UPDATE, March 2014:

In my original assessment (2010) I was less than favourable about Kathmandu on both environmental and workplace issues. Partly this was because I had difficulty gaining information from the company. The following update comes from the company itself.

About the company

From the company: Kathmandu is “focused on designing and developing sustainable products. Kathmandu is committed to running a sustainable business and inspiring adventure”.


My comment: the company is clearly moving forward on both sustainability and workplace issues. Given their significant position in the Australian market in terms of volume and the ubiquitous nature of the brand, this is a significant development. Compared with Europe and North America, a number of other major Australian retail brands provide very little information on workplace and environmental performance of their home brand products. This makes the developments at Kathmandu a good precedent for the retail sector here .

Sustainability criteria:

  • reporting framework: how does the company benchmark what it does/ reports? Does it use one of the international accredited systems

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Reporting … 2014 will be the third year Kathmandu has provided full GRI reporting and in 2014 will upgrade to the new G4 format of the Global Reporting Initiative.

The company is actively involved in the Outdoor Industry Association and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition work with the Higg Index.

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

Information on this is detailed in our Sustainability Reports, we have a full range of “enact” products (stands for “environmental action” – one of our core values), these products are made from sustainable materials including recyclables.

For the latest sustainability report, check here.

We also source organic and Fair Trade cotton within our range and are actively pursuing increases in these areas.

  • energy consumption & carbon dioxide emissions

Kathmandu has measured Scope 1 & 2 emissions for three years, with the addition of Scope 3 in the coming year. We will be setting aggressive reduction targets in the second quarter of 2014.

We report our carbon footprint through the annual CDP report (Carbon Disclosure Project)

  • working conditions

Kathmandu has a robust internal audit process of its supply chain, completing 55-60 audits annually and engaging suppliers on continuous improvement programs and beyond compliance initiatives like Higg and Bluesign certifications. 95% of Kathmandu products are sourced from suppliers we have worked with for over six years, providing longer term investments and partnerships.

We are currently investigating the value of a third party group to partner with to enhance our effectiveness and investments in long term improvements in our factories.

  • other environmental claims or benefits

As part of our Sustainability strategy, Kathmandu has strategic partnerships with the Australian Himalayan Foundation, Australian Red Cross and Australian Wildlife Conservancy in Australia, as well as Outward Bound New Zealand, NZ Department of Conservation and the NZ Red Cross in New Zealand. We are about to announce a partnership with the Himalayan Trust in the UK as well.

Kathmandu has a range of BPA free drinking bottles.

You can find where to purchase Kathmandu products by checking their store locator.


3 Responses to Kathmandu

  1. Andrew Reilly says:

    Can you advise me of the working conditions of the workers producing your products?

    [hi Andrew, you’d be best placed to ask Kathmandu directly: http://www.kathmandu.com.au/contacts/index

    I would be interested in any response you get.
    regards, Cam ]

  2. bek005 says:

    They now have a range or Tshirts made from Certified Fairtrade Cotton, was excited to see that http://www.kathmandu.com.au/articles/fairtrade-certified-cotton.html

  3. Tim says:

    G’day. As the Sustainability Manager at Kathmandu I would be happy to provide you with more details to update the accuracy of your website. Feel free to contact me directly.

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