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Klättermusen - Eco-index

How kind on the environment is your jacket?
Is it possible to measure wether one jacket is more damaging to the environment than another? It's easy to despair when you realise how many factors play a role - everything from the material to the choice of transportation. Instead of giving up, Klättermusen has chosen to do something about it. They want to make it easier to make environmentally sound choices in outdoor by using their ECO-index.

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It's not always easy to keep up with all the new advice about chemicals and materials, their properties and the effects they have on the environment. Daily life means that we come face to face with many types of environmental certification, such as Krav, Swan, the EU flower and so on. Klättermusen felt that something was lacking as regards textiles in their industry; a transparent certification that deals with the most important criteria with a major impact on the environment. That's why Klättermusen created the ECO-index.

The ECO-index is a measure of their products' ecological footprint. It works as a type of environmental declaration, where Klättermusen self-critically tell you, the consumer, how far they got with our environmental work on each product. This is not a perfect system with no room for improvement, but it is a good step on the road to grading a product’s environmental impact.

The ECO-index evaluates each product according to ten criteria, for example whether the product can be recycled and the impregnation’s environmental friendliness. However, this does not include criteria that Klättermusen consider to be obvious, such as a material being PVC-free.

If the product fulfils one criterion, it gets one point; if it doesn’t, it gets no points. A product can never get points in all ten criteria, because some are only applicable to artificial fibres and others only to natural fibres. And one criterion is only relevant to waterproof garments. However, if a product can get points in seven criteria but, as in the example here, only fulfils six of these, the product as an eco-index of six-sevenths, i.e. 86 percent. In this case you can say that the product is 86 percent kind to nature.

Klättermusen strives to ensure that all of their products get as high a value as possible, without affecting their functionality.

While the ECO-index is an environmental marking at the product level, it can also be calculated for entire collections. By working out the average of all the products, the ECO-index is an indication of how Klättermusen’s environment work is progressing.

The ECO-index was introduced in 2009, but Klättermusen has calculated it retroactively for collections since 2006. In four years, the ECO-index has improved from 23.7 percent to 61.2 percent! This is encouraging news for those who work at Klättermusen, and it is a natural incentive for further improvement.

 

How it works

The label that presents the product’s ECO-index is shown below. The green area shows the points for the evaluation criteria that are relevant to the product. A more detailed description of the criteria and the points follows:

1. Water repellent impregnation without fluorocarbons. Fluorocarbons are harmful to the environment as they are presumed to damage the reproductive systems of mammals and build up in the blood. Most of them are also persistent and do not break down in nature.

2. The DWR treatment does not contain pfoa, perfluorooctanic acid, which is the most hazardous of all fluorocarbons. The substance’s properties have not yet been fully investigated, but in addition to being difficult to degrade in nature, it is probably a reproductive pollutant and may be carcinogenic. The Swedish Chemicals Agency recommends that consumers ask for other alternatives when buying all- weather jackets.

3. Waterproof without ptfe in the coating or membrane. Polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon®) is a water resistant, slippy plastic that is produced using PFOA. PFOA is released during use and even more os created during combustion.

4. Made from more than 70 percent recycled materials.

5. The product is recyclable.

6. A durable, hard wearing and long lasting product that is therefore more environmentally friendly than a product with a shorter length of life.

7. Made from more than 70 percent non-fossil, renewable materials. E.g. cotton, wool and down.

8. The materials are organically grown according to an accepted certification system.

9. More than 70 percent of the product is environmentally degradable.

10. One percent of Klättermusen’s sales goes to projects that support the environment.

11. Total points for the product.

12. Maximum possible product points.

13. The percentage indicates how environmentally friendly the product is compared to the maximum number of possible points. There are many reasons for a product not reaching 100 percent. Klättermusen works continually on fulfilling the criteria and improving products from an environmental perspective.