Earth Overshoot Day on July 29, 2021
Today is Earth Overshoot Day. The day on which, according to the Global Footprint Network, humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. So as of today, we are consuming more natural resources than the earth can provide for us. Each year this day falls earlier because we humans are living on credit instead of using natural resources consciously and sustainably.
The shocking images and news of the disastrous flooding in the Eifel, North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria continue to reverberate. They have once again raised our awareness of the fact that climate change is not just a vision of the future, but has already long since begun – that we can no longer afford to continue our wait-and-see attitude but have to take action now to protect the earth’s climate. The global climate crisis is non-negotiable. #Move the Date: We need to do everything we can to delay the date as much as possible.
At VAUDE, we have already set out to reduce our ecological footprint and conserve natural resources. We want to take on responsibility for ensuring that our children will be able to enjoy nature in the future. How exactly are we doing this at VAUDE? That’s what we want to share with you here, providing some inspiration along the way.
We want to #Move the Date
How can we succeed in reducing our global ecological footprint? Experts such as Jürgen Knirsch from Greenpeace recommend 5 guidelines for making this happen.
- Eat less meat (and reduce waste food in general)
- Live modestly and keep our energy use low
- Fly as little as possible
- Drive less
- Call on the state for legal regulations so that human rights and environmental protection are put on the agenda with binding agreements
To mark Earth Overshoot Day, we have invited five representative VAUDE employees to speak about what we are doing to reduce our ecological footprint.
#Move the Date:
Eat less meat – and more veggies
Jackfruit kebab? No problem! Since the beginning of July 2021, VAUDE’s organic canteen has been completely vegetarian or vegan. Chef Rainer Seibold has always sourced his ingredients regionally, organically and fairly – and he has been instrumental in our switch to a purely vegetarian or vegan menu. “I have been vegan myself since 2019. I want to share my passion and am convinced that we can gain so much more with our new cuisine,” says the 33-year-old. Specifically, this means “a higher degree of freshness, quality, food diversity, environmental protection, social justice, and VAUDE Spirit!”
He easily won the VAUDE management over. “At VAUDE, we take on responsibility for people and the planet. In everything we do, we take ecological and social factors into account. We are breaking new ground in many areas and would like to give our canteen the chance to do so as well,” explains VAUDE Managing Director, Antje von Dewitz.
A few weeks have now been spent testing out the reception to the new menu. Mediterranean bowl with quinoa and hummus, mung bean curry with sweet potatoes, spinach & jasmine rice or simply the local specialty, Käs’spätzle with braised onions & a side salad, all sound very promising. “In the end, it just has to taste good – and I’m sure it does,” says Rainer Seibold with satisfaction.
#MovetheDate: Live modestly and keep our energy use low
Living modestly and keeping our energy use low means more than just living simply. It also includes how we construct our buildings, how we consume energy and inventing new technologies to reduce emissions as much as possible. Torsten Kamp is responsible for maintenance and all issues related to resource consumption at VAUDE. “We must finally stop climate change,” he says with conviction.
Torsten Kamp is proud of the fact that the VAUDE company site in Tettnang and the Manufaktur production facility have been climate-neutral since 2012. Energy efficiency played a prominent role in the modernization of the company headquarters in 2016. Thanks to better insulation, green roofs, floor heating, wooden construction and clever lighting, the buildings now have a very high energy efficiency standard.
The company’s own photovoltaic system on the roof supplies 600,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, heating has been provided by biogas since 2013, rainwater is used for flushing toilets, and the lighting in 90 percent of the buildings has also been completely converted to low-energy LED. “We control our lighting with presence and motion sensors in our offices,” reports Torsten Kamp. VAUDE offsets emissions that cannot be avoided with Myclimate, which finances projects that conserve emissions to the same extent that VAUDE produces them.
VAUDE has now set itself the goal of manufacturing all of its products worldwide in a climate-neutral manner in the future. “Consistently sustainable, climate-friendly business is the only sensible way for our future.” Not only VAUDE’s Managing Director, Antje von Dewitz, but also Torsten Kamp are convinced of this.
#Move the Date: Fly as little as possible – take more staycations
Fewer flights means simply taking more vacations at home. And Rafael Erath is one of the product managers at VAUDE who make sure that the necessary gear is available. Bike bags are currently in higher demand than ever. “We are experiencing a real bike boom,” the 37-year-old tells us. More and more people are discovering bike trips at home for themselves, instead of spending hours on a plane overseas. “Certainly the pandemic has also played an important role. Many are choosing to enjoy their free time nearby.” Rafael Erath also spends a lot of time with his family on his bike, exploring the Lake Constance region on his doorstep. Sometimes less really is more. VAUDE is also committed to reducing climate-damaging emissions as much as possible for the manufacturing of its products. By 2024, at least 90 percent of all VAUDE products should have a biobased or recycled material content of more than 50 percent. Using renewable raw materials or recycled materials conserves fossil resources and significantly reduces CO2 emissions in material production – another step towards climate neutrality.
The demand for sustainably produced gear is growing exponentially. VAUDE is constantly developing new solutions for secure and easy bike bag attachment while conserving resources. “Coming next October, the ReCycle series of bike bags, our first made from fully recycled main materials, will be available,” Rafael Erath is pleased to announce. Plastic packaging or multilayer films from Germany’s yellow bag recycling program are reused for this purpose. “This is innovative, forward-looking and climate-friendly as well,” says the VAUDE product manager.
#Move the Date: Drive less – bike more
The diesel scandal, smog alarms, endless traffic jams – mobility is responsible for a large share of emissions in our globalized world. VAUDE is taking a close look at the challenges of its corporate mobility policies including mobility guidelines for all business trips, the conversion of company cars to electric vehicles with 100% green electricity, incentives for environmentally friendly commuting to work such as JobRad, an e-bike rental service, front-row parking spaces for carpools, a mobility lottery, or the Bähnle bus.
Gernot Moser, sales manager in the Bike Division at VAUDE, is a big fan of the company’s mobility concept. “When it comes to promoting cycling at VAUDE, what I appreciate most is the bike repair workshop and the facilities for showering at work,” says Moser. He himself rides his bike to work almost every day, covering about 4,000 kilometers each year. Altogether, VAUDE employees ride over 80,000 commuter kilometers by bike every year – equivalent to over 2 times around the world. “Overall, we have already reduced climate-damaging emissions by quite a lot. But we are still far from reaching our goal: By 2024, we want to cut emissions from employee mobility by another 25%,” adds VAUDE CSR Manager, Hilke Patzwall.
#Move the Date: Call for better legal regulations
For VAUDE Managing Director Antje von Dewitz, taking a stand is a given. She wants to take on responsibility on many levels. She and the entire VAUDE team are committed to creating new political framework conditions so that industry can implement climate-friendly technologies and business models and remain competitive in the process. “An important prerequisite of this issue is recognizing that, as a company in the global textile industry, we are a part of the problem of pollution and global warming. That’s why I see it as my corporate responsibility to also develop solutions to these problems and to ensure that our economic impact does as little damage as possible to people and the planet,” she says.
VAUDE and Antje von Dewitz are also actively involved in politics and call for stricter legal requirements for corporate climate and environmental protection. VAUDE supports global climate protection movements such as Fridays for Future and Scientists for Future and is involved in the Entrepreneurs For Future initiative. Side by side with German Development Minister Gerd Müller, Antje von Dewitz has campaigned for a supply chain law that obliges companies to fulfill their responsibility throughout the global supply chain. VAUDE was also involved in the introduction of the Grüner Knopf seal (Green Button) from the very beginning as a founding member of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, working to make global textile production more environmentally friendly and fair. Today, 90% of the VAUDE Collection meets the strict criteria of the Grüner Knopf.
Since 2012, VAUDE has prepared an Economy for the Common Good balance sheet, which – in short – evaluates the success of a company according to basic democratic values and what serves the good of people and the environment. Antje von Dewitz is convinced that solution-oriented and sustainable business is the right way to survive in times of climate change and global challenges and that responsible corporate action is also becoming increasingly important to consumers. It’s a trend that others are only now discovering for themselves. And VAUDE also offers solutions for this issue. With the Academy for Sustainable Business, founded in 2020, VAUDE is passing on its many years of experience and knowledge to interested companies and organizations.
“Successful business can also be humane, environmentally friendly and value-oriented in a globalized world. We want to be part of the solution, and we are becoming more successful at this every year. That gives me strength and hope, and it always encourages me as well,” wrote Antje von Dewitz in her biography, which was published in 2020.
VAUDE wants to #Move the Date
We at VAUDE are convinced that it is worthwhile to become active for climate protection – true to the motto, “everything is possible, nothing is necessary.” Maybe together we will manage to move back Earth Overshoot Day 2022.
#Move the Date 😊