Greenwashing Is a Problem. Rab Might Have the Solution.
Rab reveals new product labels to fight greenwashing, challenges other outdoor companies to follow suit
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In a move the company says is an industry first, UK-based Rab has announced that beginning next fall its jacket and sleeping bag labels will begin detailing the exact amount of recycled and fluorocarbon-free materials being used in its products’ construction.
Called Material Facts, Rab products will have QR codes that open online labels resembling nutritional information found on packaged food items. The labels will give the percentage of recycled material used in all of the components used in the construction of the piece. The new system will launch with labels listing the percent of recycled materials of insulation used in Rab jackets and sleeping bags, and will expand to include all of the materials used in every product.
“It’s easy to put a little green leaf icon on your products to make the customers feel better about them, but that doesn’t give any real information,” said Debbie Read, Rab’s head of Corporate Social Responsibility. “Is it 10 percent or 100 percent recycled material, and what parts? We’re taking on greenwashing and being as transparent as possible about just how green our products are.”
The new recycling accountability is part of Rab’s Net Zero by 2030 initiative. Read said that the company is deconstructing its products to understand more fully and accurately the percentage of recycled and fluorocarbon-free content, including complex areas like trims and zippers. This scrutiny is also being applied to Rab’s supply chain partners to ensure that Rab knows fully what is in the materials it uses.
Zipper pulls, shock cord outers, care labels, fabrics and other material Rab has ordered for its fall/winter 2023 production are made from recycled materials, Read said, Also, by doing away with jacket stuff sacks, Rab estimates it is saving 101,500 square meters of fabric and 300,000 meters of cord and tape. Sleeping bag storage sacks are moving from virgin cotton to recycled polyester, and sewing thread used in the fall line will be fluorocarbon-free, she said.
“Things like zipper pulls seem so little, but multiplying that by our usage it becomes significant,” Read said. “We hope that as many brands, retailers and other stakeholders as possible will join us so end consumers get a more transparent and comprehensive picture of what sustainable outdoor product design means.”