About the company
From the company: “Arc’teryx designs and constructs products to perform better and last longer. We believe that a high quality product that retains its performance properties and aesthetic appeal for many years is more environmentally responsible than one that must be replaced frequently due to inferior materials, poor quality workmanship, or seasonally influenced fashion trends”.
“We unite the most technically advanced materials with highly functional designs and sophisticated styling, ensuring that Arc’teryx products will survive many seasons of active use. Our goal is to substantially reduce the total amount of materials used over time, and the energy consumed to manufacture and distribute those materials and our products”.
They make a range of clothing, climbing gear and packs.
To be honest, I knew very little about this company before starting this website. Increasingly I have been spotting the brand out on the trail, but am not familiar with it. Like Osprey, they are a relative newcomer to the Australian market and have a very modern design sensibility. Sometimes this can feel like new-ness for new-ness sake and some equipment I have seen has seemed a little flimsy for my liking.
But having done some research, I have to say I am impressed: they seem to be taking steps to use lower impact materials in their products, and provide good working conditions for their staff. Unlike many of the other global brands, they still have some production facilities in North America. They seem to genuinely encourage their staff to ‘walk the talk’ in terms of reducing impact and seem to be attempting to embrace ecological thinking across all of the stages of design, production and management.
That being said, they are also honest about their primary focus, in that they stress that they are mainly interested in producing equipment that is based on performance, not sustainability. As they say on their website: “if you wish to support products that are made with organic and/or renewable materials we may not be the right choice for you”.
category getting there (**)
- reporting framework: how does the company benchmark what it does/ reports?
From the company: “Each year as we grow, we become more capable of working towards tangible, positive changes in our environmental practices. We have already made strong steps in the right direction and continue to explore new ways to become better stewards. We have partnered with an independent auditor – Wisent Environmental Inc – who evaluates our head office, factory and warehouse facilities in Vancouver, British Columbia”.
“This is an on-going collaborative relationship, and Wisent Environmental provides us with detailed evaluation reports and proposes alternative methods and eco-friendly office products to reduce our environmental impact. With new initiatives created from Wisent Environmental’s input, as well as our own internal Green Committee, we have reduced our operational impact on the environment and are consciously working towards a sustainable future”.
A group called Bureau Veritas monitors and reports on conditions in the contractor’s facilities
- information on resources used – recycled materials, use of renewable materials, etc
Integration of recycled materials in products is not, as yet, a widespread feature of this brand: “Arc’teryx believes in integrity and responsibility. Due to the present state of textile technology and our unwillingness to sacrifice technical performance, the majority of Arc’teryx products are made with materials derived from non-renewable resources. We have not yet found acceptable renewable alternatives that don’t substantially affect our product’s performance or durability”.
They have an interesting take on this: “recycling synthetic materials can actually consume more resources than using virgin materials. Once collected, recyclable outdoor materials are shipped internationally (consuming fossil fuels) to a facility that consumes considerable energy and resources to refine the used fiber to the point where it is ‘nearly’ virgin. We have been hesitant to use recycled materials as our testing has shown that they are not as strong as virgin fibers and they do not meet the durability standards for our products. Recycled synthetic materials wear out quicker and must be replaced more often, leading to greater overall consumption. Currently, we feel that recycled synthetic materials are better suited to non-critical products such as plastic bottles and containers rather than advanced outerwear designed for use in severe alpine environments”.
“We continue to search for eco-friendly materials that will meet or exceed our performance standards and look forward to the day when we can shift our production to more sustainable materials”.
“Arc’teryx believes in integrity and responsibility. Due to the present state of textile technology and our unwillingness to sacrifice technical performance, the majority of Arc’teryx products are made with materials derived from non-renewable resources. We have not yet found acceptable renewable alternatives that don’t substantially affect our product’s performance or durability”.
“Arc’teryx strives to continually become more aware of and sensitive to the environmental impact of our business practices. We evaluate our processes and continually implement new strategies to improve efficiencies and minimize our ecological footprint”.
“We continually evaluate fabrics and materials made from renewable sources and when any meet our criterion for quality and performance we will integrate them into our product line”.
- energy consumption & carbon dioxide emissions
“With the exception of our natural Merino Wool products and cotton casual wear, all of our products are constructed with synthetic materials that are derived from petroleum-based sources. We have yet to discover or develop natural and/or sustainable alternatives that can deliver the performance and durability standards we demand for our products”.
- distance travelled
- waste generated
- water consumption
- working conditions
“Arc’teryx is one of only a few major outdoor industry outerwear brands in North America to have its own domestic North American manufacturing facility, and we proudly employ more than 300 highly skilled workers in our Vancouver, Canada factory”.
“We also have product assembled in eight other countries around the world by high quality, experienced manufacturers. We have one quality standard and it applies to all of our products regardless of location of manufacture.
“Currently, Arc’teryx products are also manufactured in eight other countries besides Canada: USA, China, El Salvador, Italy, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Bangladesh. In all of these countries, including Canada and the United States, it is very possible to manufacture very high or very low quality product.
“Every manufacturing facility is selected for its technical ability and elevated social responsibility practices. We only work with socially responsible contractors who comply with SA8000 standards, ensuring a verifiably safe and fair working environment for their employees. Our production team maintains a very significant presence at our factories to keep a close working relationship with them, and we employ independent auditors—Bureau Veritas—to monitor and report upon our contractor’s facilities. This includes our own Vancouver factory. If a facility is found to be in non-compliance with any of the SA8000 standards, immediate action must be taken to rectify the situation or we will terminate our contract with it. We feel it is in the best interest of the employees, and the industry as a whole, to help contractors realize the value of operating at the highest levels of social responsibility. By enforcing and raising these workplace standards we are directly and positively changing the international manufacturing industry.
- other environmental claims or benefits
The company seeks to ensure that day to day practises in its facilities are best practise in terms of efficient use of resources, full recycling, etc. and produce their printed materials on least impact papers. “In an effort to reduce our overall paper consumption we are moving towards more electronic publishing and communication. This will offer consumers greater information at their fingertips, while reducing the volume of our printed materials”. They also seek to support their staff in having low impact lifestyles – eg through supporting commute via bike or public transport, etc.
They also have a work place green committee, initiated and supported by the company, which is an employee-based group that dedicates part of their work week towards reducing the environmental footprint of the business. “Through research and identifying problem areas within the company, Green Committee members propose and implement more sustainable solutions”.
- details on who stocks the item/ where to find it/ where to get further information
For general information on their products, check here.
Check here to find a store