The outdoor industry can be just as bad as any other – encouraging high consumption, and fly anywhere lifestyles. And gear – outdoor equipment – is largely as unsustainable and exploitative as any other manufacturing sector, based on out sourcing, sweat shops, long distance movement of items, and both planned obsolescence and conspicuous consumption.
But there are a range of companies that are attempting to become more sustainable and some of them are amongst the most sustainable businesses on the planet. This site aims to explore, acknowledge, and ultimately, support those companies that are trying to be more sustainable and ethical in what they do.
The idea is that for each category of equipment and company, I will assess the work being done in the realms of sustainability and fair working conditions – where I can find that information – and then ‘rate’ the companies.
The theory is that people who are interested in supporting sustainability initiatives can use the website as one more mechanism they may use in choosing an item when they are considering a purchase. Obviously there are a range of factors that influence such a decision – cost, availability, brand allegiance, and so on. But if enough of us do buy the more sustainable and ethical option where we can, that starts to send a message to the companies involved, both in terms of production but also amongst retail stores in their choices about which products they stock.
Your purchasing choices become more powerful when you then email or otherwise contact a company explaining why you chose (or didn’t choose) their particular product. Contact details for most companies will be found in the relevant section of this website.
It has only just been started in early February 2010, and I will add items and information as I find it – both in terms of doing profiles of specific brands and also announcing new and more sustainable items as I hear about them. Please feel free to send your ideas, links and reviews. You can do this by emailing me or posting a comment at the end of the relevant section. If you feel I have been unfair or incorrect in my assessment of a product or company, please get in touch and I will attempt to work it out as soon as possible.
Disclosure: in 2012, Patagonia Australia granted the organisation that I work for some funds for an environmental campaign. Apart from that, I have no personal or financial link with any of the products or companies listed here. If you have such a link with a item you are reviewing, please disclose the connection.
A little bit about me
I’m obsessed with mountains. Amongst other things, I am an activist – I work as campaigns co-ordinator with Friends of the Earth in Melbourne, a father, lapsed climber, backcountry walker and would-be telemark skier. I split my time between Melbourne, Castlemaine and Dinner Plain, all in Victoria. I am always up for a chat about activism, mountains, and changing the world! Cam.firstname.lastname@example.org