Brand Selection Criteria

With more and more clothing brands working towards improved environmental and ethical standards, deciding which brands to feature has been a top priority for EcoSki.  
We will of course continue to encourage people to repair what they already own and/or consider pre-owned options before ever buying new. But when they do need to buy new it’s important to make considered choices and buy better.

Driven by this desire to find high performance, stylish and sustainable skiwear, we have devised a unique EcoSki Selection Criteria setting out the qualities that we value and the breadth of considerations that go into producing a more sustainable product. 
Below you’ll find the full list of credentials you can expect to find from the skiwear on our website. 
Compiled with guidance from Rachel Fortune (The Sustainable Lifestyle Awards) our selection criteria considers 4 key areas:

    1. Ethical and sustainable credentials 
    2. Technical and safety performance 
    3. Style, design and comfort 
    4. Durability

Of course, it's unrealistic to expect each brand to be achieving every single one of the follow credentials, but it is encouraging and exciting to learn what changes are being made in order for us all to live, and ski, more responsibly. 

Where are the garments made?
Are the garments manufactured under one roof or does the process involve a complex chain with garments being assembled by being moved from one factory to the next.

What materials are used?
Are they any of the following: organic, recycled, recyclable, biodegradable, plant based, bio sourced (ie the opposite of man-made) and natural?

Are they responsibly sourced and responsibly produced?
Traceability is key. If a brand can be sure it knows the provenance of its materials and finishes then it can prove responsible sourcing and production.

What are the brands doing to support and nurture their work force
Are their supply chain workers paid fairly, provided with health care and holiday entitlement, working in safe and healthy working conditions, with no child labour?

What are the brands doing to protect Animal Ethics and Welfare
Is the leather, wool and down responsibly sourced and traceable? Is the leather a confirmed by-product of the meat industry. Are there checks to confirm mulesing free sheep and no live plucking or force feeding of foul.

What is the brand's policy and goals regarding PFCs
What are the brands doing to eliminate the use of PFCs in their range? What alternatives have they found and when do they aim to be 100% PFC free. You can read more about PFC's in our Environmental Stories section.

Waste Management
What systems and policies do brands have in place to monitor their waste management? Are they exploring routes to re-use waste materials and create closed loop systems. Rules around the world vary quite dramatically but brands can champion positive behaviours.

What chemicals are used during production? Are they safe for consumers and workers? Are all the processes in production handled correctly and is chemical waste disposed of correctly?

Dyeing Techniques
It doesn't make sense to grow things organically and responsibly and then dye the fibres with toxic dyes.
Traditional bath dyeing techniques not only waste gallons of water, they also pollute nearby water systems. Solution or Dope Dyeing techniques are our preferred method.

Powering Factories
What percentage of the factories are powered by renewable sources? Is there a goal to switch to 100% renewable energy and how will that be managed?

Fossil Fuels
How dependent is the brand on the use of fossil fuels in the production chain and what are their goals to wipe out fossil fuel dependency?

Shipping is by no means a green alternative to air freight but we would rather work with brands that choose shipping over flying.

Returns and Repairs Policy
What policy do the brands have in place? Do they offer a repairs/replacement or re-purpose service? What do they do with their returns?

Unsold stock
What happens to any unsold stock?

In order to keep their products in pristine condition it's paramount they are securely packaged, sadly this often results in the use of plastic. We will encourage brands to join the SUP (Single Use Plastic) Project to phase out the use of virgin plastic or use alternative methods like compostable or biodegradable packaging. Some of the brands are currently trialing the use of RePack, a re-usable packaging solution for online shopping, and so far the response has been positive!

What pioneering innovations are the brands championing in order to use non-toxic and environmentally friendly techniques in their manufacturing? For example are they using or trialling bio-sourced and plant based products? Or have they explored carbon capture techniques via Regenerative Organic Farming as pioneered by Patagonia.

Do the brands offer a transparency report and what are their future goals? Are they willing to enter into open discussion about their sustainability goals and achievements? We are always delighted to see when a brand is part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and/or The Higg Index platform.
We are however very mindful that smaller independent brands or manufacturers are unlikely to have any of these accreditations. That doesn't mean they aren't responsible or transparent, they understandably just don't have the human resources to spend time fulfilling the criteria.

Sustainability Goals
The UN Sustainable Development Goals are a call for action by all countries to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. Which of the 17 goals do the brands support and how do they contribute to meeting the goals?
We are not asking for perfection, but brands should be able to demonstrate progress in their ethical and sustainable practices.

Carbon Footprint
What plans are in place for the brand to become net zero or net positive?

Non Profit Partnership
What do the brands do to help give back to our planet and its people?

Corp B Company
Our own goal is to become an accredited Corp B company so we are always excited to find these inspirational companies all working towards the same goals – placing the future of people and our planet at the forefront of their business.

Sadly most skiwear brands are based overseas. We are however very keen to use British brands when we can; especially when it comes to wool products. We are in discussions with a number of British Wool suppliers to commission our own range of 100% British Wool products.

Technical and safety performance is also key
There’s no point having kit that ticks every single eco credential if it cannot do the job it was created to do or falls apart after the first week of skiing.

Essential Plastic
This is when we appreciate and value the merits of plastic. It’s just not possible to have natural or biodegradable helmet, goggles, shovel, probe or transceivers.

We selected these safety products from brands who make exceptional quality kit that will last and provide the best protection currently possible.

Look stylish on and off the slopes
Having skiwear that makes you look and perform to your best means that you will look after and cherish your kit.

Hardwearing, well-made kit will mean less need to buy more resulting in less product waste and greater sustainability impact.

Final Thoughts

Sustainability is an incredibly layered process. There are numerous paths each brand can take and it is not possible for them all to make every change immediately. New challenges as well as new solutions are always being explored.

We want to support local and independent brands for whom it is very difficult to achieve these accreditations. They simply don’t have the resources.

Our inventory isn’t final, as a young brand EcoSki are excited to keep discovering and learning about the latest materials and performance innovations that skiwear brands have to offer. We are already in talks with brands to take on board next season which is incredibly exciting.