9 in 10 UK outdoor enthusiasts consider sustainability in their purchase decisions

By Alpkit

Sustainability is so important to us here. And we know it's something that many of our customers care deeply about too, which is why we were delighted when over 2600 of you filled in our April sustainability survey! Thank you!

Here's what you told us.

Sustainability is more important than price

Amazingly, 87% of respondents consider the sustainability of products or companies before making a purchase. In fact, you ranked sustainability higher than price and second only to the quality of materials and construction when it comes to buying outdoor kit.

You're concerned about the environmental impact of clothing

Even more amazingly, 90% of respondents were either very concerned or extremely concerned about the environmental impacts of the clothing industry, with 88% saying the industry needs to act now to limit harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

You're great at recycling clothing

When asked about outdoor clothing and equipment recycling, 63% said they donate their unwanted items to charity. Lots of you also  pass it onto friends, sell it online and donate it to textile banks (40%, 31% and 26% respectively). Far fewer people (14%) said they had used a retail take-back scheme, with 66% admitting they either didn’t know these existed or what they were.

These findings largely chime with those of WRAP’s ‘Citizen Insights: Textiles and Covid 19’ survey, conducted in June 2020, which show that the proportion of people concerned by the environmental impacts of clothing, and actively committed to stopping clothing waste, has risen from 31% of the population in 2017, to 50% by 2020 [2].

However, WRAP also warned that, as the UK emerged from its first lockdown, as many as 14% of people would dispose of their unwanted clothes in the general rubbish; and of those who had already cleared out their wardrobes more than one in three (36%) used the general rubbish. On the other hand, only 7% of Alpkit’s wonderful customers admitted to having thrown any of their outdoors kit in the bin once it had reached the end of its useful life. You guys rock! It just goes to show that people who spend a lot of time in the great outdoors are more aware of their responsibility to protect the places they love.

Alpkit CEO, David Hanney, commented on the survey findings: “It’s really encouraging to see that our customers have put sustainability at the heart of their purchasing decisions when it comes to buying outdoors gear. Alpkit’s love of the outdoors and the world’s wild places guides the way we do business. It's in our nature to look after what's important, whether that's the environment, animals, suppliers, staff, community or our customers. “With the British public set to dispose of millions of clothing items as the UK comes out of its second lockdown, it’s more important than ever for retailers and organisations from across the fashion and textiles sectors to help people do this in a responsible way. We’re working hard to help create a circular retail economy, namely through our Continuum Project, and to combat the harmful environmental and social impacts of the clothing industry.”

Our Continuum Project gives your old gear a second life

Have you heard of the Alpkit Continuum Project? Launched in 2017, it's our take-back scheme, and through it we've so far found 3 tonnes of unwanted outdoor gear a new home. That's roughly half-a-Tyrannosaurus-rex-worth of gear! You can donate any brand of used outdoor clothing and equipment (provided it’s in good, clean and functional condition) by dropping it off in any of our stores or using the returns form on our website. We'll then donate the items directly to those who need it most through one of their charity partners or to upcycling projects. The rest gets recycled. Absolutely nothing ends up in landfill.

We make gear you'll love for longer

Our design ethos is set in stone: to make Gear You Love For Longer, the gear you use year after year and form a lifelong relationship with. You've probably already heard, but we're pretty excited about the fact that we became a certified B Corp in September 2020. B Corp assesses and audits companies against rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. We were certified at the first attempt with a score of 95 which places us firmly in the leading pack of the UK’s highest ranking sustainable businesses. Last year we also became the first UK outdoor brand to publish a comprehensive Sustainability Report. In 2020 we put people and planet before profit by:

  • Pivoting the Alpkit Foundation to direct support towards food projects in lockdown. The Alpkit Foundation has now awarded £300,000 to 900 projects involving over 15,000 people.
  • Increasing pay rates for all employees, in the midst of lockdown, and becoming formally recognised as a Living Wage Foundation employer
  • Reducing our carbon intensity and offsetting Scope 1 and 2 to net zero greenhouse gases.

In 2021 we will:

  • Catch up, when travel is permitted, on our programme of personal environmental reviews at their mills and factories, including deeper lifecycle analysis
  • Restart our School of Adventure events programme for a more accessible and inclusive outdoors with a range of open courses to build outdoor skills and confidence
  • Relaunch our team adventure training and face-to-face training programmes to develop career skills and opportunities at Alpkit.

[1] Survey conducted among Alpkit UK customers in April 2021, with 2,604 responses received.

[2] https://wrap.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/67-million-items-clothing-could-be-discarded-uk-homes-post-lockdown

1 comment

  • Great customer service and amazing delivery. Bag was perfect for my Yorkshire 3 peaks challenge.

    Kate stapleton

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