Three sustainability initiatives

If you follow this blog you will know it’s been very quiet of late. I’ve been busy with lots of campaigns plus Mountain Journal and finding it hard to keep up with developments in the outdoor industry.

The following update comes from the US-based Outdoor Industry Alliance and outlines some developments in sustainability from Keen, the well known co-op retailer REI and prAna.

The report says:

KEEN Footwear, prAna and REI, have been focused on collaborating and using the Higg Index and its tools to implement better business practices throughout their supply chains. Their goals are to help the outdoor industry cut down on costs, operate more efficiently and protect our outdoor playground.

The Higg Index “helps companies measure and evaluate social and environmental performance of apparel and footwear products across the supply chain at the brand, product and facility levels”.  Some commentators have expressed concerns about the Index because it is a self-assessment tool.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Backcountry film festival 2016

film lineupWe now have a date for the Melbourne showing of the Backcountry film festival:

Monday May 2

‘Public Lecture Theatre’ in Old Arts Building

Melbourne University, Carlton.

Map available here.

Suggested donation: $8 conc & students/ $15 waged. Tickets at the door. There will be plenty of room.

All proceeds go to the Friends of the Earth climate campaign against new coal and gas drilling in Victoria.

7 – 9pm. Films start at 7.15pm. There will be a short intermission.

Hosted by Friends of the Earth and Melbourne University Ski Club.

Facebook page for the event here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tom’s Outdoors – Tumut

Anyone who has been involved in small scale retail knows how hard it is to get a new business going. In the realm of outdoor gear, there is the move to online buying and the threat posed by the large chains, who can sell goods at greatly reduced prices, and who have deep pockets for sourcing stock. Being in a small town adds to the challenge of making a new business economically viable.

Tom’s Outdoors is a recent venture, based in Tumut, in the western foothills of the Snowy Mountains.

It was set up by Chris Russell. You can read a review of the shop and find out about some specialty lines it stocks here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We’re back!

hello all

it’s been pretty quiet here the last few months. I’ve been flat out with local campaigns against unconventional gas drilling and in support of renewable energy (and hopefully getting close to an outcome on both), having adventures, and keeping busy with the Mountain Journal website.

Recently people have started to send lots of interesting snippets about developments in the outdoor industry, so I’m hoping green outdoor gear will be up and running again from this week.

If I have time, I’d like to go over the company profiles. If you have any information on any of the brands that have been assessed, please send it through. Thanks.



Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Patagonia: ‘selling better, not more’

6a00d8341d07fd53ef01b7c7f05e5f970b-500wiOutdoor clothing and gear company Patagonia has always got a good rap on this website.

They are slowly building their presence in Australia, with five stores operating at present. They have also increased their social and cultural involvement (for instance through hosting the New Localism film festival at present).

This article, from The Guardian outlines the companies plans for Australia, which include:

  • plans to continue and expand it’s funding program for activist groups
  • an investigation of whether the company will bring it’s Worn Wear program here. This currently offers US customers the chance to donate, repair or recycle their old Patagonia clothing
  • the possibility of establishing a sustainable, locally sourced food business
  • establishing a local presence for the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. At present, there are no Australian companies listed as members. It provides a standardised measurement for sustainability across the global clothing industry.

The article is available here.

Posted in clothing, non sweat shop labour, renewable materials | Leave a comment

Mountain Designs heritage range

MD tshirtI certainly wouldn’t consider Mountain Designs to be a leader in the outdoor industry when it comes to sustainability.

But this range of t-shirts which have been produced to mark the companies 40th anniversary look good.

They are billed as being made in Australia and made of organic cotton, with ‘recycled water’ and water based dyes in the production process. There is no details on work place conditions (Mountain Designs appears to not be registered with Ethical Clothing Australia).

MD says:

Our Heritage range of organic cotton t-shirts aren’t your ordinary tees. They look good, feel good and smell good thanks to Polygiene® Odour Control technology. All tees in the range are Australian designed and made using an environmentally conscious process from start to finish! 

Each shirt features a woven patch of the original Mountain Designs logo, originally designed by Rick White in 1974 and inspired by the Patagonia Mountains. Be part of our story with designs inspired by our adventurous heritage.

Details on buying the t-shirts can be found here.

[I spotted this post via Wild magazine].

Posted in Australian made, clothing | Leave a comment

Patagonia Denim Redefines the Blue Jean

F15_DenimDealerEmail-2This story from Moja Gear highlights the moves by Patagonia to produce a more sustainable – and more ethical – denim jean.

Cleaner, Safer, and Fair Trade, Too: Patagonia Denim Redefines the Blue Jean

We all own at least one pair, and probably wear them more than we’d like to admit. They fit great, and maybe only bear a rip or two. But have you ever considered what goes into producing that single pair of beloved pants that we all so devotedly rely on?

The unfortunate truth of that matter is that the manufacturing process of most denim out there is a dirty one.

The jeans in which we romp in the woods and frolic down the street were more likely than not made from cotton grown with pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers —with names we can’t even pronounce. They resulted in more gallons of wastewater and CO2 emissions than we’d ever wish to see or breathe. And that denim wrapping our legs on the daily, was likely sewn together by the hands of a worker in sub-optimal working conditions and receiving inadequate pay.

You can read the full story here.

Posted in clothing, non sweat shop labour, renewable materials | Leave a comment