Eco guide to gear

Shop responsibly !

Have you ever wondered if the manufacturing of your jacket or your skis meet environmental and ethical values which are dear to you ? Well, you are asking the same questions as us.
We begin by asking about the meaning of small signs on a T-shirt's label, and then we find ourselves talking with the salesperson about the social and environmental conditions in which it was produced...and we end up thinking about new ways to consume or to use products !

In the Eco Guide, you will find a summary of knowledge accumulated by Mountain Riders. Throughout this guide you will discover how manufacturers and brands find new ways to reduce environmental impact while being socialy responsible from the time a product is manufactured to the end of its usefulness.

The Eco Guide is for all brands of outdoor gear or appareal and we want to promote the idea that it's possible to have a responsible production and consumption. There is no such thing as a green ski: we are nowhere near being able to grow strawberries on our old gear, once it has been composted at the bottom of the garden. Therefore, a brand's presence in the guide does not mean that it is beyond reproach, but simply that this brand took the time to participate in the survey that we sent out to approximately 200 brands last summer.
Any brand wanting to figure in the guide is welcome to do so. Our aim is to present the concrete, innovative programmes which are already in place. By so doing, we hope to promote the idea that, even in a line of business that pollutes as much as the production of skis, snowboards, and sports accessories, it is possible to act to reduce the impact of our activities, whilst remaining a profitable business.
The guide's aim is not to point out the 'best in class', but to show how far companies have gone in taking into account sustainability in their everyday business. The first step towards this is the decision to be transparent about the actions taken, whilst keeping in mind that the production of any kind of consumer goods inevitably has an environmental impact.
By presenting these different actions in this guide, we hope to encourage these positive environmental practices. We also aim to bring together the various market players, towards a model that combines profitability, social equity and respect for the environment.

This fourth edition is intended as a source of ideas, support and information for individuals and professionals. Therefore, allowing all of us to contribute some sense and relevance to mountain sports.

A benchmark for Brands and sustainability


Work in progress and issues to be taken care of in the future

Social :

  • 33% of brands provide ethical information about the conditions in which their products are manufactured and the meaning of labels. In 2010, this rate was only 18%. So progress was done but it's necessary to go further. We need this information to make informed choices.
  • Only 9% communicate on the sourcing of their product and on product traceability.
Both cases, the only information available is always the price. It's not enough. To shop responsibly, we need to ask companies and manufacturers for different (social and environmental) information.

Environmental :

  • More than 50% of brands work with suppliers or subcontractors who have environmental labels or have implemented environmental actions. It's twice more than in 2010. Progress must be made especially, auditing suppliers to ensure the proper implementation of environmental actions and compliance with the requirements of the label.
  • 39% of brands have taken steps to quantify their Greenhouse Gas emissions : This is the first step that should be taken to identify the main sources of GHG and set-up action plans to reduce these, before compensating for their emissions.

Eco Conception :

  • A lot of brands offer products which are made of recycled/recyclable/renewable raw materials. Unfortunately, a small part of the production is concerned : only in one third of cases, these products represent more than 25% of the volume of their production.
  • While the issue of waste management and end of life of products is more and more important , less than 50% of brands surveyed are working on a solution for the end of life of products or have implemented a recovery program or take back programme of used products. Though many solutions exist!

Claire Dardenne
for Mountain Riders

Help us improve this guide!
Suggestions, observations, comments, all propositions are welcome.