Green Shape Label for Sustainable Outdoor Products on the Road to Success
• Top-class external Green Shape advisory council established
• Next goal: external accreditation of the standard
VAUDE's own Green Shape standard for environmentally friendly outdoor products has achieved another milestone: An external advisory council consisting of six well-known experts will provide technical advice to the outdoor company on all Green Shape topics, effective immediately. These topics will ensure that the criteria will continue to be developed on the highest level and meet the strictest specifications in the textile industry. In the next step, Green Shape should receive external accreditation.
VAUDE increases its credibility and independence
A lot has happened since VAUDE introduced its own Green Shape label for sustainable textiles in 2010. The percentage of VAUDE Green Shape products continues to increase and today includes the majority of all products. The strict requirements have been tightened continuously and expanded across the entire product life cycle. Thus, for example, checking repairability was introduced as another criterion. The latest Green Shape version includes numerous updates, which have taken effect starting with the 2022 summer collection. In addition to tightening the certificates for suppliers and materials approved for Green Shape, now every Green Shape product must consist of more than 50 % recycled or bio-based materials. These requirements are part of VAUDE's ambitious climate goals, which prescribe a significant reduction of CO2 emissions in the supply chain.
“Green Shape is one of the central building blocks along our path to reducing the ecological footprint of our products even more. That's why we keep raising the bar and we place great value on external, independent assessment,” explains Hilke Patzwall, VAUDE CSR manager.
Green Shape advisory council secures independent expertise
In order to further reinforce the objectivity and credibility of Green Shape, now an advisory council of six independent experts has been established, one that will incorporate its sound technical knowledge in the areas of environmental protection, science, supply chain, customers (retail and consumers), publicity/civil society): Anna Rodewald (GreenroomVoice), Fabian Nendza (Frilufts Retail Europe AB and Globetrotter Ausrüstung), Marco Weichert (Weichert Agencies), Prof. Dr. Martin Führ (Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences), Dr. Maximilian Hempel (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt DBU), and Rebecca Tauer (WWF Deutschland). Thus, the committee represents all important stakeholder groups involved with sustainable outdoor products. In regular technical reviews, the advisory council will focus on the criteria, processes, and procedure of Green Shape and ensure that the standard continues to develop on the highest level.
The first meeting of the Green Shape advisory council with VAUDE – Antje von Dewitz (Managing Director), Uwe Gottschalk (Products Manager), Jan Lorch (Sales & CSR Manager), and Hilke Patzwall (Sustainability Manager) – has already been held. Here, initial content discussions were on the agenda. “It was a very productive and sound discussion. We are looking forward to further cooperation with this group of experts, who – just as we are – are driven to change something, confront challenges, and find innovative solutions for the future,” says Hilke Patzwall.
In order to increase the credibility of Green Shape not just technically and in terms of its content, but also with regard to its structure, the company Arqum, Gesellschaft für Arbeitssicherheits-, Qualitäts- und Umweltmanagement mbH, will assume the role of the standard-setter effective immediately – independently of VAUDE. This guarantees that VAUDE does not simultaneously set and use the processes and criteria of the Green Shape standard; instead, the roles are clearly separated. This creates independence and increases the credibility of the standard.
Consumers trust the company's own seals
Ever more consumers are placing value on shopping responsibly. At the same time – especially the young Generation Z – they expect that companies assume responsibility and provide proof of this as well (according to the 2021 “Meaningful Brands” survey). Accordingly, sustainability seals are becoming more important since they provide orientation and are often also relevant for purchasing decisions. This also shows that consumers have a great deal of trust in a company's own labels such as Green Shape. 85 % believe that a company's own seal is at least as credible or much more credible than other seals (these results come from a representative data collection by Appinio at the request of Vaude, collected in June 2022). “This is a wonderful confirmation of our commitment and also reflects what we are hearing from the retail sector,” says Hilke Patzwall. Immer mehr Konsument*innen legen Wert darauf, verantwortungsbewusst einzukaufen. Zugleich wird – insbesondere von der jungen Generation Z – erwartet, dass Unternehmen Verantwortung übernehmen und dies auch unter Beweis stellen (lt. der Umfrage „Meaningful Brands 2021“). Entsprechend werden Nachhaltigkeitssiegel immer wichtiger, indem sie eine Orientierung geben und oft auch relevant für die Kaufentscheidung sind. Dabei zeigt sich, dass Konsument*innen ein hohes Vertrauen in firmeneigene Labels wie Green Shape haben. 85 Prozent halten ein firmeneigenes Siegel für mindestens genauso glaubwürdig bis deutlich glaubwürdiger als andere Siegel (Diese Ergebnisse stammen aus einer repräsentativen Datenerhebung von Appinio im Auftrag von Vaude, erhoben im Juni 2022). „Das ist eine großartige Bestätigung für unser Engagement und spiegelt auch wider, was uns aus dem Fachhandel berichtet wird“, so Hilke Patzwall.
Green Shape is VAUDE's own standard for sustainable outdoor products, which was introduced in 2010, since at that time there was no comprehensive, strict rating system for textiles. Green Shape stands for functional, environmentally friendly products made from sustainable materials and with fair production methods. The strict criteria are checked on an ongoing basis and include the entire life cycle, from design of the products to the manufacturing of the materials, production, use, maintenance, and repair, on through to recycling.
Read about the exciting Green Shape success story with its challenges, turbulences, and milestones in our blog
For additional facts and insights into Green Shape, read our sustainability report
The image (collage) shows the Green Shape Advisory Board with the following experts:
Anna Rodewald / GreenroomVoice
Marco Weichert / Weichert Agencies
Fabian Nendza / Globetrotter
Dr. Maximilian Hempel / Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt
Prof. Dr. Martin Führ / Hochschule Darmstadt, photo credits: Jürgen Mai
Rebecca Tauer / WWF, photo credits: Marlena Waldthausen/WWF