INTRODUCTION Fjällräven,a subsidy of Fenix Outdoor, is Swedish company specializing in outdoorequipment-clothing, tents, sleeping bags and so on. Ever since Fjällräven wasfounded just over 50 years ago, we have had one strong driving force: todevelop products that make it easier for people to enjoy the countryside (About Fjällräven – Fjällräven, n.d.). The KånkenBackpack, the Greenland Jacket, Vidda Trousers and the Expedition Down Jacketare some of its classics.THE PRODUCT:GREENLAND NO.
1 DOWN JACKET WThis jacket isthe down filled form of Fjällräven’s most popular jacket(Greenland Jacket) with intricate leather details and contrasting colours. Toendure the sub-zero temperature of the year, the jacket is filled with 700 CUINof high-quality down (95% goose down, 5% feather). The outer material is tough,wind and water-resistant G-1000 Eco in recycled polyester (65%) and organiccotton (35%), with a lining of light, pliant Pertex Quantum polyamide. GOOSE DOWNDue to itssupreme warmth-to-weight ratio, down is the best of the best insulators. Asstated by the International Down and Feather Testing Laboratory(IDFL), “Downand feathers have the lowest carbon footprint of any other fill material, bothnatural and synthetic.” (IDFL, 2010). Sourcing of thedown and feathers maybe done by live-plucking or force-feeding the geese orducks.
So how does Fjällräven ethically source itsdown and feathers? Fjällräven has avoided these practices and begun to build aprocess whereby down is gathered from slaughtered animals as a by-product ofthe food industry, ensuring no live-plucking and force-feeding takes place. (Bode, 2014). It uses only goosedown and works entirely with only one supplier, which in turn works withselected farms and one slaughterhouse, all located in the Yangzhou province ineastern China. At the farms,the basic needs of the birds such as good feed, fresh water, protection andshelter for the birds are taken care of. After about 90 days at the farm, thegeese are transported to the slaughterhouse where loading, careful driving, andunloading are key factors to ensure the birds experience the least amount ofstress and are treated in a humanely. At the slaughterhouse,the birds are then run through an electrical water bath that stuns them at 80to 100 volts leaving them promptly unconscious and unable to feel pain. Thedown and feathers filled and transported to the supplier in marked Fjällräven bags and sealed to avoid it being mixed with down fromother producers (Bode, 2014). The down is cleaned with an eco-friendly shampoo and dried in atumble dryer.
The water used is treated before it is released. The down undergoesa filtering process and is done in large industrial containers where the downof the highest quality drifts all the way to the top while lower quality downstays at the bottom. The down undergoes extensive testing at the supplierlocation and some of it is sent to the IDFL, to further test the down’s qualityand cleanliness.
The samples are kept at the IDFL so that it can be cross-testedwith the down from the finished products. The down is then re-packed in newFjällräven bags marked with quality, quantity, and composition to guarantee itsorigin. Before sending the bags to their factories, the Fjällräven qualitycontrol team signs off on these bags. At the factories, only down from Fjällräven bags is used toinsulate products. During production, Fjällräven’s quality control team ispresent to make certain that only the highest quality down is used, and is doneby conducting arbitrary checks and examining with the down samples sent to theIDFL. This controlled flow from sourcing to the production and handling ofgeese guarantees the highest ethical standards and is what Fjällräven standsfor.G-1000 ECOThe Eco shellis a high functioning shell material that gives extensive protection againsttough conditions and wet-weather. Eco-Shell is made entirely from polyester –straight through for all three layers that together build up the material’sfunctionality – to simplify future recycling (Fjallraven, 2017).
The outer facefabric is made from recycled polyester and is impregnated without the use ofenvironmentally damaging fluorocarbons (Fjallraven, 2017). In addition,Eco-Shell is climate compensated (Fjallraven, 2017). With sustainabilityas the nucleus of all Fjällräven’s processes, it’s not surprisingthat it was quick to join the recycling project Eco Circle™. ECO CIRCLE™ is TEIJIN’s world-first, closed-loop recycling systemfor polyester products (Teijin, n.d.
). Once the textileproducts are collected, they undergo chemical decomposition and are broken downinto granules. The dyes from granules are removed through a process called de-colourizing.
These granules undergo a chemical purification process and are converted topolyester raw materials called dimethyl terephthalate (DMT). Finally, these rawmaterials are polymerized to create a new polyester fibre with no compromisesin quality or variations. As the life cycle assessment (LCA) conducted for ECOCIRCLE™ shows, chemical recycling of polyester has only a minimal impact on theenvironment (Teijin Limited). SHIPMENT OFGOODSAcomparison with 2015 shows that our emissions went up as we have added theshipments of Globetrotter Ausrüstung and are continuously growing our business (Fenix Outdoor, 2016).The company is looking to reduce emissions during the shipment of goods.Comparing two modes of transportation: Air freight and sea freight. When consideringshipping costs, sea freight is the obvious choice since it is much cheaper thanair freight, especially for large shipments.
A Defra study concludes that twotonnes of freight carried for 5000km by a small container ship creates 150kg ofCO2e (a measure of relative global warming potential) compared to 6605kg ofCO2e if the freight is carried by plane for the same distance (Fijitimes, 2015). Since Fjällräven isfocused on being green and has a diverse supplier base located in Asia, Europe,India and Sri Lanka it makes sense to use sea freight as it releases fewercarbon emissions. However, sea freight is slower compared to air freight andwhen the time is of the essence air transport is the option to go with. Also,warehousing fees at seaports are often more expensive than those at airports.Pick -up and delivery costs to get the goods to their destination also must beconsidered. Hence Fjällräven can use sea freight to ship products to itsretailers or to get raw materials from its suppliers and in emergencysituations go with air freight to get the shipment to the destination in time. RESPONSIBILITY”Ourgoal is a healthier outdoor life, now and for future generations” AikoBode, Fjällräven’s Chief Sustainability Officer(RESPONSIBILITY – Fjällräven, n.
d.). They aim to leave a minimal environmental footprintas they possibly can. In 2013 we launched The Fjällräven Way, guidancetool for our sustainability work, where we have chosen the compass as asymbol to show us the way (RESPONSIBILITY – Fjällräven, n.d.
). Here, N stands forNature & Environment, E for Economy & Business Processes, S for SocialResponsibility and W for Wellbeing (RESPONSIBILITY – Fjällräven, n.d.).CODE OF CONDUCT97.
2% of our brands’ suppliers had signed our Code of Conduct by theend of 2015 (Fenix Outdoor, 2016). Being a subsidy ofFenix Outdoor, Fjällräven strictlyfollows this Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct stipulated that no forcedlabour was to be used, freedom of association was to be upheld, working hourswould be limited to 48 hours plus 12 hours overtime (with no exceptions), nochild under 15 would be employed, workplace safety should be assured, and nodiscrimination would be practised (Ethical Consumer, 2016). It also had aliving wage clause that specified that wages should go beyond the legal minimum (Ethical Consumer, 2016). As of 2013, we areaffiliated with the Fair Labor Association (Fjallraven, n.d.).
AUDITING ANDREPORTING Fjällräven stated: “All tier1 suppliers are approved only after havinghad an inspection visit. All running suppliers (most of whom we have a long(over 10years) working relationship with), are visited each year by our socialaudit team (situated in China). Our audit procedures are in 3 steps, theinternal described above, then we add external audits by an independent 3rdparty (at the moment Elevate) on selected suppliers each year. On top of thatFLA performs audits at a % of randomly selected suppliers each year to verifythat our system lives up to their standards. All audits are paid by us. CAPmanagement is conducted either by representatives from our headquarters or ouraudit team in China. All suppliers receive a rating based on audit results, andthis together with results from the Higg index (if the suppliers use that)forms the base for how we identify areas for improvements” (Ethical Consumer, 2016). The buyers andemployees are all trained on sustainability issue.
In general, we do not strivefor formalized certifications of any type of management systems (Fenix Outdoor, 2016). However, in mostoperations, ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 principles are applied (Fenix Outdoor, 2016).CONCLUSIONFjällräven has made a name for itself as a sustainable brand. Fromacquiring raw materials to production to distribution of finished products, italways looks to improve its processes without impacting the environment. Ourgoal is to reduce CO2 emissions by 25 percent by the year 2020 and becomecarbon neutral at the latest in 2025 (Fjallraven, n.d.
). The company’sbiggest challenge would be its logistics and its impact as the company grows.While transporting goods by sea is a viable option, moving the consignments tothe warehouses and eventually to the retail stores requires the use of trucks,which is unavoidable. A good option would be investing in electric trucks (byTesla, Inc). It will be a considerable initial investment for Fjällräven, but itcan always start as a pilot project. The results will be rewarding and will beable to meet its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 2020.