Q&A: Do you have questions about A.S.Adventure’s sustainability initiatives?
Is A.S.Adventure a member of any national or international sustainable organisations?
As an active member of the European Outdoor Group/Sustainability Focus Group, we and other retailers and brands go in search for solutions that reduce the use of SUP (Single Used Plastics) in the industry.
Why can’t A.S.Adventure be (completely) plastic-free?
Plastic has a bad image, much of which is well deserved. But there’s more to plastic packaging than meets the eye. Yes, there are even a lot of benefits:
- Compactness: thanks to (thin) plastic packaging, we can transport our products safely and cleanly, while taking up as little space as possible. As a result, we transport less ‘air’, which is extremely polluting.
- Hygiene: moisture, dirt, and dust do not belong on our products. Plastic protects your purchases on their way from the warehouse to the store and/or your home.
- Protection: in the box, out of the box, on and off the conveyor belt, etc. Each product comes a long way, and thanks to plastic packaging, this is done without tearing your clothes.
- Recyclable: we can perfectly recycle plastic to reuse it as new plastic. So that’s what we do!
Our packaging policy is a great adventure, but we are definitely on the road to less plastic. Do you want to know everything about our course? Read the full story.
What do you do to combat microplastics?
We’re already doing quite a bit to keep the impact of microplastics to an absolute minimum together with our brands, suppliers, and customers:
- Our brands must demonstrate their efforts to combat microplastics systematically on an annual basis. We encourage our brands and suppliers to move towards sustainable manufacturing practices via a survey. Moreover, we safeguard the claims made by our brands.
- Most manufacturers are members of the European Outdoor Group (EOG), which collectively deals with microplastics. We also actively search for solutions within the EOG.
- We monitor new evolutions and include them in our range. You’ll find for instance new fleece products from Vaude in our 2018/2019 winter collection that do not release any microplastics anymore. Vaude has opted for Biopile, a material in which the polyester has been replaced by (biodegradable) Tencel. Brands like Jack Wolfskin, The North Face, and Salewa also continuously innovate to create better solutions.
- If we focus more on fleece, the price might not say it all, but the fact is that super-cheap, generic fleece will have a bigger environmental impact than a more expensive (brand-name) fleece product. Therefore, we only include high-quality, brand-name products in our range.
- We work to keep our customers as informed as possible about this issue. Not just with information about microplastics (which don’t originate from fleece alone), but with handy tips for the environmentally friendly care of fleece. A well-informed customer is worth his or her weight in gold.
4. #ayacucho #solid
Why are the Ayacucho products not made in Peru?
Only Ayacucho products are made in the Ayacucho region, but not every Ayacucho product comes from Peru.
We prefer to focus more on a truly sustainable story: acquiring financing that can be invested in local initiatives so that our engine for change continues to run and so that locals are employed with their own local options and raw materials. We do this through our partner, Solid.
The story behind the Ayacucho collection and Solid:
- Part of the proceeds from every (!) Ayacucho product sold go straight to Solid, our partner in the Ayacucho story. Solid supports several sustainable social development projects – not just in Ayacucho (Peru) where it all began for us, but in India and Kenya now as well.
- ‘Learning by doing’ is the motto for all these projects: we teach the locals how to stand on their own two feet and dig in their heels by doing just those things. They will eventually become self-supporting this way. You can read more about this project here.
- When manufacturing the Ayacucho collection, our buyers make sure that everything is done in accordance with the BSCI Code, with guarantees for proper working conditions.
- Would you like to experience the story behind the Ayacucho collection up close and personal? Then we invite you to take part in the selection procedure for our annual cultural immersion trips to the Solid projects. We suggest you check our newsletters and social media regularly for more info.
How do you monitor and guarantee the proper working conditions?
Our partners and suppliers comply with the BSCI Code. This supports retailers, importers, and brands in their efforts to improve the working conditions in the supplying factories and workplaces. If you would like to know more about the content of the BSCI Code or see how the monitoring is done, please click here.
6. #code of conduct
How do you guarantee the sustainability of your suppliers?
By keeping a finger on the pulse of every one of the brands in our range! Our suppliers are surveyed annually on the following topics:
- Code of Conduct: What standards are complied with concerning a living wage, child labour, etc.?
- Organisations: Which organisations (Fair Wear Foundation, Fair Labour Organisation, etc.) is the brand a member of?
- Labels and certificates: Which labels and certificates do the products have? Is there a bluesign label? Does the brand satisfy the ISO 26000 standard on corporate social responsibility?
- Miscellaneous: Are there other sustainable initiatives in place within the company? What has been achieved specifically in the past year?
We always try to monitor this strictly to achieve transparency.
New initiatives taken by some brands can then inspire other brands, which is something that we can also communicate as a retailer.
What about PFCs in your outdoor clothing?
All of our Ayacucho jackets are completely PFC-free. We use Bionic Finish Eco to make these water-repellent in an environmentally friendly manner.
We monitor the use of PFCs and other water-repellent coatings for all of the other outdoor brands that we distribute, partly via the Code of Conduct. We are seeing steps being taken everywhere to make these coatings more sustainable.
Do you use fur in your clothing or accessories?
No; our Ayacucho collection does not use any fur and we will refuse any products from other brands in which real fur is used.
How do you source the down in your clothing, gear, or accessories?
We only accept down that is sourced from the foodstuffs industry and therefore does not originate from animals that are plucked while still alive or from geese that are force-fed with the aim of producing fois gras. That’s why we purchase down alternatives like Save the duck by PrimaLoft. This is also the case for the Ayacucho private label. So, we follow strict standards and monitor things regularly.
10. #animal welfare, #angora en #wool
What is your stance on animal welfare?
Our suppliers and brands must always keep animal welfare in mind in their manufacturing process. Cases of abuse, such cruelty to angora rabbits or mulesing sheep, will not be tolerated. This is supported by the BSCI Code and the Code of Conduct.
11. #biodegradable textiles
Do you use biodegradable textiles?
We see how we can minimise the use of finite raw materials in the manufacturing processes for Ayacucho and the other brands. Moreover, we try to reuse residual materials so that the processes become even more sustainable. In short, we focus on recycling and biodegradable textiles, which are the essence of a circular economy:
- In order to estimate the ecological footprint of a product, the entire lifecycle must be assessed (LCA). It’s not just the manufacturing process that plays a role here; the required raw materials, transport, use, and processing after end-of-life are also fundamentally important in correctly estimating this.
- Biodegradable textiles fit into this perfectly: 100% biodegradable clothing can be composted, which creates fertile soils for new materials. We’re totally behind this.
- However, we must remain critical: a ‘biodegradable’ label doesn’t solve all the problems. Therefore, we must dig deeper and look at how much water is required to grow the raw materials, what distances are covered between the growing and processing of these materials, and what procedures are followed during manufacturing.
- The raw material that is the best match here is Tencel. This is made from the eucalyptus tree pulp, without any toxic substances, and is completely biodegradable. Moreover, eucalyptus grows quickly and requires little water. Other highly promising textiles that fit into this story perfectly are hemp, bamboo, and jute. Our buyers also take this into account, particularly when it comes to our private label Ayacucho®, for which we regularly use bamboo and Tencel.
What do you do to make (online) packaging more sustainable?
We know that we can do better, both in the use and the consumption of our packaging. That’s why we are currently taking steps in the right direction with the future perspective being to use and consume as little plastic as possible when it comes to our packaging.
- To make our packaging more sustainable, we are constantly weighing the impact on the environment and the transport of air. For example, we are currently looking at alternatives to the filling paper used in our packaging for long-distance orders. But this isn’t all. We’re also looking at additional box sizes so that the products fit inside better for packing and transport, thus significantly reducing the transport of air.
- Alternative outer packaging in the form of folding boxes that no longer require tape to hold them closed is also being considered. These can then also be reused easily for returns.
- We’re also looking at new bpost labels that can be affixed directly to our boxes, thus eliminating the plastic backing.
- We are still looking for a more sustainable alternative for cases where there is no alternative for using plastic (for hygiene or transport reasons).
- Did you know that we have also started using biodegradable drinking cups in our stores and at our headquarters? Much more environmentally friendly!