Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability
The waves and the mountains are our magical playground, and we have a responsibility to this amazing world. We are striving for more people-friendly and green practices. Here is how we are achieving this:
- Protest is a member of Amfori BSCI. The goal of this organisation is to improve social performance in global supply chains. This means we offer safe, humane working conditions and fair pay. The factories that we work with are regularly screened to ensure these standards are upheld.
- Protest complies with the REACH standard, which addresses the production and use of chemical substances. We don’t use fabric dyes like AZO or PFC treatments that are harmful to people and animals. All our suppliers get a tailor-made Protest Restricted Substance List to make sure that no harmful substances are used in our products. We have our products tested at Textile Lab and Bureau Veritas.
- Our GeoGreen label uses a wide range of fabrics, all made with minimal impact on the environment. We use recycled yarns or sustainable fabrics. We use polyester fibre made from 100% recycled plastic PET bottles, sustainable bamboo and organic cotton. We use Oeko-Tex standard 100 fabrics.
- We don’t sandblast our denim.
- We care about animal welfare; we use alternatives to real duck down and we never use real fur or angora wool.
- Our products are transported by sea in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint. Transport by truck or by air would be one hundred times as much.
- Our clothing is designed to last a really long time; we choose durable materials and well made constructions to reduce the need to buy more and thereby reducing the impact on the environment.
Recognising our ability to make a difference, we are constantly improving how we get there.
Our fabrics and treatments
We’re all talking about sustainability but what does that actually mean? It means living sustainably, meeting our needs today without compromising the needs of future generations. So that’s what we’re going to do, find a way to produce sustainably to ensure a better tomorrow. This means learning a whole new way of doing things. From production to the fabrics we use in our garments.
Considering the fabric that is used for our garments, it is necessary not just to evaluate what the fabric is made of but also how it is made and which treatments it received. Our clothing has a function, whether it’s performing on the water or on the slopes. So then we must compare the fabrics’ properties with what it needs to do. For example, polyester is brilliant for it’s strength and quick-drying properties. Bamboo is highly breathable. Here’s a rundown of the fabrics that we are using now and the reasons why.
Polyester is an important component in our clothing – it is durable, flexible and water resistant. A big problem with polyester is that there is an overabundance of this plastic, filling up landfills and polluting our oceans. So to address this issue, instead of using new polyester in our garments, we use recycled polyester created by processing discarded P.E.T (polyethylene Terephthalate) bottles into yarn. We’re using this recycled product in outer fabric, lining, fleece mid layers and boardshorts.
We’re introducing sustainable bamboo into our collection. What makes bamboo sustainable? Because bamboo grows so quickly, it can be harvested several times a year making it an easily renewable resource. It requires a third of the amount of water to grow in comparison to cotton and has no natural pests. This means that bamboo can be grown with little to no use of pesticides or herbicides.
A lesser-known fact is that a bamboo crop absorbs a large amount of carbon dioxide and in turn produces 35% more oxygen than a cotton crop. The finished fabric is highly breathable, anti-bacterial, insulating and resistant to harmful UV rays. Within our sustainable range of swim shorts for Spring/Summer 2020, the FIRSBY and the PIERRE are made from a sustainable bamboo blend fabric.
Here at Protest, we love to experiment with fusions, mixing things up to create something new. Our fabrics need to function and function well. This functionality can sometimes be optimized through mixing different materials together. Within our sustainable boardshorts collection for Summer 2020, we have three shorts, which are made from a fusion of cotton and recycled polyester. The resulting fabric has the breathable, comfortable qualities of cotton and the quick-drying, durable qualities of the recycled polyester. We’ve created a functional hybrid.
PFC-free waterproofing solutions
We have set the ambitious goal of replacing all PFCs in our collection with eco friendly alternatives by the year 2022. PFCs are used to waterproof garments, also making them oil and dirt repellent. PFC’s are virtually non-degradable in nature and are building up more and more in our food chain. By removing the use of PFCs in our garments, we are making a conscious choice to help limit the damaging effects that these chemicals are having on the environment, animal and human health.
After some research we found a replacement to PFC, which also offers water resistance and breathability. Our new hydrophobic finish is inspired by water resistance found in nature and is based on fluorine-free recipe. We will be using this PFC-free treatment in all of our women’s and girls’ swimwear for Spring/Summer 2020 and many of our garments in our next Fall/Winter 2020/2021 collection. If you want to know more about our timeline and how we are planning to remove PFC’s from our supply chain, read our PFC policy here.
So theses are all steps on our path– sustainable answers to the fabrics and finishes that we use to create our products. We are taking up the fight against climate change, against the pollution of the land and the oceans. An important milestone on our journey is our PVRE Green label, which will launch in the Fall/Winter 2020/2021. The PVRE Green series will be a combination of our PVRE range and sustainable production. The PVRE range is the choice of the athlete, a line of technical garments made from innovative fabrics and created to help you get there.
We are taking this range of superior, functional clothing and making it sustainable. Within this range, every part of the garment from the fabric to the zippers and the other trims will be made as sustainably and ethically as possible, working on reducing the footprint that our garments leave. Join us on our journey and look out for this awesome new series.
Our clothing is our key product but we produce other articles to enable our business. This includes the packaging used to send our clothing to the customer. This is a lot of packaging. Here at Protest we realize that we have the power to make a change. So when producing our new range of packaging, we chose to use cardboard made from recycled paper. We’re proud of our new boxes. From protecting forests to curbing climate change, recycled paper use is essential for sustainability.
By utilizing recycled paper, we use less water, less energy and produce lower carbon emissions. After the customer has received their Protest goods, they are encouraged by fun graphics printed on the box, to either reuse or recycle. Remember paper can be recycled up to 5 times!
To keep our clothing clean and to avoid damage, we pack our items in poly bags. Our clothing is then sent to our distribution centre and further on to the consumer, all in these bags. So in our effort to challenge the way we work, we set about making our poly bags more sustainable. By using recycled polyester in the creation of our bags, we are reducing the use of raw materials as well as the energy that goes in to making new polyester. Starting from FW2020, our recyclable poly bags will be made from recycled plastic.
Regarding our energy consumption, our headquarters in Warmond have since 2018, been powered by energy created from our own solar panels. Our buildings, which include the roofs of Protest Sportswear and sister companies, are covered with 10 000 solar panels, producing approximately 2.5 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year. This is the same as the average energy consumption of 600 households for one year.
The produced energy goes to making us energy self-sufficient, powering the companies Protest, sister companies and tenants. Today we’re not just supplying our own power, we are putting energy back into the system.
We are making the change towards sustainable and environmental practices with the resulting product being the same. Protest is on the way to get there.