Sustainability Credentials Explained

We’re passionate about protecting the outdoors we love, and part of our ongoing commitment to making a positive change for the planet is to champion the sustainable products on offer from the brands we work with. 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 – happy sustainable shopping!



You’re most likely to see “organic” on fabrics like cotton, because it’s to do with how the plants are grown. Organic means that it’s been grown from non-GM plants, and without synthetic agricultural chemicals like fertilisers or pesticides, apart from those specified by the certifying body. That means that fewer harmful chemicals were put into the air, soil and surrounding water, and the risk to local biodiversity is massively reduced.

Recycled/Recycled Down

This means that the product is made at least partially from recycled materials, i.e. ones that otherwise would have gone to landfill. Often, individual product pages will specify which materials or amounts have been recycled, so be sure to check this out if you want to know more.


Cotton and similar fibres are age-old favourites when it comes to making clothing, but often, unsustainable methods are used to farm them to keep up with global demand. This results in erosion of the soil’s health and fertility, meaning that more land is needed to farm the same volume of fibres as time goes on. Hemp is a sustainable alternative because it uses far less water than conventional cotton to yield much more fibre and makes garments that are just as soft next to skin as the cotton we’re used to.


Bluesign® is more all-encompassing when it comes to sustainability criteria, but put simply, it’s a holistic system that helps brands to implement sustainable processing and manufacturing. Bluesign® certification relies on a brand or product to continuously meet the strict criteria, which encompasses acting responsibly with regard to people, the environment and resources. So if a product is Bluesign® approved, you know it’s been manufactured with social and environmental responsibility firmly in mind.


Fairtrade is all about good working conditions, fair prices for farmers around the world and protecting the local environment. Buying Fairtrade helps to ensure that the farmers who helped to produce it have a better standard of living, better financial stability and more incentive to farm using eco-friendly methods.



When a garment is traceable, it means that the brand can identify every step of its journey from raw materials to finished product. That makes it easier to assess suppliers against sustainability criteria - and assess the “air miles” that go into making a product.


Vegan in the context of outdoor kit means the same as it does with food – no animal products are used! That includes the obvious ones like real leather, as well as the lesser-known animal products like the ones sometimes used in footwear glue. 


Growing bamboo absorbs between two and five times the CO2 that’s absorbed growing hardwood trees, and it can thrive on very little water and no pesticides. It can also be grown in areas across the world (not just Asia!), so the emissions from transporting it are massively reduced compared to more scarce resources. Not just that, though – in use, clothing and utensils made from bamboo are known for being hardwearing, which naturally means they’ll need replacing far less often. 


Oeko-tex® is a trademark representing the certifications provided by the International Association for Research and Testing in the Field of Textile and Leather Ecology. It consists of 18 institutes across Europe and Japan, with the aim of developing standards for the textile and leather industry that ensure quality products and, where possible, sustainable production methods. These certifications cover a range of sustainability issues, for example, Oeko-tex® Standard 100 signifies that the textiles have been tested for harmful substances, while Oeko-tex® Leather Standard does the same for leather products. You can find out what individual Oeko-tex® marks mean, but overall an Oeko-tex® certified product means that it’s produced with high quality and human and environmental health in mind.

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