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.
We put our best energy into designing our gear. We build it to last and endure the wildest conditions.
Durability and performance have been our guiding principles from the outset.
However, 65% of a garment’s environmental impact happens before you even see it – during manufacturing and sourcing. That is a problem that can be spread out across lifetimes, if the product is built to last – with timeless design, outstanding quality, dedicated durability. The most sustainable purchase is no purchase. Buying pre-loved ReGEAR™is your next best move. If you are going to purchase something new, we want to provide the best option - quality that will perform, season after season, with a line-up of willing users once your relationship with that garment comes to an end. Every time you choose to buy nothing new, to favour durability over disposability, to care for and repair your gear, or to support resale, repurposed or upcycled offerings, you’re adding your weight to the growing shift towards circularity. ReBird™ is a hub of initiatives where we are bringing circularity to life.
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.
Despite the complexity of the global problems we confront, being design-led means problem solving – a collaborative, humble, iterative process. Each step forward builds upon the last. This is the way we generate the momentum needed to catalyze systemic change. We commit to showing up.
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.
Climate change is an urgent issue with immediate impacts to communities and ecosystems around the world. Science tells us cutting global greenhouse 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.
On Earth Day 2020, after a rigorous carbon footprint analysis to set our 2018 baseline, Arc’teryx announced emissions reductions and renewable energy goals. These science-based targets have been approved by the Science-Based Target Initiative, a partnership between CDP, UN Global Compact, the World Resources Institute and WWF to help companies take the action needed to keep global temperature increase below 2°C.
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 (which has been achieved through the annual purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates) 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 ReGEAR™.
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 2021 Climate Report. To chart our progress since the beginning, you can also check out our inaugural 2019 Climate Report and 2020 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.
While Canadian production represents the foundation of our manufacturing knowledge, our production is global.
Products must meet our demanding quality, so we partner with the highest performance technical apparel facilities in 10 countries to help us achieve required volumes. We stand behind every product we make, and are proud to call out the facilities behind each piece. An Arc'teryx label, no matter the place of manufacture,is an assurance of quality,durability and performance.
Our design approach, devotion to detail and quality, and our long-term relationships with manufacturing facilities create an opportunity to influence conditions for workers that we are actively leaning into.
Starting in 2020, we have begun supporting our manufacturing facilities through the independent third-party Fair Trade Certified™ program to empower workers by providing additional funds that workers receive and that they can direct to improve their livelihoods. Products that are Fair Trade Certified provide you with the assurance that worker rights–their health and safety - are being protected. Additionally, Fair Trade premiums generate a worker-controlled fund which the workers collectively apply to secure tangible benefits in their own lives.
To learn more about our relationships with our supply chain partners, please visit our Supply Chain Partners page.
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.