What Makes a Brand Eco-Conscious?

For those that love the outdoors, our planet is a remarkable natural playground for adventures. We’re so lucky to be able to enjoy our pursuits in this amazing environment. That’s why many brands are finding ways to make great gear with less impact on the environment.

In a recent survey of SportPursuit members, 80% said they wanted to see eco-conscious brands highlighted on SportPursuit 💚

Every purchase has an impact on the environment and no brand is perfect, so we want to highlight brands and initiatives that are trying to do things better. Here’s a quick rundown of key ways brands are creating more eco-conscious kit.

Recycled materials

You expect a lot from your gear, so the materials it is made with are often engineered to very specific requirements. Waterproof jackets, for instance, can use highly technical fabrics and membranes to make sure you stay dry no matter the weather. More and more brands innovating with recycled materials to achieve this same performance while cutting down on fabric waste.

Plastic bottles can be broken down and remade into a recycled fibre for fabrics like Repreve®. Source: Planks Clothing

REPREVE is one of the leading recycled fibres used by brands today – a certified, sustainable fabric using recycled plastic bottles. A recycled fibre like Repreve can then be adapted to different garments such as board shorts, outerwear or even footwear.

Brands using REPREVE®: Planks Clothing, O’Neill, Volcom, Teva
Other brands and recycled fabric initiatives: Marmot UpCycle, Untrakt EcoShield, Millican, Felvarrom recycled accessories


While lots of great gear can be made from recycled materials, there are also ways to ensure that first-use fabric is also produced with thought. Many natural fibres like cotton and wool can follow organic principles like the Soil Association certification or GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard).

Cotton is so common in clothing and kit – it’s comfortable and easy-wearing. Small changes in how the cotton is grown, such as reduced water usage and avoiding fossil-fuel based fertilisers or pesticides, can have a big impact on the end result.

Organic cotton emits up to 46% less greenhouse gas than non-organic.

Soil Association

Brands using organic cotton: Mountain Hardwear, O’Neill, tentree, Howies,


It’s not just what your gear is made of, but also how it is made. A complex piece of kit like a waterproof jacket might undergo a variety of different processes to make the finished product durable, comfortable and weatherproof.

That’s why initiatives like bluesign® exist – an independent standard for the whole production process of sustainable products. Sustainable ingredients and clean processes with careful management of resources means products create less waste and less impact on the environment.

The bluesign® system is designed to take a garments full production cycle into account. Source: bluesign.com

Brands using bluesign-approved fabrics: Haglofs, Elevenate, Mountain Hardwear, Marmot

Responsible Down Standard

While not strictly eco-conscious, making sure that materials are ethically sourced is another way that brands can commit to producing their products the right way. This is especially relevant for insulated gear using down or wool.

When it comes to down, the Responsible Down Standard is a good place to start. As a voluntary global standard RDS that brands can use to certify that their down comes from ethical sources that do not use harmful practices like live-plucking or force feeding.

Brand using RDS: Columbia, Mountain Hardwear, Halti, Fjern

B Corp

We’ve covered some ways to check individual materials or products are produced sustainably. B Corp looks at the big picture. In their words,

Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

About B Corps

That means a certified B Corp has been assessed against independent standards of responsible business, including being aware of their impact on the planet. Each B Corp is committed to using business as a force for good.

“Becoming B Corp certified was a proud moment for us – joining a global movement of like-minded businesses pushing for change” – Finisterre

Certified B Corp brands: Finisterre, TOMS, Patagonia, KeepCup