Climate and the environment in our value chain
The global textile industry of which Bergans is a part makes a significant contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and, as a result, to global warming too. The industry simultaneously drives increased consumption and, as a result, increased waste quantities too. We are very aware that we are part of the problem and are therefore ready to take responsibility and be part of the solution.
Bergans works actively to reduce its emissions and reduce our negative impact on nature and the environment. We also provide services to extend the lifetime of our products.
Greenhouse gas emissions - evaluation, establishing goals, implementing initatives
Evaluating greenhouse gas emissions throughout our value chain is a complicated task, and reducing emissions at the manufacturing stage is not a task we can manage entirely on our own. That is why we joined STICA (see below), through which we are working with many other stakeholders in the textile industry to set scientifically based reduction targets and implement initiatives to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.
Bergans has evaluated its emissions using the GHG Protocol classification under Scopes 1, 2 and 3. Scopes 1 and 2 were evaluated for the first time in 2018. Scope 1 represents emissions from modes of transport and all buildings we have at our disposal (stores, warehouses, head office) and Scope 2, which consists of emissions from the energy that we use. We have already implemented many measures to reduce these emissions, for example by reducing and improving our vehicle fleet and investing in renewable energy. We purchase a Guarantee of Origin for both our Norwegian and German energy consumption from hydropower plants. We also moved our head office in 2020 to a new and more energy-efficient building in Asker, close to a public transport hub.
By far our largest climate footprint relates to Scope 3, which covers emissions from the manufacture of materials and products, as well as transport backwards in our value chain. We also evaluated these emissions for the first time in 2020 in close cooperation with STICA and the other textile stakeholders.
Bergans has set the following climate goals:
- 60% reduction in absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 for Scopes 1 and 2 with 2018 as the base year.
- 50% reduction in absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 for Scope 3 with 2020 as the base year.
We are stronger together
We know we will have a greater impact if we work together with others. This is why we have chosen to join STICA – The Swedish Textile Initiative for Climate Action. We are working actively together with other textile and fashion stakeholders based in the Nordic countries to create a more sustainable industry. The purpose of STICA is to support the textile and clothing industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.
The initiative provides a platform where we can work with other members and share and learn about best practices, new solutions and gain insight into climate-specific data and innovations.
Being part of STICA means we must continuously report our progress to ensure we are on the right track. The initiative holds us to account in delivering our climate pledges.
STICA will hold us to account by:
- Requiring us to report annually and publish our greenhouse gas emissions report and reductions publicly.
- Ensuring that we set scientifically based goals in line with the 1.5ºC approach
- Ensure that we constantly set new goals. As part of STICA, we are required to do more than our share before 2050.
Save the Seasons
The seasons are the very basis of our outdoor life. Perhaps winter means something extra special for us Norwegians. For many people, going skiing, freeriding or sledding with the kids is synonymous with quality of life. At the same time, the changing seasons are vital for our nature and ecosystems. Climate change is threatening the seasons, which in turn means animals, plants and humans risk losing their basis for life. The consequences of wiping out the seasons could potentially extend far beyond affecting skiing in the countryside.
WWF and Bergans believe that our outdoor life and many other activities relating to the changing seasons form part of our common cultural heritage. We therefore decided to campaign for the seasons to be declared worthy of protection. Through the “Save the Seasons” campaign, WWF and Bergans, along with over 10,000 people, urged the Norwegian authorities to seek to ensure that the seasons are included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Use of better materials
The materials we use in our products also impact on our overall carbon footprint. Our product developers are increasingly opting for more recycled materials such as recycled down, wool and polyester, which reduces the need for fossil and climate-intensive raw materials. We are also constantly on the lookout for new and innovative materials to replace raw materials with a large carbon footprint.
One example is our Spinnova product development partnership. Spinnova is a Finnish developer of innovative technology for the mechanical production of cellulose-based textile fiber. Technologies based on the development of textile fibers from cellulose using chemical processes have been in existence for some time. What makes Spinnova’s patented solution revolutionary is that it does not use harmful chemicals during the production process, it requires little energy and water and generates little residual waste. Furthermore, it is possible to recycle the products into new textile fibers using the same mechanical process and obtain the same high quality.
Use of better dyeing methods
The traditional dyeing of fabrics and materials requires a lot of water, energy and chemicals. This accounts for a high proportion of the carbon footprint of textile production. New technologies are continually being developed which can help to reduce this footprint. Bergans has begun using Spindye (solution dye) dyeing technology for dyeing the recycled polyester which is used in our Stranda ski collection.
Instead of dyeing the finished fabric, the dyeing process is started at a much earlier stage. The recycled plastic pellets are dyed before being spun into thread and fabric. This is a bit like the way in which hard plastic is dyed (the plastic is dyed before it is turned into a product). In this way, we save 75% of the water and 90% of the chemicals. At the same time, the color is stronger and does not fade because the fabric is dyed all the way through.
This technology is still a bit more cost-intensive than traditional dyeing, and is not quite as widely available. This also requires us to select the dye at a very early stage in the process, which can be a risk with regard to product sales.
We occasionally also investigate the potential for carbon offsetting in areas where we are unable to cut emissions. For example, we used carbon offsetting for our Rabot 365 collection in 2019. Although these garments are made from recycled polyester, polyamide and down, use recycled packaging and are transported by boat, some impact on the environment and climate is unavoidable. We therefore calculated the emissions for this collection and chose to carbon offset the emissions we could not cut, with the money going to support a biogas facility in Suzhou in China. We have at present chosen not to continue with carbon offsetting.
A long life reduces the carbon footprint
The longer a product lasts, the smaller the overall environmental burden of the product. We therefore make high-quality products which are designed for a long and active life. We also design our products so that they can be repaired. We are also enabling customers to continue using products for as long as possible by offering services such as repairs, redesigns, used sales, rentals and subscriptions.
Our garments are technically advanced and have to meet stringent functional requirements. Chemicals are essential for the manufacture of these high-technology materials, but we must also maintain control over the chemicals that are used in the manufacture and aftercare of our products. We work actively to avoid the use of harmful chemicals, for the sake of the environment, employees, suppliers and the health and safety of our customers. We are also taking part in various research projects and other initiatives to help continually improve the handling of chemicals and overcome problems relating to microfiber emissions, e.g. TMC.
We are proud that Bergans meets the industry requirements for the Eco-Lighthouse certification scheme and is officially recognized as an Eco-Lighthouse (Miljøfyrtårnet) company.
Eco-Lighthouse is a Norwegian certification scheme that places specific demands on our environmental work and environmental management. This provides us with specific and quantifiable measures. As an Eco-Lighthouse-approved company, we meet the requirements relating to working environment, energy consumption, procurement and material consumption, waste management, transport, and greenhouse gas emissions. Bergans is approved by a public certification authority every three years. This scheme is supported and recommended by the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment.
From 2022, Bergans will be certified under the “Head office model”, and will continue the certification of its own stores in future.
Bike friendly workplace
Making it easier for employees to choose an active travel route to and from work is more important than ever. The Bike Friendly Workplace scheme provides us with guidance and advice on how best to encourage more people to cycle to work. We also conduct an annual travel survey among our employees. The Bergans head office in Asker was certified as a “Bike Friendly Workplace” in 2022.
The primary role of packaging is to protect and preserve products until they reach you as a customer. Inadequate packaging where products are damaged places a great burden on the environment. We are also working to reduce the packaging we use wherever possible, to reuse packaging and to find more sustainable packaging materials.
Bergans is a member of Green Dot Norway (Grønt Punkt Norge) and the Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund, and participates in major pilot projects to reduce the use of plastic packaging together with the European Outdoor Group.
Collaboration – sustainability is not a competition
In order to solve the climate crisis, everyone must pull together. This includes government agencies, national and international organizations, consumers and businesses. Sustainability isn’t a competition; reaching the goal alone first isn’t the point. We face such major challenges that we must look around us and work together and get everyone on board towards achieving the same goal. It is not without good reason that one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals is cooperation.
Here are some of the networks and initiatives Bergans participates in together with other stakeholders to cooperate on sustainability measures:
- STICA - The Swedish Textile Initiative on Climate Action
- SOG - Scandinavian Outdoor Group
- EOG - European Outdoor Group
- Næring for Klima (Oslo Kommune)
- Etisk Handel Norge
- Movement for Sustainable Textiles / Tekstilaksjonen
- Sirkulære tekstiler (NF&TA)
- Grønt Punkt Norge
- The Eco-lighthouse
- TMC - The Microfibre Consortium