Outdoor Friedrichshafen: How Outdoor Brands are Leading the Sustainability Conversation

Sustainability and environmental responsibility should be a fundamental consideration for all brands, however balancing innovation, viability and ethics is not always straightforward. The WGSN Active team recently visited the Outdoor Show, Friedrichshafen and discovered how Patagonia and adidas TERREX are demonstrating how corporate responsibility can lead marketing and innovation.

When your brand and design focus is on mountain biking, hiking, climbing, kayaking and running across rugged, untouched terrain, its only natural that your product and community should help protect these environments.

Patagonia have always challenged traditional business practices, often making counter-intuitive decisions such as creating Worn Wear – instead of buying a new Patagonia fleece, you can get your old one repaired. The brand’s commitment to the environment showed no signs of slowing at Friedrichshafen.

Alongside an impressive Spring / Summer 2018 product offer, including an update of the Baggies – now being Fair Trade certified and 100% recycled nylon, Patagonia are engaging their activist prowess and initiating a non product related campaign – ‘Blue Heart of Europe’.

This is not new territory for the brand that believes it is their duty to ‘step up to protect wild places’. Past activist campaigns have included Jumbo Wild, The Fisherman’s Son and DamNation. ‘Blue Heart of Europe’ is a campaign to protect Europe’s last wild rivers that are being threatened by the construction on 3,000 dams. Patagonia are using their media platform to bring together different groups who have an interest in protecting wild places, in order to bring global awareness and put pressure on local decision-makers.

Adidas TERREX continue to develop products which challenge convention. Spring / Summer 2018 will see the launch of ZeroDye, a collection of three outdoor performance shoes that skip the dying process. All-white footwear was previously unchartered territory for outdoor brands due to the impracticality of getting dirty easily, however adidas TERREX have turned this into an opportunity to ‘Create Your Own Story’.

In 2015, adidas partnered with Parley for the Oceans – an organisation dedicated to raising awareness about the fragile beauty of our seas – to collaborate on ending marine plastic

pollution. The collaboration resulted in technologies enabling waste products from the ocean to be upcycled into technical fabrics. For Spring / Summer 2018, even more Terrex products now feature Parley Ocean Plastic ™ recycled yarn. Highlights included water shoes and lightweight running outfits.

WGSN subscribers can head here to read the full Outdoor Friedrichshafen report.

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