EcoSki Glossary of terms
Our belief at EcoSki is that as consumers, we may not be perfect but we can do the best we can to make conscious choices, and that means informed choices. In this time of increasing climate change awareness, many companies are working towards meeting customer demand for more ‘planet friendly’ products. This has spawned a wide range of materials, terms, labels and logos – but what do they all mean? Below is our own interpretation of a few. The list is certainly not exhaustive, it will be added to as and when. As always, we welcome any feedback or comments.
With the mission statement ‘Trade with Purpose’, Amfori BSCi is the leading global business association for open and sustainable trade. It brings together over 2,400 retailers, importers, brands and associations from more than 40 countries, including outdoor and skiwear brand Protest. Amfori BSCi’s mission is to enable each of its members to enhance human prosperity, use natural resources responsibly and drive open trade globally.
Bluesign™ is a standard for environmental health and safety in the manufacturing of textiles, and garments bearing the sign are made from the most environmentally friendly, socially conscious fabric available. The Switzerland-based organization, officially known as Bluesign Technologies AG was founded to partner with manufacturers to make a textile product with the lowest possible environmental burden, resource-improving production as well as augmented safety for workers and consumers. It provides independent auditing of textile mills, examining manufacturing processes from raw materials and energy inputs to water and air emissions outputs. Bluesign suggests ways to reduce consumption while recommending alternatives to harmful chemicals or processes where applicable. Patagonia was the first company to partner with Bluesign, and most of the brands at EcoSki are Bluesign accredited or use Bluesign accredited materials.
bioRe® is an organic cotton brand developed by the bioRe® Foundation, which promotes organic farming, fair trading, and non-toxic textile production. Besides preserving natural resources, the Foundation conducts participatory cotton seed research to develop non-GMO organic cotton cultivars. As the exclusive licensee of bioRe®, Remei AG gives bioRe® cotton farmers a purchase guarantee and pays a 15 percent premium for their efforts in organic production. Remei-produced textiles are CO2-neutral. It is used in Mammut’s casanna range.
Fairtrade is an independent, non-profit organisation that works to connect disadvantaged farmers and workers with consumers, promote fairer trading conditions and empower farmers and workers to combat poverty, strengthen their position and take more control over their lives. It is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. The fair trade label means that the product was created in a place where the workers are given better wages.
Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) is a non-profit organisation that works with garment brands, factories, trade unions, NGOs and governments to improve working conditions for garment workers in 11 production countries across Asia, Europe and Africa.
The NSF™ Global Traceable Down Standard (Global TDS) ensures that down in apparel, household, and commercial products comes from a responsible source that respects animal welfare and can be fully and transparently traced. Originally developed by outdoor brand Patagonia, the standard is now managed by NSF International (National Sanitation Foundation), an American product testing, inspection and certification organisation.
The Global Recycled Standard (GRS) is an international, voluntary, full product standard that sets requirements for third-party certification of Recycled Content, chain of custody, social and environmental practices, and chemical restrictions. The goal of the GRS is to increase use of Recycled materials in products and reduce/eliminate the harm caused by its production. It provides assurance that materials in the final product are actually Recycled and processed more sustainably. The Global Recycled Standard is intended for use with any product that contains at least 20% Recycled Material.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change.
Microscopic pieces of plastic that are released every time our synthetic clothes are put in the washing machine. Each time we run our machine, hundreds of thousands of microfibres are flushed down the drain. Many reach oceans and beaches where they can remain for hundreds of years. They are also swallowed by fish and other sea life then travel up the food chain and end up on our plates. It is estimated by the IUCN Report that up to 31% of marine plastic pollution comes from tiny particles released from households and industrial products as opposed to larger plastic items that degrade once they reach the sea. Of this they estimate 35% comes from washing synthetic textiles.
Naturetexx Plasma is a technology for easy-care merino used by brands such as Point 6. Powered by renewable energy8, with air and electricity as its raw materials, it is the ecological alternative to chlorine-based chemical treatments for wool to make it machine washable.
Organic Cotton Accelerator is a global platform committed to bringing integrity, supply security and measurable social and environmental impact to organic cotton. Organic Cotton Accelerator is the only multi-stakeholder organisation fully dedicated to organic cotton. See also Cotton / Organic Cotton.
Based upon the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS), which is a voluntary standard that addresses the welfare of sheep and the land they graze on, the OWP takes an even more extensive approach. The regular OWP audits focus upon animal welfare, farm and land management, and slaughter and transport. More than 60 indicators are checked regularly on the farms by a certified, independent auditor. These include a ban on mulesing, which is the practice of removing parts of a sheep’s skin from its tail area to prevent flystrike.
PFC is an abbreviation for two related sets of chemicals, perfluorinated chemicals and polyfluorinated chemicals. They include hundreds of substances which are great at repelling water, dirt and oil, making them ideal for durable water-repellent finishes (DWR) on outdoor clothing. However, released into the air during manufacturing and during their use, PFCs can be harmful to humans and the environment. PFCs are not natural and they break down very slowly, making it easy for their concentration to build up over time in our bodies, in rivers, the soil, and the snow. PFC waterproofing technologies are available or are in development. GoreTex have introduced their own PFC free version and their goal is to be 100% PFC free by 2023. Teflon EcoElite™, used by skiwear brand Picture is another fabulous alternative. Being PFC free was our initial bottom line requirement. We do however still include one range with PFC’s. Please read their DWR article here. We hugely admire and respect Patagonia’s transparency and we fully support them on their mission to find an alternative they are confident will be just as durable and efficient.
REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals). Implemented in 2007, it is an EU legislation designed to protect consumers, wildlife and the environment against the use of hazardous chemicals. Textile (and all other) manufacturers must comply with this legislation to be able to import and sell products within the EU.
According to ChemTrust, a charity that aims to ensure that chemicals which cause harm to humans or the environment are substituted with safer alternatives, identifies two particularly important issues outstanding in REACH: 1) how hormone disrupting chemicals are treated under the authorisation procedure and 2) the agreement of criteria for a chemical to be considered to have endocrine disrupting properties. ChemTrust also states that “REACH also does not adequately deal with the potential mixture effect, whereby several substances which act on the same target organs may add together to cause effects, even when each substance by itself is below the level expected to show effects.
The Responsible Down Standard ensures that down and feathers come from ducks and geese that have been treated well. This means enabling them to live healthy lives, express innate behaviours, and not suffer from pain, fear or distress. The standard also follows the chain of custody from farm to product, so consumers can be confident that the down and feathers in the products they choose are truly RDS. The Responsible Down Standard is an independent, voluntary global standard, which means that companies can choose to certify their products to the RDS.
The Responsible Wool Standard is a voluntary standard that addresses the welfare of sheep and the land they graze on. The goals of the Responsible Wool Standard are to provide the industry with a tool to recognise the best practices of farmers; ensuring that wool comes from farms that have a progressive approach to managing their land, practice holistic respect for animal welfare of the sheep and respect the Five Freedoms of animal welfare.
Regenerative Organic Farming methods aim to build healthy soil which helps draw carbon back into the ground. It is championed by brands such as Patagonia. Conventional agriculture using industrial techniques contributes up to 25% of the emissions driving the climate crisis. Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC) is a certification for food, fibre, and personal care ingredients. ROC farms and products meet the highest standards for soil health, animal welfare, and farmworker fairness.
REPREVE is a fibre made from recycled materials (including plastic bottles), not only reducing the amount of plastic going into landfill but also emitting fewer greenhouse gases and conserving water and energy in the process. It is used by leading global brands to make athletic and fashion apparel and more. It offers properties like wicking, adaptive warming and cooling, water repellency, and more at the fibre level.
Recyclable means ‘able to be recycled’. It is important to check the label, as often parts but not all of a product or packaging are recyclable. In addition, local recycling facilities vary.
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition's vision is of an apparel, footwear, and textiles industry that produces no unnecessary environmental harm and has a positive impact on the people and communities associated with its activities.
It has developed a suite of tools called The Higg Index that enables brands, retailers, and facilities of all sizes — at every stage in their sustainability journey — to accurately measure and score a company or product’s social or environmental sustainability performance.
Du Pont Sorona is a fabric derived from sugarcane and used in clothing and carpets. DuPont’s Bio-PDO compound turns a formerly chemical process into an eco-efficient biological one, with significantly lower energy use (30-40%) and greenhouse gas emissions (56-63%) than nylon production. At present, 37% of the polymer is made using annually renewable plant-based ingredients.
Schoeller Textil AG specialises in the sustainable development and production of innovative textiles and textile technologies, used, for example, by outdoor and skiwear brand Amundsen. A BlueSign-accredited company, one example of its product is schoeller®-ecodye, a specially developed auxiliary concept for polyester (PES) dyeing processes which uses less time, less water, and less energy.
Sustainability means ‘Avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.’ It also means not producing anything that the planet can’t naturally reabsorb. This means using natural materials, renewable energy and plastic-free packaging, and many skiwear and clothing brands are already delivering products that meet some or all of these standards. All the brands at EcoSki have been selected because they are not only reputable, fashionable and of the highest performance, but they also care about their environmental and social impact.
With the textile industry being the second biggest polluter in the world, every step towards sustainability is essential. The industry faces four main challenges: water consumption and contamination (in the production and washing of clothing); energy emissions (in the production of synthetic fabrics, for example, and in consumer clothes care); chemical usage (fertilisers and pesticides used in the production of raw materials like cotton); and waste creation (the levels of textiles that are incinerated or sent to landfill are enormous).
Set by the UN (United Nations), the Sustainable Development Goals or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked goals designed to be a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”.
Lyocell is a type of Tencel and is arguably the most eco-friendly type of rayon. It’s a fibre extracted from sustainably grown eucalyptus using a unique closed-loop system which recovers and reuses the solvents used, minimising the environmental impact of production. It is gentle against the skin and efficient at moisture-wicking, making it ideal for underwear and baselayers.
Textile Exchange is a global non-profit organisation which aims to minimise the harmful impacts of the global textile industry and maximise its positive effects by inspiring and equipping people to accelerate sustainable practices in the textile value chain. Working closely with all sectors of the textile supply network, Textile Exchange identifies and shares best practices regarding farming, materials, processing, traceability, and product end-of-life in order to create positive impacts on water, soil, air, animals, and the human population created around the world by the textile industry. Members include 210 companies and organisations from more than 25 countries. It is also a useful resource for consumers looking to find out more about sustainable fabrics.
Teflon EcoElite™ is the world’s first plant-based textile repellent, used by brands such as Picture for outerwear. It is a bio-based and non-fluorinated stain repellent technology that repels water and water-based stains and doesn’t impact feel or breathability. Teflon EcoElite™ finish is also up to three times more durable than other non-fluorinated, water-repellent finishes. Because many of its ingredients can be regrown and replaced over time, its production leaves a smaller environmental footprint.