwan-Stabilo Group.



Photo: Ortovox


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