One of the top priorities of the Oberalp Group is to ensure that its materials and products use the best available technology, and the chemicals used are safe for both humans and the environment. By establishing requirements and standards stricter than those imposed by the Law, the Oberalp Chemical Policy drives supplier and material sourcing and is essential for assessing compliance through extensive testing. In 2020 the Italian company conducted more than 4,500 chemical tests with external laboratories. An important challenge facing the outdoor industry is the use of PFCs (perfluorinated chemicals) for water and oil repellency treatments. “We are determined to replace them and are constantly looking for alternatives to reduce our impact on the environment, while still protecting our users. We have been able to make important progress on our apparel and textile equipment” says Alexandra Letts, Sustainability Manager at Oberalp. Oberalp’s milestones on the replacement of PFCs: in 2019 all Pomoca skins became PFC- Free and from 2020, all Powertex membranes of Salewa apparel are PFC-Free; and the collection of the new mountain sports brand for and by women LaMunt is 100% free of PFCs.
The Oberalp Group published its sixth sustainability report “Contribute” highlighting the hot topics of 2020: chemical safety, human rights, and circularity. In addition to the report, the group and its six mountain sports brands Salewa, Dynafit, Pomoca, Wild Country, Evolv, and LaMunt developed a practical digital handbook with tips on sustainable behavior in the mountains.
The well-being of people is at the center of the attention of the company first, we mean everyone who is involved in making our products – not just our employees
In 2020, the non-profit organization “Fair Wear Foundation” (FWF) awarded Oberalp the “Leader” status for the fourth year in a row. This prestigious distinction goes to brands who are doing exceptionally well and operate at an advanced level towards safe and fair working conditions in textile factories. “Fair Wear is a tough judge and challenges us to take our work a step further every year. And this is exactly what motivates us”, explains Letts.
Open and honest communication is important for Oberalp and its brands. Being transparent is more than just revealing where in the world the production is located. It is about creating an honest relationship with consumers and sharing information to identify, resolve and prevent human rights issues in the supply chain. As part of this journey towards more transparent communication, Oberalp publishes a yearly Social Report. In 2019 the brand Salewa launched a platform with photos and information on the factories where the brand’s products are made.
In 2020, Oberalp continued to work towards circularity, by embedding processes that switch from the take-make-dispose economy, we have been living until now, and gear towards a circular one instead. From the design of their products to the increase in lifetime, in 2020 important steps have been done in this direction. For example, by designing smart constructions that enable disassembly and repair, increasing the availability of spare parts and offering recondition and repair services to guarantee the longevity of the Oberalp brand products. Dynafit offers a lifetime guarantee for its bindings, since 2019 and will extend this to other product ranges. Salewa offers a range of spare parts and Evolv is famous for its re-soling service. For all textile products and footwear, the company offers repair services internally and through external partners.
For more detailed information on Oberalp’s sustainability work, visit their online sustainability documents: