Derived from the lower feathers of waterfowl such as ducks and geese, down has astounding properties that make it a unique marvel of nature - Light as a snowflake, it protects against the cold and is highly compressible due to its elasticity. No other material combines extremely low weight with high thermal insulation. Hence, down has a superior heat and weight ratio. As a result, high quality down has decisive advantages over synthetic materials and meets the strictest of requirements in its stride. We carefully ensure that our down jackets and sleeping bags are only filled with high quality, ethically harvested down. To ensure this in a transparent and credible fashion while eradicating unnecessary animal suffering from the supply chain, SALEWA has decided, going forward, to only purchase down that comes with RDS (Responsible Down Standard) certification. The RDS is currently the most comprehensive, independent certified animal welfare and traceability standard worldwide. The development of the standards required a major commitment by various stakeholders; especially input from suppliers, farmers, animal welfare organizations and industry experts was essential. The standard addresses issues proactively by setting clear requirements and auditing against them on a regular basis, including unannounced audits.
RDS means: Complete ban of live-plucking and force feeding of ducks and geese Robust criteria to ensure that the five freedoms of the animals are protected Animals are never killed solely for their down or feathers Yearly audits of every stage of production (farm, slaughterhouse, processers, etc.) Strict and transparent procedures in place to protect the integrity of the standard (e.g. loss of certification for non‐compliance and pulling product in cases of false or inaccurate labeling) For more information on the Responsible Down Standard visit: www.responsibledown.org
KEY FACTS AND FIGURES
KEY FACTS AND FIGURES
Health, safety and lasting quality are our top priorities. Our systems for product safety and quality assurance are based on a comprehensive and rigorous verification process, which involves each stage of development and production. Products are therefore monitored/tested from the very beginning of the design process, to the moment they leave the warehouse.
COMPLETE SUPPLY CHAIN ILLUSTRATION
We consistently work towards avoiding harmful chemicals in our supply chain. We are partners with bluesign® and follow the well-known Restricted Substance Policy (RSP). All our suppliers must comply with the regulation regarding the use of certain substances. We strive to further reduce the use of harmful fluorocarbon compounds known as PFCs. In recent years, we have reduced not only the number of different products and substances, but also the number of suppliers. A clear collection allows us to further focus on chemical management and thus to increase efforts for environmentally friendly production.
Our focus is on total transparency in our sustainability efforts, we want to seamlessly track and document our supply chain in terms of materials and production processes. This transparency will enable us to monitor and control the use of chemical substances throughout the production process.
HIGHER CHEMICAL STANDARDS
The Oberalp Chemical Policy is an internal document that introduces a formal process to ban, or limit, the presence and use of hazardous substances in our products and production processes. This guarantees safety and compliance. The policy includes our Restricted Substances List (RSL), a list of chemicals that are excluded or limited from all our products. Our ambition is a best-practice standard, and we update it every year to include the latest research. The Policy goes beyond legal requirements and excludes all eleven chemical compounds that Greenpeace classify as highly questionable.
All Salewa branded products have to abide by the policy. It’s a central part of the Conditions of Purchase with our suppliers, and it’s mandatory at every stage of the production and distribution process.
Testing our products is a crucial part of our responsibility. We conduct tests on our products with the support of independent, third-party labs. In 2019, we conducted more than 2500 tests on our products to check their compliance with our Chemical Policy. Another way we ensure our products are safe is by working with third party certifications, such as bluesign®.
PERFLUORINATED CHEMICALS (PFCS)
Our goal is to completely eradicate the use of PFCs in our products and manufacturing processes. Because we have a duty to protect our customers whilst ensuring the performance of our clothes. Which is why we constantly research for better or at least comparable technology. We have already carried out a lot of tests, however, unfortunately only the fluorinated surface treatments currently achieve the high level of water repellence that our high performance mountaineering products require. This performance is crucial for the health, safety and comfort of mountaineering athletes who are exposed to harsh weather conditions. However, SALEWA® are not deflected from their goals: to continuously reduce the use of PFCs, whilst working with partners and suppliers to find PFC-free solutions that do not compromise on performance. to participate in research projects and industry initiatives that underline and support this.
PERFLUORINATED CHEMICALS (PFC)
Fluorocarbons (PFCs) are a type of chemical used to make products resistant to water, grease and stains. In high concentrations, PFCs have been linked to negative health effects in humans and wildlife. They are persistent in the environment, which means they don’t easily degrade in nature and are easily absorbed in the fatty tissue of living organisms, making their way into the food chains.
As a technical mountaineering brand, the safety of our customers comes first. To guarantee this during the most technical and extreme mountain expeditions, we still have to use PFC water repellency treatments. Unfortunately, there is currently no alternative in terms of performance for the PFC-based products we use. However, this type of performance is not essential in all fields, for example, less demanding day trips in moderate conditions. For this reason, we have been working to reduce our use of PFCs as much as possible and replace them when possible.
Since 2014 we have completely eliminated long-chain PFCs (C8) from all our products. All our water-resistant products now either contain shorter-chain PFCs (C6) or are 100% PFC-free. From Summer 2020 collection onwards, 100% of our Powertex membranes are PFC-free. Our current PFC-free (no use of C6 and C8 chemicals) durable water repellent finishes can be identified by the BIONIC FINISHR ECO label, TEFLON™ ECOELITE™ and PHOBOTEXR PFC FREE as well as the PFC-free icon. Please note that contamination from PFCs cannot be excluded.
We recognise our own responsibility and support various initiatives that are committed to eradicating the use of harmful chemicals in textile manufacturing. We are continuously investing to further reduce the use of PFCs in our fabrics and significantly increase the number of PFC-free products without compromising on user-safety performance. In this we are not alone and can rely on good old-fashioned teamwork. SALEWA® is currently working with other outdoor brands to eradicate PFCs entirely. Whilst we’re working hard on this, we are now taking steps to minimise the negative impact of these chemicals.
YOUR CHOICE MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
PFCs are highly water-repellent and therefore support water vapour permeability (the breathability) of textiles. Which is why we use them in our technical collections. This performance is not essential in all fields, for example, less demanding day trips in moderate conditions. So, when you’re preparing for your next adventure, think about the product requirements before you buy. Choose a PFC-free product whenever possible, we have a lot of choice, over 65% of our apparel products are PFC-free.