Fjällräven

INTRODUCTION 

Fjällräven,
a subsidy of Fenix Outdoor, is Swedish company specializing in outdoor
equipment-clothing, tents, sleeping bags and so on. Ever since Fjällräven was
founded just over 50 years ago, we have had one strong driving force: to
develop products that make it easier for people to enjoy the countryside (About
Fjällräven – Fjällräven, n.d.). The Kånken
Backpack, the Greenland Jacket, Vidda Trousers and the Expedition Down Jacket
are some of its classics.

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THE PRODUCT:
GREENLAND NO.1 DOWN JACKET W

This jacket is
the down filled form of Fjällräven’s most popular jacket
(Greenland Jacket) with intricate leather details and contrasting colours. To
endure the sub-zero temperature of the year, the jacket is filled with 700 CUIN
of 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 organic
cotton (35%), with a lining of light, pliant Pertex Quantum polyamide.

GOOSE DOWN

Due to its
supreme warmth-to-weight ratio, down is the best of the best insulators. As
stated by the International Down and Feather Testing Laboratory(IDFL), “Down
and feathers have the lowest carbon footprint of any other fill material, both
natural and synthetic.” (IDFL, 2010). Sourcing of the
down and feathers maybe done by live-plucking or force-feeding the geese or
ducks. So how does Fjällräven ethically source its
down and feathers? Fjällräven has avoided these practices and begun to build a
process whereby down is gathered from slaughtered animals as a by-product of
the food industry, ensuring no live-plucking and force-feeding takes place. (Bode, 2014). It uses only goose
down and works entirely with only one supplier, which in turn works with
selected farms and one slaughterhouse, all located in the Yangzhou province in
eastern China.

At the farms,
the basic needs of the birds such as good feed, fresh water, protection and
shelter for the birds are taken care of. After about 90 days at the farm, the
geese are transported to the slaughterhouse where loading, careful driving, and
unloading are key factors to ensure the birds experience the least amount of
stress and are treated in a humanely.

At the slaughterhouse,
the birds are then run through an electrical water bath that stuns them at 80
to 100 volts leaving them promptly unconscious and unable to feel pain. The
down and feathers filled and transported to the supplier in marked Fjällräven bags and sealed to avoid it being mixed with down from
other producers (Bode, 2014).

The down is cleaned with an eco-friendly shampoo and dried in a
tumble dryer. The water used is treated before it is released. The down undergoes
a filtering process and is done in large industrial containers where the down
of the highest quality drifts all the way to the top while lower quality down
stays at the bottom. The down undergoes extensive testing at the supplier
location and some of it is sent to the IDFL, to further test the down’s quality
and cleanliness. The samples are kept at the IDFL so that it can be cross-tested
with the down from the finished products. The down is then re-packed in new
Fjällräven bags marked with quality, quantity, and composition to guarantee its
origin. Before sending the bags to their factories, the Fjällräven quality
control team signs off on these bags.

At the factories, only down from Fjällräven bags is used to
insulate products. During production, Fjällräven’s quality control team is
present to make certain that only the highest quality down is used, and is done
by conducting arbitrary checks and examining with the down samples sent to the
IDFL. This controlled flow from sourcing to the production and handling of
geese guarantees the highest ethical standards and is what Fjällräven stands
for.

G-1000 ECO

The Eco shell
is a high functioning shell material that gives extensive protection against
tough conditions and wet-weather. Eco-Shell is made entirely from polyester –
straight through for all three layers that together build up the material’s
functionality – to simplify future recycling (Fjallraven, 2017). The outer face
fabric is made from recycled polyester and is impregnated without the use of
environmentally damaging fluorocarbons (Fjallraven, 2017). In addition,
Eco-Shell is climate compensated (Fjallraven, 2017). With sustainability
as the nucleus of all Fjällräven’s processes, it’s not surprising
that it was quick to join the recycling project Eco Circle™.

ECO CIRCLE™ is TEIJIN’s world-first, closed-loop recycling system
for polyester products (Teijin, n.d.). Once the textile
products are collected, they undergo chemical decomposition and are broken down
into granules. The dyes from granules are removed through a process called de-colourizing.
These granules undergo a chemical purification process and are converted to
polyester raw materials called dimethyl terephthalate (DMT). Finally, these raw
materials are polymerized to create a new polyester fibre with no compromises
in quality or variations. As the life cycle assessment (LCA) conducted for ECO
CIRCLE™ shows, chemical recycling of polyester has only a minimal impact on the
environment (Teijin Limited).

SHIPMENT OF
GOODS

A
comparison with 2015 shows that our emissions went up as we have added the
shipments 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 considering
shipping costs, sea freight is the obvious choice since it is much cheaper than
air freight, especially for large shipments. A Defra study concludes that two
tonnes of freight carried for 5000km by a small container ship creates 150kg of
CO2e (a measure of relative global warming potential) compared to 6605kg of
CO2e if the freight is carried by plane for the same distance (Fijitimes, 2015). Since Fjällräven is
focused 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 fewer
carbon emissions. However, sea freight is slower compared to air freight and
when 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 be
considered. Hence Fjällräven can use sea freight to ship products to its
retailers or to get raw materials from its suppliers and in emergency
situations go with air freight to get the shipment to the destination in time.  

RESPONSIBILITY

“Our
goal is a healthier outdoor life, now and for future generations” Aiko
Bode, Fjällräven’s Chief Sustainability Officer(RESPONSIBILITY – Fjällräven, n.d.). They aim to leave a minimal environmental footprint
as they possibly can. In 2013 we launched The Fjällräven Way, guidance
tool for our sustainability work, where we have chosen the compass as a
symbol to show us the way (RESPONSIBILITY – Fjällräven, n.d.). Here, N stands for
Nature & Environment, E for Economy & Business Processes, S for Social
Responsibility and W for Wellbeing (RESPONSIBILITY – Fjällräven,
n.d.).

CODE OF CONDUCT

97.2% of our brands’ suppliers had signed our Code of Conduct by the
end of 2015 (Fenix Outdoor, 2016). Being a subsidy of
Fenix Outdoor, Fjällräven strictly
follows this Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct stipulated that no forced
labour was to be used, freedom of association was to be upheld, working hours
would be limited to 48 hours plus 12 hours overtime (with no exceptions), no
child under 15 would be employed, workplace safety should be assured, and no
discrimination would be practised (Ethical Consumer, 2016). It also had a
living wage clause that specified that wages should go beyond the legal minimum (Ethical Consumer, 2016). As of 2013, we are
affiliated with the Fair Labor Association (Fjallraven, n.d.).               

 

AUDITING AND
REPORTING

Fjällräven stated: “All tier1 suppliers are approved only after having
had an inspection visit. All running suppliers (most of whom we have a long
(over 10years) working relationship with), are visited each year by our social
audit team (situated in China). Our audit procedures are in 3 steps, the
internal described above, then we add external audits by an independent 3rd
party (at the moment Elevate) on selected suppliers each year. On top of that
FLA performs audits at a % of randomly selected suppliers each year to verify
that our system lives up to their standards. All audits are paid by us. CAP
management is conducted either by representatives from our headquarters or our
audit team in China. All suppliers receive a rating based on audit results, and
this 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 and
employees are all trained on sustainability issue. In general, we do not strive
for formalized certifications of any type of management systems (Fenix Outdoor, 2016). However, in most
operations, ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 principles are applied (Fenix Outdoor, 2016).

CONCLUSION

Fjällräven has made a name for itself as a sustainable brand. From
acquiring raw materials to production to distribution of finished products, it
always looks to improve its processes without impacting the environment. Our
goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by 25 percent by the year 2020 and become
carbon neutral at the latest in 2025 (Fjallraven, n.d.). The company’s
biggest challenge would be its logistics and its impact as the company grows.
While transporting goods by sea is a viable option, moving the consignments to
the warehouses and eventually to the retail stores requires the use of trucks,
which is unavoidable. A good option would be investing in electric trucks (by
Tesla, Inc). It will be a considerable initial investment for Fjällräven, but it
can always start as a pilot project. The results will be rewarding and will be
able to meet its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 2020.

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