Klättermusen, the Swedish company that sells outdoor clothes, sleeping bags and packs, launched an ECO-index last year. The ECO-index lists the impact a product has on the environment, and includes whether the product can be recycled. The idea behind ECO-index is to make it easier for consumers to compare products.
The ECO-index uses ten environmental criteria to assess a product, and then calculates a percentage which will state how much more needs to be done until the product is completely environmentally-friendly. The product receives one point for each criteria it meets, then the points are added and assessed against the potential maximum points to determine the percentage. The criteria include the life of the product, biodegradability, whether it is manufactured from natural non-fossil materials, and whether it can be recycled.
The Bilskirner Jacket ranks 100 percent on the ECO-index. Its shell is made of certified organic cotton, and its overlays are made of 100 percent fluorocarbon-free, recyclable polyester fabric. Klättermusen will offer a 10 Euro refund when jacket returned for recycling. The company offers up to a 20 Euro refund for every product returned for recycling. The only drawback to the Bilskirner jacket is its price: it will retail for 441 Euro, about $600.
Klättermusen seeks to use more environmentally-friendly processes in making its products. The company avoids the use of fluorocarbon water repellant surface treatments, and Teflon waterproof laminates. It uses recycled nylon fabrics for their packs.
“We want to have an environmental classification in which we self-critically inform the consumer how far we have come with our environmental work on each item. The ECO-index is also an internal yardstick with which the company can see if it is doing a good job,” said Peter Askulv, Klättermusen’s founder and MD.
“We didn’t want to wait for legislation or for governmental bodies to produce ‘the perfect environmental marking’. The ECO-index is not a perfect system, but it is good enough to be usable and informative for the consumer. As we increase our knowledge we will be including this in the calculation. And we are challenging others in the industry to follow our example – They are welcome to copy our system,” said Askulv.