COP27 : a greener outdoor industry

So, COP27. Twelve months since COP26, when nations adopted the Glasgow Climate Pact, aiming to turn the 2020s into a decade of climate action and support.

Members of the Re-Action Collective are working to do exactly that within the active outdoor industry, based on our manifesto of principles supporting a greener future for our planet.

WhoSki.com is an active member of the Re-Action group. You can read the manifesto below.

As COP 26 President Alok Sharma says: “It is critical that we do everything within our means to keep 1.5C in reach, as we promised in the Glasgow Climate Pact.”

Every action that we as an industry and as individuals can take is another step towards a more sustainable future.

The Re-Action Collective Manifesto

Re-Action says:

👉 We cannot continue to consume products in the way we are doing today.

🌱 Our manifesto represents system change. A change towards better maintenance of our kit, a change towards repair, reuse, rental, repurpose and a desire to find other circular solutions that will keep us playing in the outdoors.

🌿 Join us!

👉 As an individual, pledge to buy once, and buy well. Maintain and repair your gear, donate or resell it responsibly once you have finished with it. Support a Re-Action member.

👉 As a business, open conversations with your suppliers, introduce a second-hand rail, find a way to provide repair services to your customers, offer rental, identify and reduce waste

Is the snowsports industry ready for a sustainable future?

As Sally hurtled off to the Mountain Trade Network‘s autumn LISTEX conference at The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead last week, delegates were revving up for a debate on how the snowsports industry is waking up to sustainable options for the future.

The panel covered a range of topics including ski and snowboard clothing, climate change, aiming for net zero, and what seems to always be the most contentious item for the wintersports industry: the transport you use to get to your ski resort.

Sally’s top learnings from the debate:

1 Switzerland has a transparent approach to sustainability

Ski giant Switzerland has opted for an umbrella approach to sustainability, providing resorts, hotels and other key snow sports businesses with clear directives on how to develop their green credentials.

For visitors it’s easy to understand, as businesses will be awarded three level ‘badges’: Level 3 – Leading; Level 2 – Engaged; and Level 1 – Committed. It is a simple way to judge how far down the sustainability route a Swiss business, service provider or destination has travelled.

2 You can’t do everything immediately, so aim for manageable targets en route to net zero

It can be all-consuming trying to do everything at once, so a business aiming for net zero should break down its actions into manageable, achievable goals. Charlie Cotton from ecollective calls this the ‘7% rule’, whereby you make regular 7% improvements on the road to net zero.

Extra good news: HotelPlan, which owns ski holiday brands including Inghams and Esprit, has signed up to reach net zero: a big shout out to them.

3 Climate change is affecting resorts already

According to University of Surrey sustainability PhD student Harry Rice, there is growing concern over the impact of increasing temperatures on lower snowsports resorts, the pressure climate change will put on higher resorts and the impact of increased temperatures on the slopes.

Ski resorts are starting to look at how they adapt to this change, weighing up social and economic progress and how the adaptations could impact more heavily on the mountain environment.

4 More of us are driving to the slopes (and it’s easy by EV…)

James Gambrill from the Ski Club of Great Britain presented figures showing that post-pandemic more of us have driven to the mountains.

Reasons for this are unclear, however. Is it because of an increase in airline flight cancellations, passenger worries about catching Covid, price hikes or are we starting to think ‘greener’ in our travel choices?

On a positive note, the ease of driving an EV to the ski slopes is aided by improved EV charging facilities through France.

5 Young people positively embrace BUYING secondhand ski CLOTHES

It is estimated that 64% of young people prefer to buy secondhand clothes. Not just because they are more affordable, but also for the bragging rights: pre-loved fashion is very much on trend and growing across the market.

It’s time to feed that demand. Clear out your ski clothes from your wardrobe. List them for sale (at WhoSki.com, obviously). Lend them, mend them, re-use or re-sell them. Just make sure you don’t allow your ski jackets, ski pants and salopettes to end up in landfill.

Fact: ski textiles are likely to be around long after many of us have stopped skiing. 

Expert panel

The eclectic panel of international speakers at LISTEX included Charlie Cotton from travel consultancy ecollective, Myriam Ziesack of the Swiss tourist board which runs Swisstainable, Harry Rice, climate change and sustainability PhD student, our own Sally Warren, co-founder of WhoSki.com, and Iain Martin of SkiFlightFree.

LISTEX, the London International Ski Trade Exchange, is a B2B event that brings together many of the movers and shakers in the snowsports world, from industry leaders to independent specialists.

Thank you to The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead, for hosting and Babsi Lapwood of the Mountain Trade Network for organising.

Get repairing – with Re-Action

We are throwing WhoSki.com’s support behind the #ReAction10000repairs challenge, which launches today.

Reckon your sewing is up to mending a simple repair, extending the life of a garment, supporting the sustainable economy? Even if you don’t think you can manage it yourself, try finding a local repair shop – maybe your local dry cleaner? – that can help out.

The Re-Action Collective aims to log 10,000 repairs by the end of 2022. The goal is to normalize the practice of bringing clothing and equipment back to use through repair, rather than throwing them away.

Reduce waste, cut emissions

Why? Because as a planet we have finite resources: we simply must make our stuff last longer. It’s a way to reduce waste, cut carbon emissions and limit the effects of climate change.

It’s another step, like selling on your ski clothing once you no longer want / need it, thinking about buying secondhand before you buy new, or renting an item rather than purchasing it. A means of extending the life of an existing item.

log your repairs

What are you waiting for? It’s time to get handy and start fixing the planet one item at a time. Find out how to get involved at ReAction’s 10,000 repairs page here.

And once it’s repaired, perhaps that ski garment might even be good enough to sell on at WhoSki.com when season 2022/23 comes around…

WhoSki.com join SATI (Sustainable Alpine Tourism Initiative): how to green up your wintersports habit

WhoSki.com was delighted to join a panel of major players in the snowsports field for last month’s virtual SATI conference.

SATI is the Sustainable Alpine Tourism Initiative which promotes knowledge sharing and collaboration on sustainability in alpine tourism. The circular economy was a focus for this conference. It’s exactly what we are trying to promote in the wintersports clothing sector by enabling you to buy and sell preloved items from your ski and snowboard wardrobe, extend their lifecycle and keep them out of landfill. Find out more about our eco-motivations.

Our SATI webinar back in December discussed the impact of mountain tourism and how to make the right choice for the environment when enjoying snowsports. Here are some of the tips we picked up from the event:

1 Booking your ski holiday

Look for a smaller, specialist company which works with specific resorts and can book you into accommodation providers with established sustainability plans to reduce their carbon impact. For example, bookdifferent.com will give you a “staygreencheck” rate, public reviews and carbon footprints as well as clear top tips for responsible holidays. The platform is simple and easy to use.
If you book though a major ski company, ask what they are doing to reduce environmental impact, how they are working with resorts and why they don’t do more to help consumers understand how to #SkiGreen.

2 Travel to your ski resort

Flight costs look likely to rise in the wake of last year’s enforced shutdown, plus we all know the environmental damage air travel causes. Driving might be tempting from a Covid-secure point of view, but the train is your most eco-friendly alternative.
Visit snowcarbon.co.uk for timetable information and travel options to your chosen resort. They’ve done the hard work to make booking easier for you. Or follow theskipodcast.com where host and creator Ian Martin touches on many snowsports-related topics, including vehicle-free resorts.

3 Do your research

Attend the www.NationalSnowShow.com this autumn. The #SkiGreen agenda will be a big part of their offering at the show at the NEC in October 2021 with input from a number of emerging green companies across the whole snowsports sector. Come along and find out more.
PS: bring your preloved ski clothing – WhoSki.com will be present to help keep your jackets and pants out of landfill and in circulation. We’ll be providing more info closer to the date.

4 Dress green

No longer wanted wintersports clothing is notoriously difficult to recycle with its mixed fabrics, coatings, zips and fastenings. That’s why so many brands are now using sustainable materials in their collections. But however eco your clothing’s credentials, re-use always beats recycle. Ensuring every item of clothing gets the maximum number of wears should be your goal.
That’s why we created WhoSki.com as the online marketplace where you can buy and sell good quality secondhand ski and snowboard clothing. Perfect for families and students on a budget. It’s also the ideal solution for Instagrammers wanting to snap a different look every day for their channel.

Look out too for brands like Planks, Picture, Surfdome and EcoSki which offer transparency in manufacturing and sustainability credentials. Some brands will repair damaged clothing including Patagonia and Norrøna. In Scotland, try Scottish Mountain Gear.
Even skis are going green, with some marques using wood and other natural materials to make them increasingly recyclable.

5 Get your voice heard!

Finally, we recommend you sign up to protectourwinters.uk which is lobbying government and business to act on the environmental impacts of wintersports. Follow us on twitter @wewhoski for more eco-ski inspo, and spread the word: it might just be the best thing you do this winter while ski and snowboarding is off limits.

Expert #SkiGreen tips from our webinar

We were delighted to assemble a super-knowledgeable panel of experts for our #SkiGreen webinar today, so we couldn’t let them get away without sharing their quick tips for improving your eco profile on the piste. Perfect timing for #WorldEnvironmentDay, and with one proviso: no one was allowed to promote their own business.

Our experts’ #SkiGreen tips:

1 Keep harmful microfibres out of the waste stream: use a Guppy bag when you wash your clothing.
Rachael Westbrook, Founder of EcoSki clothing

2 Choose veggie or vegan food when you can, even while out on the mountain, to help make best use of the world’s resources.
Iain Martin, Founder of Ski Flight Free and presenter of The Ski Podcast

3 Take the train to the slopes – it’s more fun, less hassle and massively reduces your carbon footprint.
Jim Stewart, Founder and MD, BUTTA eco ski/board wax

4 Favour resorts that use renewable energy (there are plenty of them)
Peter Speight, Team GB Olympic freestyle skier and account executive Futerra

5 Don’t wash ski clothes more than you have to – spot clean hot chocolate or vin chaud stains rather than putting the whole thing through the machine.
Nicola Davenport, Co-founder, WhoSki.com

6 Provide environmental feedback to your ski resort, operator, supplier as it will encourage them to do the right things and address the things they are getting wrong.
Daniel Elkan, Founder of Snowcarbon and sustainable travel journalist

Circular Economy Week, London 2020

The WhoSki.com #SkiGreen webinar, chaired by WhoSki.com Co-founder Sally Warren, formed part of this year’s ‘virtual’ CE Week London, with a a series of snappy presentations from our expert panellists followed by a Q&A session.

Topics covered included:

  • how to spot a ‘green’ ski resort
  • why we should all choose environmentally conscious wintersports clothing
  • how to organise your ski train trip to the mountains
  • why secondhand is no longer second rate when it comes to pre-loved
  • why PFCs are ‘the forever chemical’
  • how we can protect our mountains for the next generation

Many thanks to all who took part, Circular London for proving us with a slot at this prestigious event, and Sustainable Merton for supporting us with the advice and tech expertise that powered the #SkiGreen webinar.

Watch the video of our #SkiGreen webinar: 

https://youtu.be/ZfiL6yiNme4

Read the presentations:

See also: 3 ways to #SkiGreen this and every season

How to ski greener in 2020/21

Much of the ski industry has been slow to deliver greener options for skiers and snowboarders, but there are resorts, organisations and businesses which are starting to make a mark and lead the way for change.

Co-founders of Wimbledon-based WhoSki.com Sally Warren and Nicola Davenport were invited by Sustainable Merton to discuss the circular economy, how the wintersports clothing we purchase impacts on the environment, some of the moves forward in the industry, and how a few changes can make your ski habits greener.

The eye-watering facts:

  • the PFC chemicals in outdoor clothing are harmful to wildlife
  • it can take up to 200 years for the polyester used in ski wear to break down
  • 23% of the clothes in the average Londoner’s wardrobe are NEVER worn
  • 70% of snow cover globally could disappear by the year 2100

Top tips for a greener ski habit, from the WhoSki webinar:

  • take the train or drive to the slopes rather than fly
  • take your own water bottle
  • choose a green resort (some are wind- and solar-powered)
  • choose a car-free resort (eg Avoriaz, Les Arcs 1950)
  • use a sustainable travel agent and offset your trip
  • buy good as new secondhand ski clothing – and sell it on when you no longer need it
  • insist on eco-friendly ski and snowboard wax (toxic hydrocarbon waxes leach chemicals into the snow which can end up in the water table)
  • choose a clothing range that uses recycled/eco-friendly materials when buying new (eg Planks, Picture)  – and check whether it can be recycled

Find out more:

To see the WhoSki webinar presentation in full CLICK HERE 
To see a PDF of our presentation CLICK HERE 

If you want to get in contact with us, please email us at info@whoski.com

Happy green skiing!
Sally and Nicola, Co-founders, WhoSki.com.

3 ways to #SkiGreen this and every season

1 Avoid flying to the mountains

According to train travel to the slopes website SnowCarbon, 73% of a ski resort’s carbon emissions emanate from the method of transport used by visitors. Swapping to train will cut up to 90% of the CO₂ versus flying there, they say.
Switching from plane to train is not only the most eco-friendly way to travel, but also the most civilised. You will know this if you have ever taken the snow train rather than fought your way through Geneva or Chambery airports, or driven the 1000 km across France to the Alps (at the same time as thousands of others).
The SkiFlightFree.org website cites figures from sustainability consultancy Antithesis Group that indicate flying to the Alps generates 6-7 times as much carbon as travelling by train:

Image: SkiFlightFree.org

If you’re travelling at half term, a family of four is likely to spend 50% less on the train then flying. The car journey will be even cheaper, even after you’ve factored in the Eurotunnel crossing, an overnight stop and fuel.

TIP: if you are planning to swap plane for train, book early as key dates sell out fast.

2 Wash your ski clothing less

Every time you wash your ski clothing, it releases microplastics that wash through the drains into our rivers and oceans putting marine life at risk. Polyester is a major culprit.

Avoid washing it unnecessarily, spot clean where and when needed rather than putting the whole item into the washing machine, and hang items up to air at the end of every day – and particularly at the end of your ski holiday. You may find that you can completely avoid putting jackets, pants and salopettes through the wash completely.

For polyester and other man-made fibre items that need laundering, use a product such as a Guppy bag, designed to catch any microfibres which shed during the washing process.

TIP: Washing your clothing less often will also help it last longer.

3 Buy and sell secondhand ski clothing

Some £140 million of unwanted clothing goes into landfill each year, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). Not only this is a terrible waste, but it also means toxins from dumped clothing slowly leach into the earth, and thence also our waterways and oceans.

Synthetics, like those which comprise most of your ski and wintersports wardrobe, are among the worst offenders. Not only do they not biodegrade, but they also reply on petrochemical industries, ie fossil fuels, for their raw materials.

It is vital for the environment, therefore, that they remain in usage for as long as possible. Extending the lifetime of clothing items by just a few months leads to a reduction in the carbon footprint of every item. Passing on a no longer wanted/needed piece of ski or snowboard clothing to another wintersports enthusiast means you are helping cut clothing production levels, albeit in a small way. Your old is someone else’s new: this is the principle behind the circular economy in fashion.

And that is, of course, why WhoSki.com exists. Support us – support the planet. Visit the WhoSki.com shop.

TIP: Always buy and sell kids’ ski clothing secondhand. It is generally good as new and costs a fraction of the price.