Icebreaker

Icebreaker clothing is now widely available in gear stores throughout Australia, and wool is ‘natural’ – ie not made from petrochemicals, so it stands up well as an environmentally friendly material.

Icebreaker clothing used to be made in NZ, but according to the company, they “couldn’t keep up with the demand as we expanded into global markets, so we carried out a global search for world-class technology and capacity to partner with”. The company says that all it’s offshore producers must met stringent criteria, which cover environmental and workplace issues.

I have no details on production methods and their impacts on the animals involved, or whether there is criteria for humane treatment of the animals.

So on the whole, it does seem that Icebreaker does stack up as a relatively sustainable option for underwear, base layer clothing, socks and other clothing.

sustainability criteria

  • information on resources used – recycled materials, use of renewable materials, etc

Wool is, of course, a renewable material.

  • energy consumption
  • carbon dioxide emissions
  • distance travelled/ place(s) of production

See below for the problems of having a long supply and production train.

“Our new supply partners are centred around Shanghai but come from all around the world to be based there. It’s a mini United Nations: we have partnered with a French wool blender, a German spinner, a Chinese textile house using Italian plant, a Japanese inspection service, a Chinese quality control company and a German logistics company”.

So, the raw product is sustainable, the off shore producers operate according to workplace and sustainability criteria, but the travel footprint is – seemingly – huge. Although to be fair this is true for many outdoor products where components come from a variety of countries before being assembled.

  • waste generated
  • water consumption
  • working conditions

Icebreaker clothing used to be made in NZ, but according to the company, they “couldn’t keep up with the demand as we expanded into global markets, so we carried out a global search for world-class technology and capacity to partner with”. The company says that all it’s offshore producers must met stringent criteria, which cover environmental and workplace issues.

The company says that all it’s offshore producers must met stringent criteria, which are outlined here: http://www.icebreaker.com/site/philosophy/#/sustainability/ethicalmanufacturing

Relevant parts of the producers criteria:

• respect staff and provide them with a caring community environment
• have good natural light, clean air and a healthy environment
• be part of, or working towards, a global quality assurance programme, such as ISO 9001
• be part of, or working towards, a global environmental assurance programme, such as ISO 14001 and/or comply with Oeko-Tex environmental standards for textiles

  • other environmental claims or benefits
  • details on who stocks the item/ where to find it/ where to get further information

Check here to find a local retailer
http://www.icebreaker.com/site/dealers.html

main range of the Snowies, NSW

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One Response to Icebreaker

  1. Pingback: Icebreaker « green & sustainable outdoor gear

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