It’s easy to get confused by the seemingly endless terminology and logos that are used by outdoor brands to describe how sustainable their products are – but now British brand Rab think they have the answer.
From September 2023, they will be introducing a new initiative called Material Facts which will give consumers more detailed, easy-to-understand information on recycled content, fluorocarbon status and production information. The information – reminiscent of the labelling on food products – will be available for all Rab apparel and sleeping bags, accessible online through scanning a QR code on the product hangtag (see photo below).
Rab say they don’t believe in “hiding behind a ‘green logo’ or ‘eco-friendly’ label”, and their new system is intended to be easy to use – a quick scan of the QR code on your smartphone will take you to a clear and accurate Material Facts sustainability data table. This information will enable consumers to make their own educated choice, before buying a Rab clothing or sleeping bag product.
Rab and Lowe Alpine’s parent company Equip, frustrated with a lack of clarity around sustainability criteria, created the pioneering Material Facts sustainability information tables to drive a focus on accuracy and transparency, as product director Tim Fish explains: “Communicating sustainability information is complex and means different things to different people, often leading to misleading claims and greenwashing. We’ve developed our non-branded Material Facts program to provide consumers with enough information to make their own educated purchasing decisions. The program leads the way by taking into account consumers’ and retailers’ demands for accurate and honest sustainability product claims.”
By the end of 2024, all Rab and Lowe Alpine packs, equipment and accessories will also include Material Facts tables, and more criteria will be added in the future
Equip say they will continue to drive industry-wide engagement to constantly improve Material Facts and to jointly create an industry standard with other brands and industry stakeholders, and insist this is a clear step forward in terms of aligned accurate, honest and transparent CSR communication.
More information about the current Material Facts program can be found here.