FRIEDRICHSHAFEN – Sustainability pays in the long run is a key takeaway from this year’s European Outdoor Show which is this year taking place for the last time in Friedrichshafen before moving to Munich in 2019.
Among exhibitors presenting new sustainable solutions are outdoor clothing insulation manufacturer, PrimaLoft, which is using the show to present its first three outdoor apparel insulations which are made entirely from post-consumer recycled (PCR) material. The insulations are produced through a proprietary technique in which recycled plastic bottle chips are reconstructed into the form of high-performance fibres for premium insulation.
The shift towards more sustainable solutions which manage to maintain performance levels is not without a financial cost. However, with brands generally not prepared to pay a premium for sustainability, Primaloft’s managing director for Europe & Asia, Jochen Lagemann, suggests Primaloft itself absorbs such costs internally. “We keep the price the same for brands … this affects margins but it is a great investment for the future,” he told Apparel Insider.
Meanwhile, Primaloft CEO, Mike Joyce suggested that “innovation has fuelled growth” at Primaloft, enabling the business to double in size since 2012.
Asked for his personal thoughts on sustainability, Joyce offered a no-nonsense response. “I say leave the politics aside and let’s just do the right thing. At the end of the day, we just want to leave the world in a better place than when we found it.”
Going back to the issue of cost and sustainability, we also spoke to Antje von Dewitz, CEO of German outdoor brand Vaude. Vaude has become a frontrunner on sustainability in the outdoor sector, and has worked closely with Primaloft on a number of projects, including recently the use of Kapok fibres in a joint insulation development.
Are such solutions cost effective for brands? Von Deitz told us that as a frontrunner, many of the newer sustainable innovations are “not cost effective,”adding that Vaude needs “more brands to come on board for the economies of scale.”
Again, however, the payback comes in the long term. “We are growing faster than the industry average and overall are seeing great payback from sustainability,” she told Apparel Insider.
More on Outdoor to follow this week.