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#EverydayClimateday – How to make sustainable consumption successful

Why it makes sense to repair:

European Sustainability Week begins today. This week of events was established in 2015 and its goal is to encourage more people to engage in sustainability. Every individual can to something to make change for the better – climate protection concerns us all and climate change has long since begun. Each of us can take action on climate protection every day, making #EverydayClimateday.

How can we accomplish this? At VAUDE, we have already set out to reduce our ecological footprint and conserve natural resources. We want to take responsibility for ensuring that in the future, our children can also enjoy nature with a clear conscience. “We wholeheartedly accept our responsibility towards people and nature,” says Antje von Dewitz, VAUDE Managing Director.

During Sustainability Week, we will take you on a journey through our company and show you what we are doing every day in terms of climate protection. We are convinced that climate protection isn’t just a matter for politicians, but for each individual as well. And it is also a matter for companies. We hope you find some inspiration!

Repair, don’t replace: it’s worth it!

VAUDE has had a Repair Workshop ever since it was founded in 1974 and we firmly believe that a product only becomes truly sustainable if it is used for as long as possible. To extend the life cycle of our gear and apparel and conserve resources, we offer our customers extensive repair services. We’ve all been through it – the zip fails on your favorite jacket, a buckle snaps on your pack, a wheel wears out on your suitcase, you lose a button on your shirt or pants. And then what?

Petra Köhler can solve even the thorniest problems at her sewing machine

Petra Köhler works in the VAUDE Repair Workshop where sewing machines whir, zippers are sewn, and backpacks get new buckles. “The number of customers sending us their favorite products is increasing – especially when they’ve become attached to an item and just don’t want to throw it away,” says Petra. So we sometimes receive gear like a 30-year-old backpack, which she then lovingly repairs until it can be used again. “We try to repair everything that is sent to us,” she says. Customers can also send in defective products via our retailers and stores.

About 15,000 products pass through the attentive hands of our repair service employees* each year. The lion’s share is clothing, but backpacks, tents, shoes and sleeping bags also get a “second life” here. “In many cases, we replace zippers or mend holes,” says Petra Köhler.  But shoes also get new soles, or tents a new floor.

Defective tents are repaired in the repair workshop

For many years, we have been working hard to ensure that our products are durable and, above all, easy to repair. Claudia Reimann from Technical Development is our contact point with the designers who create VAUDE products.  “Today, even in the initial designs of new collections, we make sure that the products can be repaired easily,” Claudia tells us. For example, we’re increasing the use of replacement zippers with the same color and easily replaceable wheels for our rolling luggage. “We’re all on the same page now, and it’s proving to be very successful,” Claudia tells us.

To help meet our goals for sustainability, we at VAUDE have developed a Repair Index that is really important in the process of deciding whether a product meets the Green Shape criteria or not. Newly developed products in the 2020 Summer Collection are already included in our Repair Index. The index includes a point-based system for deciding which adjustments can be made in terms of design, material selection and processing technologies to increase reparability. Whether customers can carry out a repair on their own at home, with the help of a Repair Café, or only by specialists such as the VAUDE Repair Workshop. It also addresses whether spare parts are available and how much effort is required for the repair. For Hilke Patzwall, Senior Manager of Sustainability at VAUDE, this is an important foundation: “The Repair Index gives our customers the assurance that reparability is not just left to chance with their VAUDE products, but rather one of the most important aspects in the product development process.”

Claudia Reimann from Technical Development

“A good example of this development is our Aqua series panniers,” says Claudia Reimann. In the past, the buckles were hf-welded to the material and if the buckle broke, the bag was also no longer usable. “Today, it’s no longer a problem if the buckle breaks. We can easily replace it with just a few simple steps,” Claudia Reimann explains.

A defective buckle is replaced in just a few steps

Do-it-yourself is also becoming increasingly popular with VAUDE customers. VAUDE provides spare parts and the necessary know-how on its homepage, and repair instruction videos are also available at iFixit. Our customers order spare parts and special tools and have them conveniently sent to their homes. VAUDE also cooperates with many Repair Cafés.

Claudia Reimann (left) and Petra Köhler

Claudia Reimann and Petra Köhler are happy to help extend the life of high-quality VAUDE products, even though this can sometimes be quite complicated. “Our customers are thrilled when we manage to repair their favorite products,” Claudia and Petra tell us, beaming. Together with their colleagues from the Repair Workshop, they are both helping to ensure that less outdoor gear and apparel has to be thrown away every day. And in doing so, they are making their contribution to #EverydayClimateday.

 

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