OUR OBSESSION WITH DESIGN IS NOT JUST ABOUT A JACKET
A design company isn’t in the artefact business anymore. Design is a matter of consequence. We have to think beyond the immediate goal of crafting exceptional product, - we need to think about our impact on people and the planet. The urgency of the climate crisis broadens how we think about ourselves and the way we approach business.
We want to use the best materials and create the most refined and durable products possible. We want to make it easier for you to keep your gear in play. We want to be good ancestors. We want to empower people to find inspiration in nature, design and one another. We want to acknowledge our interdependence with one another and the living world, and that climate justice can’t be achieved without addressing global inequities.
Guided by design, community, science and passion, we have committed to halve our environmental footprint and grow our positive social impact. We align with the circularity principles of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and are pursuing circularity, as part of our path to net zero.
Here is how we are going about it.
COLLABORATIVE LOW-CARBON SOLUTIONS
As an early signatory to the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action (UN Fashion Charter), a member of the Outdoor Industry Association’s Climate Action Corps, a co-founder alongside the Pembina Institute of the Catalyst Business Coalition and one of the first 400 companies to set a verified Science Based Target, Arc’teryx is embracing the power of the collaborative to make structural change, across industries, to meet the Paris Agreement targets and to scale low-carbon solutions.
SUSTAINABILITY MEANS THINKING LONG-TERM.
THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY REQUIRES THAT WE ACT WITH A SENSE OF IMMEDIACY.
Navigating the future and the now is not easy.
- We COMMIT to a Science-Based Carbon Target on Climate Action.
- WE COMMIT to working towards a circular economy.
- WE COMMIT to growing Outer Peace for people in our communities to whom it's been denied.
- WE COMMIT to Fair Trade certification & improving working conditions everywhere we build products.
PRODUCT, MATERIALS, TECHNOLOGY
Our product philosophy is the foundation of our approach to sustainability. We believe that building products to last is the most powerful lever for minimizing our impact.
We maximize performance and durability in a number of ways, including building products that perform for their intended use, and selecting proven materials that endure and wear well over time. Our timeless aesthetic remains contemporary, and we stand behind our lifetime care, repair and product guarantee.
PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE
We assess products and their impacts throughout the full lifecycle. This means ongoing analysis throughout multiple steps including sourcing raw materials, garment manufacture, distribution, and retailing. It also includes use, care and repair, and ultimately end of use.
Using our Alpha SV Jacket as an example, the graphic below illustrates a broad range of environmental impacts throughout the steps of its lifecycle.
CARE AND REPAIR
We view our products as systems, which require appropriate care and attention to maintain top performance over time. Proper care is one of the simplest ways to extend the life cycle of any product. Technical fabrics, waterproof membranes, and adhesives maintain their function better with regular washing and occasional retreatment. Not only does a well maintained product function better, it also lasts longer.
Information on proper care for technical products is listed in our Product Care FAQ.
Our goal is to source base materials that are safe for people and the environment while also ensuring top product quality and performance.
Technical outdoor fabrics and components are most often made from synthetic raw materials and rely on active chemistry to achieve their specific function, level of performance, and durability. To address the resulting impacts, we engage directly with the suppliers of the materials via a comprehensive Materials Compliance Program.
We have adopted the Bluesign® system Restricted Substances List (RSL) that outlines a broad range of materials that require careful management due to negative impacts on the environment, health, or occupational safety. We work directly with our material suppliers to ensure that we adhere to the RSL standards throughout our supply chain.
Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are a class of chemicals often used to provide highly effective water repellency to textiles. We use durable water repellency (DWR) treatments to ensure that products have high performing fabrics that stay dry even in adverse conditions.
We use antimicrobial treatments in a range of our products to inhibit bacterial growth and prevent odours. This allows the products to last longer between washes and over time.
The most common treatment we use is called durable anti-odour (DAO), made using trace concentrations of silver salts embedded in a non-toxic polymer that binds to fabric surfaces. This treatment provides effective odour prevention and strong durability, while using minimal amounts of silver. The formulations we use are in silver salt form and are not nano silver. The larger particle size means they are not as readily taken up by organisms.
We use animal-based materials in some products for their unique function. Our sourcing practices are guided through independently recognized global standards - and supplier declarations when standards are not yet available - to ensure that animal welfare is respected and the materials are traceable.
We use down as an insulation material due to its exceptional warmth-to-weight ratio, compressibility, and resilience. All down used in our products is certified to the Responsible Down Standard (RDS). This independent global standard ensures animal welfare is respected and provides certification at each step of the supply chain from hatchling to final product. Live plucking and force feeding are prohibited under the RDS.
We use wool for its unique moisture wicking ability and next-to-skin comfort. The majority of our wool comes from ABMT in Australia and Designer Textiles in New Zealand. To ensure animal welfare is respected, our sourcing partners comply with either the ZQ Merino standard or National Wool Declaration Integrity Program. All suppliers meet our non-mulesing policy (a painful practice to manage insect pests) through either global certification or self declaration.
We are currently working to transition our wool supply to the globally recognized Responsible Wool Standard once certified RWS wool becomes available.
We use leather for its combination of durability and dexterity. Our leather suppliers comply with our Restricted Substance List, and only use leather that originates from hides that are a byproduct of the meat industry. We are also working with our suppliers to ensure that leather is sourced from Leather Working Group compliant tanneries with environmental measures in place.
Arc'teryx uses a range of synthetic and natural textiles in our products. We are actively working to understand the link between specific textiles and microplastic pollution. To do this we have joined a collaborative research project led by the Ocean Pollution Research Program at Ocean Wise. The project is 'fingerprinting' 30 different Arc'teryx textile samples and measuring rates of fabric shedding. Data from this research will contribute to a global library of fibre fingerprints that will help to better understand the source, transport and location of microplastics in the ocean. Our goal is to contribute to solution-oriented designs, practices and choices.
Climate change is an urgent issue with immediate impacts to communities and ecosystems around the world. Science tells us cutting global greengouse gas (GHG) emissions 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 and reaching net zero emissions around 2050 is our best hope to limit warming to 1.5°C and prevent catastrophic and irreversible climate change. This will require global transformational change. Balancing climate impacts with business success is one of the biggest challenges that Arc'teryx currently faces.
OUR SPECIFIC TARGETS ARE TO:
- Reduce absolute Scope 1 & 2 GHG emissions 65% by 2030 (from a 2018 base year); (This refers to reducing emissions related to Arc’teryx’s headquarters, Canadian production facility and global retail stores by 65% by 2030 compared to 2018).
- Reduce Scope 3 GHG emissions 65% per unit of value added by 2030 (from a 2018 base year). (This means reducing the carbon emissions per unit of value added to our business value chain. This includes all the carbon emissions related to all of our materials, products, factories, mills, shipping, and distribution centres).
WE’LL FOCUS OUR EFFORTS ON OUR FOUR BIGGEST LEVERS, TO START, WITH PLENTY OF THIS WORK ALREADY UNDERWAY:
- PRODUCT: Use lower impact materials and continue to design for maximum durability to keep products in action longer.
- RENEWABLE ENERGY: Commit to 100% renewable energy for our owned operations by the end of 2020 and partner within our supply chain for onsite renewable energy projects.
- ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Improve energy efficiency within our owned operations and supply chain.
- CIRCULAR ECONOMY: Grow our participation in the circular economy through Arc'teryx Used Gear.
Our goal is to build a sustainable, low emissions mode of operations. To achieve this, we will make major efficiency gains in our supply chain, significantly reduce the impact of the materials that we use, and develop new, less carbon-intense business models. Our commitment is to report annually on our progress towards 2030. Read our most recent 2020 Climate Report. To chart our progress since the beginning, you can also check out our inaugural 2019 Climate Report.
This is a major task, and a critical one. We believe the case is clear: acting and investing now to reduce impacts in the future is the right path forward for our business and for the planet.
Responsible manufacturing means we take responsibility for the environmental and the social impacts of making our products.
Arc'teryx has been intimately connected to manufacturing since our beginning. For many years, our office and design floor were located inside our factory. Today, we continue to run our operations at our Vancouver manufacturing facility, ARC'One. This deep connection to manufacturing forms the basis of our approach to sustainability in our global supply chain.
To learn more about our relationships with our supply chain partners, please visit our Supply Chain Partners page.
PROUDLY MADE IN CANADA
ARC'One is an Arc’teryx-owned Canadian factory located in Greater Vancouver. Essential to our design process and product philosophy, having our own factory helps make us who we are. We have confidence in the choices behind our materials selection and construction techniques, because we understand the challenges of manufacturing first-hand. This unique position enables us to continually evolve our crafting of durable, high performance products.
ARC'One allows us to design and prototype in unique, exclusive ways, then use that proprietary knowledge to scale production and bring our solutions to the world.
PROUDLY MADE GLOBALLY
We have assembled a global network of 21 manufacturing facilities in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Canada, China, El Salvador, Indonesia, Latvia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Each facility meets our strict standards for quality and production, adheres to clear and stringent labour practices and demonstrates a commitment to reducing environmental impact.
We seek to build long-term relationships with our partners. Many of our finished goods facilities have worked with us for 6 or more years and in some cases, 15 years. We are intentional and selective with our partner facilities, seeking out manufacturers who share an ethos of problem-solving and technical prowess.
When selecting materials, our process is extensive whether we are developing materials ourselves or direct sourcing from a supplier. Throughout the design and development process, materials are tested in-house, in the lab and in the field. All of our materials are approved by us before they are sent to our manufacturing partners.
The depth of relationship with our manufacturing partners illustrates a values alignment that is foundational to who we are - sustainability is one of our core values.
COVID-19 triggered a deep inquiry into the vulnerability of workers in our supply chain and prompted a commitment to act on our values as a company.This commitment and year-long journey is documented in our blog ‘The Path is Made By Walking It’.
By 2025, 80% of Arc’teryx products will be Fair Trade Certified™. We consider this to be one small step among many that are needed to transform apparel supply chains. Fair Trade Certified is an existing mechanism to improve livelihoods.
People are at the heart of our business and make it possible to build our products. We are committed to ensuring human rights are upheld everywhere our products are made.
HUMAN RIGHTS & WORKING CONDITIONS
Fair Labour Association
Starting in June 2020, our parent company Amer Sports has been accepted as an associate member of the Fair Labour Association (FLA) which will provide our social compliance program with third-party accreditation, to ensure education, training and engagement opportunities for workers. We also take responsibility for the impact of our decisions on workers in the supply chain, building greater sustainability awareness with our upstream decision-makers on how their last minute design changes or adjustments to forecasts tangibly affect people’s working conditions.
Starting in 2021, as evidence of our learning journey, we will share our FLA-approved social compliance audits of our manufacturing facilities. Revisit this page to follow our progress, as we hold ourselves to greater social responsibility in our supply chain and ultimately do better by the workers whose skills we depend on.
Some of the countries where we operate present specific challenges to human rights - we address these on a case-by-case basis. The decision to produce in each location with each partner is an area for ongoing improvement, taking into account the state of development of the local apparel sector, human rights, political, and environmental factors, as well as the relationship with our partners, and other sourcing considerations.
Engaged workers bring products to life. Taking care of employees and supporting their well-being has long been a priority for our operations at home–their engagement and passion creates better products. Our hope is it may be the new minimum adopted by the entire industry – a bottom line commitment to worker well-being. We build from here.
Fair Trade Certified™
By purchasing our products as Fair Trade Certified from a certified manufacturing facility, we are ensuring working conditions and safety are in place to protect workers’ health and that additional premiums are paid for each order. Workers are empowered as a collective to decide how to spend the additional premium for themselves.
By 2025, 80% of Arc’teryx products will be Fair Trade Certified™
Fair TradeCertified™ alone is not enough. We need to instill resiliency into supply chains by planning for emergencies and natural disasters, ensure sourcing decisions take into account the impact on workers,engage in multi-stakeholder dialogues like the Garment Industry Call to Action, and more.
We believe the minimum bar in our industry needs to be raised. This is not work we can do alone. We encourage and invite our industry colleagues, governments, financial institutions, and others to join this collective conversation for the benefit of the people who are the heart of our business.
This is a living commitment. We don’t have all the answers needed to immediately resolve global inequities in the apparel industry. Massive systems aren’t easily remade. Systemic change doesn’t come with a how-to manual, and requires the best efforts of many actors –consumers, brands, regulators, policy-makers all pushing towards a shared vision. As problem solvers and design thinkers, we commit to being part of this work, and we will continue to update this section as our learning and impact evolves.We welcome your support.
We believe that Arc'teryx can be a force for positive change. We create this change not only by improving the practices in our core operations, but by supporting projects and partners that align with our values. To learn more about our approach to social impact visit our Do Right page.