Making Adventures More Sustainable:
Discover How Our In-Store Experts Are Minimising Their Impact
Our in-store experts live and breathe the outdoors and love nothing more than sharing their passion and experience with customers. But they also know that they have a responsibility as individuals and as experts to do what they can to protect our environment and encourage others to take action.
Below we catch up with Begonia, Mark, Charlie and Jon to find out what sustainability means to them, what changes they are making in their own lives and how they’re helping customers become more sustainable too.
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What does sustainability mean to you?
Begonia: Sustainability is very important to me and everybody right now. Times are changing. We can’t continue as we have, and I think educating young people about sustainability is the best way to change this. Maybe if we'd been educated more about the environment in the past, things would be different right now.
Charlie: Sustainability to me is about simply protecting the earth. The concept is a massive part of my life. It’s something I've grown up with, whether it’s recycling or not wasting water. The smallest changes make a difference, so it’s just encouraging other people to make those small changes.
Mark: Sustainability is a key focus for everyone these days and looking after our planet. Reducing the resources we use is essential, but for me, that doesn’t mean not having the equipment that I need to spend time outside. It means buying the right gear, looking after it and making it last.
Jon: I think sustainability really is about us and the part that we play to ensure that the landscape is there for future generations.
What are the most pressing environmental issues for you personally?
Mark: I think the most pressing issue is understanding our environmental impact and how to reduce it. Everything we buy has some environmental impact, and we must try to understand how we can reduce it. That’s why the most important thing for me is to try to be as efficient as possible with the equipment that I own and the resources that I consume.
Jon: I guess it’s ensuring that people appreciate their surroundings and understand that wherever you go, you need to leave it how you found it. You should always take your rubbish away with you and respect the outdoors so that everyone can enjoy it.
Begonia: For me, it’s rubbish. We litter too much, and that has a serious impact on our daily lives. It contaminates the water and puts wildlife at risk.
Charlie: Single-use plastics and food waste are the biggest issues - I can’t justify them in any circumstances.
Have you tried to make any changes to your life to be more sustainable?
Charlie: I try to buy stuff with little or no packaging and recycle as much as possible. The use of packaging annoys me because a lot of the time, it’s not necessary. All we’re doing is filling landfill and making the problem bigger.
With food waste, I only buy stuff I need, so I don't end up throwing stuff away. If I buy it, I must eat it.
I’ve also given up buying brand new clothes for a year as a personal challenge. It’s made me realise, I don’t miss buying things I don’t need. Going and buying something second-hand or recycled has changed my perspective; I look at things and think ‘do I need it, or do I just want it?’. If I do need it, then I think about whether there's a more sustainable or environmentally friendly option.
Mark: I’ve started to think more about the food I eat, the products I buy, the materials and the energy used to produce those. And ultimately, what can be recycled and what ends up in landfill.
Begonia: When running, I noticed a build-up of litter on a local trail, so I decided to take a bag with me to start tackling the problem.
I think picking up litter makes you more conscious of our over-consumption. We’re creating a lot of rubbish because we buy too much! We need to stop this concept of being big consumers and be better consumers. For example, instead of buying a bottle of water and throwing the bottle away, invest in a reusable bottle and reduce your waste.
Jon: The usual things like recycling are important to me, but I also think about sustainability when buying products. Things like how products are made, but also their longevity so you're not replacing it within a few months.
Do you find that customers coming into stores are interested in sustainability?
Begonia: Customers are interested in sustainability. I think people are starting to ask questions about what happens to my equipment or my kit after a lifetime? They like the idea that materials can get recycled and reused through our Recycle My Gear scheme.
I feel I have a responsibility to answer their questions and pass on the message about the sustainability of products.
Charlie: We’re seeing a growth in the number of customers interested in sustainability. Many will ask whether products are made from recycled materials or how environmentally friendly or sustainable they are. It makes me happy to know that people are trying to make changes and choose products that are right for them and not as damaging to the planet.
Jon: Yeah a lot more so, we're getting more questions around sustainability and more people coming into store looking for certain brands and products that are more sustainable. It's also great to see that with certain brands the sustainability message is definitely getting stronger.
Mark: I think it’s great to come across more customers interested in the sustainability of a product, whether it’s recycled materials, the method of manufacture or the energy usage.
How do you help customers make better and more sustainable choices?
Begonia: Helping customers make better choices is about giving as much information as we can. We have to stay up to date with what the brands are doing to become more sustainable and pass that knowledge on to our customers.
Mark: In-store and online, we’re highlighting brands and products which are either recycled or use more efficient methods of manufacture and are recyclable at the end of their life through the Our Planet range.
Charlie: I always encourage customers to buy the most sustainable option. Something that will last and not leak or fall apart within six months. Something that will take them out on many adventures and not fail on them.
Provided it’s the right product for them, there’s no reason not to buy a sustainable choice. It’s so easy when the product is there, why would you choose something that is going to be more damaging?
Jon: When customers come into store, it’s our duty to get to know what they're looking for and then give them options within our range so that they go away with the right product.
Why is investing in the right kit better for the environment?
Jon: Finding the right product and sustainability go hand in hand because the kit needs to be able to meet customers’ needs so that they don’t end up replacing it sooner than necessary. I think it’s good that customers come and speak to the in-store experts because we’ve got product knowledge, we’ve been trained and can pass on that information to them to help choose the right product for them. We can also talk to them about aftercare to ensure the longevity of a product.
Begonia: Investing in the right kit is important because it will last you longer. When you buy cheap, you buy ten times. You’ll have more adventures in the right kit, and it’s more sustainable.
Charlie: Investing in the kit that meets the criteria you’re after is so important. If the product’s not right for you, if it doesn’t fit you, it might fall apart, or break prematurely and you’re less likely to use it or are unlikely to look after it.
Making the right choice will save you from having to purchase multiple items until you find the right combination, but it also gives you a much more positive experience outdoors if the item doesn’t fail. You can enjoy yourself more because you’re not thinking about whether you’re getting wet because your jacket’s leaked or getting blisters because your shoes don’t fit.
But, in all honesty, outdoor kit is expensive, so I view it as an investment and learn how to look after it to make it last, then it doesn’t seem as expensive anymore.
Mark: We’ve seen a significant public backlash against fast-fashion and the wasteful side of commercial retail. The equipment that we sell is relatively expensive, but making the right choice, purchasing the right product that will last for many years will reduce the overall cost of that product.
By encouraging people to purchase the right product which fulfils their needs and ensuring that they understand how to look after that product and extend the life of that product, we can then also help them reduce the overall environmental impact of that item.
Why do you think it’s important to act now?
Begonia: Right now, we have a huge problem. Households are throwing out a lot of rubbish, not just a bottle of water but clothing, and footwear too, and it’s impacting our environment so we have to act now.
Charlie: If we don’t make changes to our lifestyles, it’s going to be too late.
As a child, I didn’t appreciate the scale of the issues that we’re facing, and now that I’m seeing the changes in the temperature, for example, it’s made me realise that we have to act. We’ve got to keep making changes in our lifestyles and doing whatever we can to protect what we have outside.
Jon: I think it’s important to act now because we need to protect the landscape and our planet going forward.
Mark: I think we no longer have a choice - if we want to protect our environment, we have to act now.
Do you feel hopeful for the future of the outdoors?
Charlie: I feel hopeful that if we all keep making these little changes to help the environment, we’ll have a future to look forward to.
Mark: I think most of us are at the beginning of a journey and are starting to fully appreciate and understand the effect our lifestyle choices and our purchase choices have on the environment. It’s great to see so many more people being more positive about that.
5 Tips For Exploring More Sustainably
1. Explore what's around you
Getting outdoors doesn’t have to mean travelling to a National Park or well-known beauty spot, as there are lots of opportunities to get into nature right on our doorstep. By exploring more of what’s around us, we can reduce our travel and lower our overall carbon footprint.
2. Travel responsibly
When you want to travel further afield, you could try using a more environmentally form of travel, whether that’s taking the train instead of the car or using the local bus service once you’ve arrived at your destination. You could also consider offsetting your carbon emissions for longer journeys or flights.
3. Leave no trace
When exploring outside, make sure you leave no trace. This not only means taking home any litter, but it also means respecting footpaths and sticking to them to reduce your impact on the natural landscape.
4. Buy quality
Having the right kit can help you make the most of your time outside, but we all know that buying lots of items can have a negative effect on the environment. So to reduce your impact try to invest in quality kit that is right for your activities and will last you for many years.
5. Look after your kit
Once you have the right kit, you must look after it to keep it performing at its best for years to come.
To help our customers shop with the environment in mind, we’ve introduced sustainability filters to our website – but with so many on the list, we know it can be hard to know what it all means. This sustainability credentials jargon buster is here to solve all your woes!
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