Learn how this timeless European outdoor brand utilizes the Higg Index to design its products and improve its sustainable operations.
What are the biggest environmental challenges facing Fjällräven today?
There are challenges and opportunities in all areas of our operations, but we have some key aspects that have our top attention at the moment. One is the environmental footprint of our products. We work a lot with sustainable material choices, exploring, testing and researching new materials and innovations that can reduce the impact of our products. This is both in terms of resource usage and chemical content.
Another is transparency in the supply chain. To be able to have knowledge, transparency and dialogue deep down the supply chain is a prerequisite for enabling change and improvements both on environmental, social and animal welfare aspects in our production. Then we also have our strategy of moving towards more circular business models. To design our products in a way that enable future recycling and also to use more recycled input materials.
How does SAC membership and use of the Higg Index help you address your sustainability challenges?
Our SAC membership provides us with important tools in our sustainability work and a network to share knowledge and experience and push the industry forward. When it comes to the Higg Index, the RDM provides valuable information on material footprints, and the facility module is not only a way to rank ourselves but more importantly a way to identify where we can improve and what to further build on in our efforts. The membership meetings and working groups provide a great platform to interact and push efforts together with others in the industry, which we think is crucial to succeed with progress in many of the challenging areas.
In what ways has the Higg Index helped drive sustainability improvements and innovation at Fjällräven?
The systematic approach that the Higg index provides gives a structure to our sustainability efforts, and that has an effect on a lot of the different projects we undertake. The design module has inspired and formed some of the basis for our own preferred materials list. The facility module has given us a good direction on where we need to focus in order to improve, which results in projects that improve our setup, structure and organization. Apart from the Higg, it is also worth mentioning that SAC has put us in touch with partners with exciting projects as well.
As an SAC member, how has your company contributed to the development of the Higg Index or any of the Coalition's other ongoing projects?
Despite the fact that we are a small company we have, thanks to engaged employees who have been willing to put in the extra time and effort, been able to contribute in many of the different working groups within SAC. From our design team we have been able to contribute to the development of the design and development module (DDM), and our designers have advised, tested and piloted the tool. We are also taking part of the labor convergence group, and try to have an active role in meetings and discussion groups. It requires time and effort, but it is time well spent to be able to influence the development of tools that are practical and helpful in our daily operations.
What environmental practice that is utilized by your company today are you the most proud of?
The fact that we stick to a timeless design is extremely important for the longevity of our products, so the durability both in quality and emotional attachment is one of the things we value. That said, I am proud of our Down Promise. This is our own setup of a transparent supply chain for down where we have criteria, control and traceability from hatchery and geese farm to finished product. We have set up strict criteria in collaboration with external experts on animal welfare so we can ensure best standards on our down. It took us several years to accomplish what we have today, but we now have a functional setup that we are indeed proud of.
How does belonging to the SAC help companies make changes at the broader, systemic level?
If a whole industry shows a unified approach to sustainability beyond the individual companies efforts, the need and peer pressure for other industries to do so likewise increases.