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Arc'teryx Environmental Policy

Arc'teryx's Environmental Policy

Arc'teryx's Environmental Policy

The single biggest area of our company’s environmental impact is the products we design and make. As a result, our environmental initiatives are primarily structured to address the footprint and composition of our product and materials.

In general, we seek to operate in a responsible, efficient, and mindful way.

This translates to minimising waste in our operations, to sourcing safe and effective materials, and perhaps most importantly, to designing and manufacturing products to be the longest lasting and best performing in our industry.

Our environmental initiatives, like our product design in general, focus on extending the lifetime and performance of the products.

These initiatives span product design and care, materials research and development, efficient manufacturing, and responsible sourcing.

Product Durability

Lifecycle thinking guides our approach to designing the world's most durable outdoor gear.

Arc’teryx strives to make the world’s best performing, longest lasting outdoor gear. Durability is the cornerstone of our design philosophy. Lifecycle thinking guides our approach to product durability. We look at our operations as a system, spanning the creation of the materials we source, the production processes used to manufacture, the distribution steps in our supply chain, stores and retail operations, product use and care, and end of life. We seek to influence this cycle to reduce energy, resource and material consumption while enhancing product quality. Extending the useful life of the product effectively diminishes the impacts associated with production by sharing them over more years. External Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies support this conclusion, finding that product and transportation of a representative garment comprise approximately 65% of the environmental impact over the garment’s useable life, and that extending garment lifetime had greater effect than seeking to reduce the impacts associated with the production sub-processes.

Arc’teryx seeks to extend the usable lifetime of our products through a multitude of company functions. It is done by developing and sourcing materials that will wear well over time. Fabrics are selected after extensive wear testing and based centrally on their durability. It is done by designing garments and equipment to perform under extreme use, with attention to seam, pocket and closure construction to avoid points of clear garment failure. Additionally, colour selection and styling is intended to be timeless, so that a 10 year old jacket will retain not only performance, but also appearance. It is done by developing specific manufacture techniques to ensure this quality is embedded in each finished garment. Beyond point of sale, it is done by providing appropriate garment maintenance instructions and by providing a comprehensive repair program. We stand behind the design and manufacture of our garments, offering the industry’s leading warranty and repair coverage.

Product Durability

After Sales Service

Proper care and maintenance ensures your favourite piece lasts as long as possible.

Proper care and equipment maintenance are crucial to garment performance and lifetime. This relies on regular cleaning and appropriate use. However, accidents do happen often enough in our core users’ activities. To increase garment lifetime, Arc'teryx offers repair services worldwide. This keeps products working optimally, out of landfills, and avoids the production of unnecessary replacements. We provide skilled repairs that will protect your product's technical integrity. In North America, we use our Vancouver factory; in Europe we have a facility in Switzerland; and in Asia our distributors help us work with local partners. For many people, their favourite pack or jacket is equivalent to an old friend, one they want to share adventures with for as long as possible. We agree. Our after sales team repairs over 10,000 used Arc’teryx items per year, typically donating all those that cannot be repaired to a satisfactory level.

Material Science

High performance products require high performance materials. Here is how we ensure their safety and integrity.

Arc'teryx strives to incorporate health and environmental factors in the selection process for the materials we use in our products. Our goal is to ensure that our products and the processes used to make them rely on materials that are inherently safe for people and the environment. We’re working to achieve this goal in several ways. First, we are active members of the Chemicals Management Working Group, a part of the OIA's Sustainability Program. Through our efforts with the working group we focus on engaging our suppliers and manufacturers to address issues around the use of safer chemicals and transparency in supply chains.

Material Science

Second, Arc’teryx is a Bluesign system partner. Bluesign is a global textiles management system that seeks to define safe, environmentally responsible materials to be used at each step of the global supply chain. We believe in the strength of screening materials inputs rather than testing at the end of the process, as we feel this gives the best opportunity to guide supply chains to inherently safer materials and anticipate problems before they evolve. Since beginning to work with Bluesign in 2013 Arc’teryx has been identifying priority material areas for transition to fully input-screened suppliers. We’ll share updates as progress furthers in the research and optimisation process.

Third, Arc’teryx maintains a detailed Restricted Substances List (RSL) that specifies a broad range of materials not permitted for use in our products due to environmental, health, or occupational safety reasons. We work with our suppliers and manufacturers to ensure adherence to this RSL.

PFCs

The science behind and recent changes to durable water repellency (DWR).

Perfluorinated Chemicals is an area of current NGO and regulatory attention. This is relevant to outdoor apparel because PFCs are used to provide the durable water repellency (DWR) treatments on wide range of products, including waterproof breathable jackets, packs, footwear, and elsewhere. The types of chemicals used to make DWR treatments have changed in recent years. Formerly, materials referred to as ‘long chain fluorocarbons’ were used, often containing a contaminant called PFOA. PFOA poses serious health and environmental concerns, and as a result an agreement was reached among major chemicals manufacturers to phase it out. The replacement materials, referred to as ‘short chain’ flurocarbons (meaning they contain materials with 6 or fewer carbon atoms per molecule), show less toxicity but are still classified as persistent. Arc’teryx has moved all of its production to short chain DWR technologies as of 2014, seeing this as an important and necessary step in the evolution of DWR chemistry. In some cases, users may notice a change in the performance of the first generation short chain DWR. In this case, more active and frequent washing, drying, and DWR retreatment will help improve performance.

PFCs

Responsible Sourcing

How we seek to ensure ethical sourcing of bio-based materials such as down.

Arc’teryx seeks to source bio-based materials such as down that are ethically produced and harvested. Our down comes from small farms in Eastern Europe. We have taken steps to ensure that our down sources are certified non-force fed and non-live pluck. Our supplier, Allied Feather and Down, uses a third party supply chain auditor, the International Down and Feather Laboratory (IDFL.com) to validate their sourcing practice claims. In addition, we work with the outdoor industry as a whole to look specifically at the issue of down sourcing. We actively participate in the efforts of the European Outdoor Group and the OIA Sustainability Working Group to identify potential systems of traceability for the down suppliers.

Allied Feather and Down has worked in the outdoor market since the 1980s and supplies many of the biggest brands in the industry. They are a Bluesign® system partner. Our down is cleaned and processed at their North American facility in California.

Responsible Sourcing

Office

Environmental initiatives in place at our head office.

The most immediate environmental impacts are those from the office we work in every day. We’ve taken care to create a low impact and enjoyable working space for our employees. The recycled floor finishing and furniture coverings reduce waste. To provide natural light, skylights were used wherever possible. In other areas, MesoOptics lighting fixtures efficiently distribute more light per fixture and allow better lighting control.

A fully equipped bike room and showers supports a community of self-propelled commuters (no small feat in Vancouver rain). A waste water heat exchanger further reduces the energy required to provide hot water. Outside the building are electric car charging stations, rain water collection on the roof for reuse and water retention gardens to capture storm water.