2. Materiality

The company discloses the aspects of its business operations that have a significant impact on sustainability issues and what material impact sustainability issues have on its operations. It analyses the positive and negative effects and provides information as to how these insights are integrated into the company’s processes.

In our CSR Report 2021 we describe how our sourcing strategy (own production in Europe and USA but also contracting in Europe, USA, and Asia), the way we produce our products and the way how we distribute, sell and ship our goods impacts material sustainability issues. On page 8 a revised materiality matrix is presented. The axes of the materiality matrix show the significant influence on decisions of stakeholders as well as the significance of environmental, economic and social impacts and therefore reflects the impact our business has on certain aspects and what we are impacted by. Climate change for example is one issue which covers both perspectives: Through the consequences of climate change, we might not sell specific products any longer because there is a lower demand. On the other hand, suppliers might not be able to implement productions because of certain climate conditions. Thus, there are impacts through and on our business activities. 

We are a company that aims at having full control over the value chain. We are operating own production sites, have an own retail network and our own online channels. However, we are also in the B2B business and do use agents or distributors in various locations. Against this background, we are a bit different from the general structure of our industry. We are an outdoor company, mainly producing textile equipments and, hence, face the same challenges as the general textile industry: lack of transparency in the supply chain (labor rights, human rights, wages), heavy reliance on synthetics and cotton resources, water use in dying processes, chemical use to achieve functionality, and operations in risk countries. However, since 2012 we have established tight controls, moved out of high-risk countries and shifted high amounts of our materials to recycled or organic sources. Our chemical management goes far beyond REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation of Chemicals) and is often a challenge for testing companies and suppliers alike. The retail arm is actively communicating sustainability attributes of products or policies of the industry to customers and users through "A Greener Choice" or appropriate articles and Podcast ("Neue Horizonte" - Germany). In our strategy 2025 we have identified climate protection (sourcing of renewable energy, efficient transportation, resource use reduction, innovative technologies) as one of the core areas we want to address and we have made progress we report. We also identified circularity, reduction of packaging and input materials of questionable origin as well as risk countries (defined no-gos) as areas, we are constantly addressing. We also want to engage people (walking with nature) and involve them in a more sustainable lifestyle through our internal "A Greener Choice" system, as it becomes visible in the 2021 CSR report.

At the Group level, our brands and retail companies developed a common and streamlined program of focus areas. We have addressed social compliance matters throughout the supply chain and within our own organization, in particular by carrying through on the recommendations we have received from our partners at the Fair Labor Association (FLA). As climate change is a global challenge, we now have the right resources, allowing us to address the importance of climate mitigation and positive climate action. In 2021, we conducted our yearly energy survey of all our retail operations in Europe and have begun to dive deeper into our Scope 3 emissions, which we are now capturing and calculating more and more.

To exemplify our materiality approach: Impacts of climate change will lead to a change in our product range and eventually the moving of sourcing and storage operations. There are risks (loss in market share) but also opportunities (new products, sellable in more markets). Outdoor companies can adapt quickly to changes and so can we. We see an increasing interest in the outdoors in various societies, leading to increased sales. The equipment needed becomes lighter and makes nature more accessible. On the other hand: through an extended production in various locations globally, we have an impact on resources used, transportation and by that also on climate change. Our aim is to reduce negative direct and indirect impacts -> see the chapters of our CSR Report explicitly dealing with Climate change and our resource strategy.