Animal welfare – RDS and RWS
Every time we use raw materials from animals, animal welfare is central to us. This is also regulated through our Code of Conduct (CoC), to which all our suppliers commit.
More sustainable products
We work to use and develop increasingly sustainable materials. We ensure responsible use of natural resources, animal welfare and innovation in our design processes.
The considerations we make when choosing materials for our products are decisive for the product's environmental impact. Our products contain raw materials, both natural and synthetic, all of which have an environmental impact in production and transformation from raw material to finished product.
It is in the design phase of our products that we can really make a difference. One of the most important factors is that we develop high-quality products that have a long life. The choices behind various materials are many and we always strive to keep up to date on which choices are best for the environment, and which new, innovative materials we can test. We avoid the use of harmful chemicals by prioritizing bluesign® approved materials and suppliers and we are constantly on the lookout for new innovative and more sustainable materials.
Our garments are technically advanced with high functional requirements. We must have control over the chemicals used in the production and in the finishing of our products. We work actively to avoid the use of harmful chemicals, both for the environment, employees, suppliers and for our customers' health and safety.
Chemicals are a prerequisite for getting waterproof, windproof, light and functional garments. In textile production, chemicals are also used in processes such as dyeing, printing and washing. Chemicals are a complex area, and we work to avoid the use of harmful chemicals by choosing bluesign® approved materials and suppliers.
By being part of the bluesign® system, we can safely choose safe substances and suppliers who take chemical handling seriously. The bluesign® system is based on a so-called "Input Stream Management", which means that it is not only about the final product, but sets strict requirements and restrictions for any use of chemicals, thus removing harmful chemicals, right from where the production process starts.
bluesign® sets both a positive list and a negative list for all the chemicals involved, which applies to all partners involved in the entire production process. This results in our Restricted Substances List (RSL, see below) which applies to all our products and suppliers.
Harmful chemicals, for the environment, workers or end users, are prohibited or strict requirements are set. And of course bluesign® helps us to at least comply with, but much more often exceed, the laws and regulations applicable at any given time for the use of chemicals in all the different markets in which we operate.
We must have control over the chemicals used in the production and in the finishing of our products. We have an extensive list of chemicals that we do not allow suppliers to use in the production of our products and which we update annually. We follow national and international legislation, as well as the latest research in our endeavor to check that there are no harmful chemicals in our products. In addition, we carry out testing so that we can get confirmation that our chemical requirements are complied with.
One of the most important things we do to reduce our impact on the environment is to have a constant focus on developing high-quality products with a long lifespan. The longer a product's lifetime, the smaller its total environmental impact.
To handle the complex challenges surrounding chemicals, Bergans makes use of the so-called Kjemikaliegruppen's knowledge and resources. The Kjemikaliegruppen is a Swedish grouping within the RISE research group that works to convey legal requirements and relevant information to its 100 member companies within, among other things, the textile industry. Access to information about issues related to chemicals and the environment is a prerequisite for us to be able to make demands on our suppliers again, and for us to have the opportunity to stay ahead of legal requirements.
Bergans makes use of the Chemical Group's knowledge and resources to handle the complex challenges surrounding chemicals.
The Kjemikaliegruppen is a Swedish grouping within Swerea IVF that works to convey legal requirements and relevant information to its 100 member companies within, among other things, the textile industry. Bergans makes use of the Chemical Group's knowledge and resources to handle the complex challenges surrounding chemicals.
Access to information about issues related to chemicals and the environment is a prerequisite for us to be able to make demands on our suppliers again, and for us to have the opportunity to stay ahead of legal requirements.
Here we also meet other players in the textile industry who work with the same challenges as us on a daily basis, and we can share experiences and tools.
Every time we use raw materials from animals, animal welfare is central to us. This is also regulated through our Code of Conduct (CoC), to which all our suppliers commit.
In Bergans, we live by and for nature and are familiar with the negative effects the use of PFAS chemicals has on people and the environment. Although we realize that it will affect the function of some of our products, we fully support the planned ban on such substances. Our goal is to be 100% free of PFAS substances by 2025 at the latest. We work every day to find suitable substitutes.
If you want to know more about what PFAS are and why these substances are dangerous, you can scroll down to the last part of this article.
IMPORTANT: It is not dangerous to use Bergans products that contain PFAS.
There is no danger for people to use and surround themselves with products containing PFAS. The problem is the high concentrations of PFAS that over time accumulate in nature on a global level, and which then pass into our food chain.
We would like to emphasize that all manufactured garments with PFAS should be in use and be useful for as long as possible, in accordance with our Long Life Product philosophy.
PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkylated substances) is a group of more than 5,000 substances, which are also called fluorocarbons. These build up in nature because they cannot be broken down naturally. In larger concentrations, they have been shown to pose a danger to both human health and the environment.
Waterproof products are made from fabrics that have a membrane laminated on the inside. The membrane is waterproof, yet breathable. To give the fabric additional resistance to moisture and water, the outer side is given an impregnating treatment that makes the outer fabric water-repellent, a so-called Durable Water Repellency treatment, often abbreviated to DWR. It is this treatment that contains PFAS substances.
When we work with the phasing out of PFAS, we are therefore particularly concerned with the waterproof products, or shell products as we call them. The PFAS-free alternatives that exist today also make materials water-repellent, but the function is naturally not as effective. The perceived water-repellent function of the outer fabric will therefore not be as strong and visible. For example, you will not see the water beading and running off the fabric in the same way as before. The PFAS-free impregnation is also not as durable. The function therefore deteriorates more quickly. This is the reason why we no longer refer to the PFAS-free treatments as DWR (Durable Water Repellency), but only as WR (Water repellency). NB: The membrane in the garment is as waterproof as before. It is important to clarify that we are talking here about the water-repellent ability of the outer fabric.
Most of these products, so-called softshell products, are already PFAS-free. The water repellency of these materials will also decrease as the product is used. If necessary, they can easily be re-impregnated using a washing impregnation (see below).
All waterproof garments come fully impregnated from the factory, but even on brand new and unused garments with PFAS-free impregnation, the water will not bead up and bounce off like before. Because PFAS-free impregnation is less durable, the need for re-impregnation will increase. The frequency of this will vary depending on how much the garment is used and washed, and your need for water-repellent ability.
Chemicals containing PFAS are used, among other things in a treatment that makes the surface of textiles water-repellent. The treatment is called DWR treatment (Durable Water Repellent) and means that water bounces off the surface instead of being absorbed by the textile and makes it wet. This has been an effective treatment to achieve a durable water-repellent function for waterproof materials, but also in a number of other products such as ski lubrication and food packaging.
Because these chemicals have been shown to be harmful to both people and the environment, Bergans is working to phase out all materials with PFAS, and replace them with more environmentally friendly, PFAS-free treatments. A significant part of the challenge lies precisely in the reduced durability of these water-repellent solutions.
The outer layer (= outer material) receives a water-repellent treatment. This is the first treatment, and it is carried out by the supplier of the material. The function of this treatment is to ensure that the outer material repels water, so-called water repellency.
The membrane is an additional layer that is laminated on the inside of the outer fabric, and thus lies between the outer material and an inner material (for 3-layer materials). A membrane has two functions:
Ensure that raindrops from the outside do not penetrate to the inside (=waterproof) Ensure that sweat (=moisture) is pushed from the inside of the garment to the outside (=breathable)
During the development of our new ski collection, Stranda, we have taken pride in finding the optimal balance between production technique, technical performance and durability. The result is Stranda, our most sustainable ski collection ever, developed in collaboration with We aRe SpinDye®.
By combining the cleaner and more sustainable dyeing method SpinDye® with our long experience in functional clothing, we believe we have found the optimal balance between technical performance and raw quality.
All the fabrics from We aRe SpinDye® are woven or knitted from the same thread. This thread is spun from polyester from recycled plastic bottles, and dyed in a way that significantly reduces the use of water, chemicals and energy. These products therefore have a smaller carbon footprint than products dyed in the conventional way. The coloring method also gives the end products a unique ability to withstand wear and tear, washing and UV radiation.
Read more at SpinDye.com
The choices behind various materials are many and we always strive to keep up to date on which choices are best for the environment, and which new, innovative materials are available. We make strict demands that the materials we use are produced in a responsible and sustainable way.
Overview of detailed material descriptions
We take the problems the cotton industry represents very seriously, and use organic cotton in several of our products. Organic cotton is grown without the use of dangerous chemicals, chemical pesticides or artificial fertilizers. To guarantee that it is organic cotton we buy in, we require our suppliers to show approved certificates from the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
Animal welfare is an important part of our responsibility. An absolute requirement from us is that all wool we use in our products must be non-mulesing. This requirement is met by requiring certificates that accompany each and every delivery of wool we buy. We are currently working on implementing the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) as an even stronger guarantee that animal welfare is ensured throughout the value chain.
We also use recycled wool in parts of our collection. Wool comes from used textiles or residues from other textile production. The production of new wool requires the use of water, energy and chemicals in the processes from when the sheep are sheared until we have finished textiles. By recycling wool, we reduce the environmental impact.
All the down we use in our products is either recycled or 100% certified according to the Responsible Down Standard (RDS). This standard guarantees animal welfare throughout the value chain and excludes suppliers who pluck feathers from live geese and/or engage in force-feeding. All certified partners, including Bergans, are checked and re-certified every year. This guarantees both you and us high quality and pure down that is ethically produced.
We use recycled materials of various kinds in several of our products. With this food, we can save valuable resources by reusing the same raw materials.
Among other things, we use Repreve® in several of our t-shirts and trousers. Repreve® is recycled polyester made from recycled plastic bottles. In several of our quilted garments, we use PrimaLoft® Silver Insulation Eco, which is an insulation material made from recycled materials. We also use recycled wool and recycled down from Re:Down in a number of our products. We are constantly working to find more recycled material not only for the main material, but also for buttons and other parts of the garment.
In 2016, together with our partner Toray, we launched products made from ecodear®, a partially plant-based polyester. Polyester is usually made from 100% crude oil. Toray ecodear® polyester is 30% plant-based. Fossil raw material has been replaced with plant-based material, without affecting performance or the ability to recycle. The raw material is extracted from waste molasses – a by-product of sugar production. It is a more environmentally friendly product, which can be recycled, and which helps to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and to preserve fossil oil.
It is in the design phase of our products that we can really make a difference. One of the most important factors is that we develop high-quality products that have a long life.
No material becomes part of a Bergans product until it meets our strict quality requirements. We expect the materials to be solid enough to withstand a long product life. And the longer a product is in use, the more it saves the environment. That is why it is important to set high standards for quality and control these, which we do in our own laboratory, among other things.
In our test lab, all materials undergo extensive testing. Our test instruments measure, among other things, tear strength, wind penetration, water column, wear and tear. By using a spray test, the water-repellent ability is assessed, and we measure moisture transport on all materials. In addition, we also test at external independent laboratories.
State-of-the-art materials and technology do not make good products alone. Bergans is known for its good fit and high quality. In order to meet these expectations, we have to test the products in practice. We do this ourselves, and we also have a wide range of product testers and partners for field testing, including the members of Team Bergans. These are discerning extreme users who know what they want and what is required of a product.
Team Bergans members are often involved in the development process of the products within their category, and provide input and requirements on what is required of a product. The product testers use the product in turn, and give us valuable feedback on what works and what should be changed. We do re-tests until all details are in place and the products can be decorated with the Bergans logo.
The longer a product is in use, the more it saves for the environment. That is why we aim to do everything we can to extend the life of our products. Long live the product, as we call it. Many garments, rucksacks or other equipment with minor damage or faults can be easily repaired to still enable further use and thus extend their lifespan. Bergans has a large investment in repairs (link). At the same time, it is already in the design phase that we can arrange for it to be easier to repair these products when it is necessary.
Technical functional clothing is often very advanced in how it is constructed and how it is produced. If any repairs, such as replacing the zip at a later date, are already "planned" in the design phase, it will be easier to carry out this repair later, since it will be less work to do it. It saves working time, costs and material and contributes to more products being repaired instead of being replaced with an equivalent new product. Long live the product! Another example is the use of replaceable parts at the places that most often wear out first, such as the collar of a children's jacket that gets chewed on or on the inside of ski trousers.
Last, but not least, it is also the visual expression of a product that can help to extend its lifespan: By ditching short-term trends and instead investing in timeless and classic colours, as well as by being able to combine many products, colors and styles, there is universal and timeless products, which live a long time without appearing outdated. And ultimately it is our responsibility to find the best, most sustainable and solid material for any product and depending on its function, in order to first enable a long product life.
Long live the product!