Though I like the direction that Arc’teryx is going in their plans for sustainability, I (and consumers) need more concrete evidence on the extent to which actions are being taken in order to protect our planet. The company has the capability of becoming a leader in sustainability if they are as far along in their goals as they claim to bet, but it is hard to give them the benefit of the doubt without knowing their numbers. I admire how well-rounded their plan is, and I think other companies can learn from their approach, especially in regard to their focus on creating a circular economy, which is often overlooked in the corporate world. It with this that consumers can know that they can wear this jacket that will protect both them and the outdoors without having to worry about where it has come from or where it will go after use.
On its page for the jacket, Arc’teryx mainly promotes the materials and patented technology, such as their GORE-TEX PRO weatherproof system that ensures durability and their DropHood that allows for versatility on and off the mountain. Though these feats are all impressive, I would’ve liked to see clearer information on sustainability in their materials. There is a tab buried within another tab in the “Full Product Features" section, but it isn’t easy to find and is very brief. It merely states that the jacket contains materials that meet Bluesign criteria and that fabrics are dope dyed, which is a more environmentally-friendly process than typical dying methods. Both these statements are extremely broad, and make it unclear how much thought regarding sustainability was actually put into the jacket. Saying that it merely "contains" environmentally-friendly materials doesn’t mean that a significant portion of the jacket is actually sustainable. It could merely be only one material, or even just a piece of fabric. It would be beneficial to give more information on this sustainability, and possibly even advertise it in the same way they promote their innovative features, in order to appeal more to consumers in the outdoors industry.
Arc’teryx’s website also features a sustainability tab that gives more details on their materials. As previously mentioned, the company has adopted the use of Bluesign materials, as well as sourced materials that respect animal welfare, but it seems that other sustainability tasks are in the works rather than concrete. They do mention their current studies regarding PFCs and microplastics and how they are attempting to rid their products of them, but aren’t clear on exactly how they are doing so or if they have a goal of when to do so by. Having a set date to eliminate a certain practice, or giving a potential alternative they are currently studying, is much clearer to consumers. I already give them credit for being honest in how they are trying to improve, and I think incorporating these aspects would add more credibility to their company and ensure that sustainability is actually a priority for them.
Arc’teryx designs and manufactures their products based on durability and function, which is a good basis from a sustainability point of view. They offer repairs to their gear and clothing, though they don’t seem to advertise it very much on their website, which I think could be beneficial from both a sustainability and consumer standpoint. In their facilities, they had the goal of committing to 100% renewable energy by 2020, which they have not yet provided updates to on their website. The climate report they provide is brief, but gives a good indication of how much progress they've made and is visually appealing to present clear information to customers. It's clear in this sense that Arc'teryx intends to inform their customers, but these intentions can be better manifested through the incorporation of more specific actions being taken in their facilities and energy production.
The company has also adopted a program to turn in used gear to resell, which aligns with their goals on creating a circular economy. The site allows for consumers to purchase old gear that has been turned it and refurbished, reducing the amount of waste going into landfills. It not only provides a chance for consumers avoid simply disposing of their old gear, but also provides a mechanism for which people who may not typically be able to afford the high prices of Arc’teryx to wear their. brand. In this sense, it is a win-win for the company, and I believe it is a great strategy that other brands can look to.
Arc’teryx is a fairly new brand compared to much of what dominates the outdoors industry. It was founded in 1989 in Canada by local climbers, and from there it has grown to selling a wide range of clothing, shoes, and gear for those who spend their time exploring the outdoors. According to their website, which features a timeline of sustainability initiatives, the company is still fairly new in their journey in sustainability, with their first changes being made in 2013. They are taking the steps in both collaborative ways, such as by joining the Climate Action Corps and UN Fashion Charter, and individual ways. On the website, the company outlines some of their broad goals, stating that they are committing to reducing their carbon emissions, working toward a circular economy, growing peace to those in their community, and to improving working conditions. These goals are well-rounded and important, and I especially like their reference specifically to the circular economy since I don’t encounter that often on websites. However, these goals are fairly broad, and lack specific numbers to back them up and monitor direct progress. I would advise the company to add some numerical aspects to their goals, whether its a certain percent of carbon reduction by a given year, or a way to track their progress to a circular economy. However, it is clear that they have made a start and are working toward more emphasis on sustainability.
The company prides itself on its factory located in Canada, known as ARC’one, that allows them to monitor conditions and ensure that their materials are efficiently being used. However, much of the sourcing and production for Arc’teryx actually comes from outside of Canada and the United States, which impacts their carbon footprint and a bit of their credibility. They have 21 manufacturing centers globally and partner with centers that “share an ethos of problem-solving and technical prowess.” Their details on their actual working conditions are limited, though they share that they have stringent labour practices and set strict standards for production. Without evidence being put forth to support this, it is hard to judge whether or not it is an empty claim. They do have the goal of 80% of products to be Fair-Trade certified by 2025, which ensures that they are meeting standards of good working conditions and low environmental impact. I appreciate the numerical value they have put on this goal, and as I previously mentioned, it is an aspect they can incorporate into the rest of their sustainability plan as well.