What about the impact of shipping on the environment?
Shipping to and from our warehouse and in and out of our stores is unavoidable, especially in the age of online delivery. But we are trying to do everything we can to mitigate the impact of transporting our products, including reducing the number of vehicles we’re putting out on the roads, changing our logistics provider to help us reduce our carbon footprint, and encouraging our brands to send stock to us in a few deliveries as possible. When we deliver to your door, we try to group orders into single deliveries wherever possible and ask our customers to avoid placing multiple, separate orders and instead order everything at once, so that only one delivery journey has to be made.
How do we hold ourselves accountable?
There are lots of ways we can be held accountable for what we say or do, especially when it comes to sustainability. It’s starts within our own business, with more people showing an active interest in environmental issues and concerning themselves with the environmental impact of what we do as a business. Our sustainability team do a great job of reminding us all that we have goals to achieve, milestones to hit and a commitment to protecting the outdoors which can’t be ignored. We’re also held accountable by our brands, especially those who are leading the way when it comes to sustainable outdoor gear. They remind us that there is always more to be done, but also that so much can be done if we all work together. They inspire us and help us to see what is possible when it comes to sustainability. Finally – and perhaps most importantly – it’s our customers who hold us accountable for the promises we make. Now more than ever, consumers are making purchasing decisions based on a brand’s sustainability credentials and since we know our customers love the outdoors just as much as we do, it’s in all our interests to hold each other accountable and work together to protect the outdoor places we enjoy.
How can we be sustainable with so many brands to manage?
We’re proud to stock so many fantastic brands who share our passion for helping people to stay active outdoors. But whilst we might share the same values in some areas, we might not always agree on others. However, sustainability is and will continue to be important to us, and brands who wish to continue working with us need to show that they’re also committed to protecting the outdoors. So many of our brands are already doing fantastic work and are leading the way in producing sustainable outdoor apparel, whilst others are just starting out on their journey. We’re not going to stop stocking quality brands we love just because they’re not the most sustainable, but we’re upping the ante when it comes to our environmental expectations and we expect our brands to show us what they’re doing to make a difference each season. Because if we want to keep on enjoying the great outdoors, we all need to work together to protect it.
Why are we still using plastic mail order bags?
We thought long and hard about our mail order bags and spent a lot of time researching the best options when reviewing our packaging. Although plastic certainly wasn’t our first choice, once we got into the detail and started comparing paper with plastic, we discovered that as a business, the most sustainable option for us was 100% recycled and recyclable plastic. It also allows to recycle the bags ourselves and keep an eye on our progress, by asking customers to return them to store to be recycled. Unfortunately, the plastic packaging of individual products is largely unrecycled and much more difficult to recycle. As this comes from our brands, it’s more challenging for us to make changes here, but we’re doing what we can to encourage them to improve the sustainability of their packaging in the future.
What happens to our returned/faulty stock?
We’re pleased to say that as of April 2019 none of our returned, faulty or unsold stock goes to landfill. We’re working with charity organisations to redistribute our stock to those who need it most, making sure to preserve the integrity of our brands by doing what we can to make sure the products are used as they were intended – in the great outdoors.
How do we decide which products to stock and do we rate these based on sustainability?
We have a comprehensive buying strategy, led by industry experts and outdoor fanatics, who are not only always on the lookout for the best products that look great and perform brilliantly, they’re also paying more attention to sustainability too. We work with lots of brands who are leading the way when it comes to sustainable kit, and lots more who are just getting started. It’s no secret that the outdoor industry still has a long way to go, but with retailers like us placing more emphasis on sustainability when it comes to products, we hope things will continue to improve and change for the better.
How are we promoting sustainability within our workplace and practicing what we preach at head office and in store? (e.g. how people are commuting, energy usage etc)
We’ve introduced lots of initiatives within the workplace, to encourage our workforce to practice what we preach and make us a sustainable business from the inside out. All our head office and store locations are run entirely on renewable energy, our default print settings are always black and white, and we have removed all disposable plastic cups from our water dispensers, encouraging all employees to bring their own reusable cup or bottle to work. We’re also working on a car share scheme, to help reduce the number of cars we’re contributing to the road and have friendly but firm (!) signage around our buildings to remind staff to turn off lights when they leave an empty room and to turn off their electricals overnight wherever possible.
Is our parent group also committed to our sustainability goals? How are they supporting us?
Our parent company, A.S. Adventure, are in the process of developing a group-wide sustainability programme, supported by and in support of our own journey. We know that if we want to make a real difference, it’s not enough for us alone to make these changes. We need to encourage a more sustainable approach across the industry, and for us that means into Europe and beyond.
Do you have any products that are vegan friendly?
Yes! As demand for kit that’s free of animal products increases, we’re working with our brands to stock a range that meet everyone’s ethical choices. Some examples include synthetic insulation rather than down, recycled down and wool (for those happy to wear animal-derived materials already in the system), and vegan footwear such as Scarpa’s Maverick, Veloce and Velocity models. In addition, we also have hundreds of other products which are completely free from animal derivatives and suitable for those who love the outdoors and animals too!