We make leading products
We produce technical mountain sports apparel and equipment for poeple that are passionate about the mountains. And our task is to make them responsibly.

Our highest priority is durability - our products are designed to provide security in extreme conditions and comfort that lasts. We keep this in mind from the first steps of product development. We're experts in creating products that embody the latest technology and material innovation. When making our products, we always try to leave as little trace as possible in the nature we love and enjoy - it's our greatest responsibility as product makers. 

Designing long-lasting products
The best product is that which perfectly matches performance and sustainability.

Chemical safety 

One of our top priorities is making sure our materials and products are safe for both humans and the environment. Our goal is to control the entire lifecycle of our products – from raw material, through the production process, to the finished product. We launched the new Oberalp Chemical Policy in 2018. It introduces a formal process to ban, or limit, the presence and use of hazardous substances in our products and production processes. This guarantees safety and compliance. The policy includes a list of chemicals that are excluded or limited from all our products (Restricted Substances List, RSL). All our brands’ products have to abide by the policy. It’s a central part of the Conditions of Purchase with our suppliers, and it’s mandatory at every stage of the production and distribution process. We conduct chemical tests on our products to ensure they meet our high standards and we also work with expert partners and third-party certifications, such as bluesign®. 

PFCs

Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) are a type of chemical compound used to make everyday products resistant to water, grease and stains. We use them in some of our technical products to ensure water repellence and permeability. PFCs guarantee best-in-class performance for technical apparel that needs to be both water-repellent and still allow humidity to exit. These qualities are crucial for professional mountain expeditions. Despite years of industry research, there’s still no technology that replicates the performance of PFCs.

PFCs have been criticised because, in high concentrations, they’ve been linked to negative health effects in humans and wildlife. They don’t easily degrade in nature and they travel easily through water and wind, becoming more concentrated along food chains. PFCs look like a snake, with a head and a long tail. Different types of PFCs have different tail lengths – the longer the tail, the stronger their ability to repel water, but also the more dangerous they are. That’s why we excluded all long-chain PFCs in 2014, as soon as we got to know of their negative effect.

We are constantly looking for alternatives to reduce our impact on the environment, while still protecting our users. The process we have put in place consists of restricting the use of the most dangerous PFCs, rethinking the need for water repellency treatments, replacing PFCs with available alternatives when possible, researching and reuniting with the industry and experts to find joint solutions. We’ve made a big leap towards reducing our use of PFCs. The number of apparel items where we're using PFC water-repellent treatment was reduced by 22% between 2018 and 2019. We continue to make great progress in the reduction across the board in PFCs. But in the lack of good alternatives and because we also have a responsibility to ensure the safety of mountaineers using our products, we continue to use PFCs in some of our products (only short-chain, C6).

Choosing the right materials 

We choose materials that make your excursions the most comfortable and less impactful to the environment. We are constantly pushing to find innovative materials with high quality features. We want to find the perfect balance between natural resources and the latest technologies. We are always doing research to bring new sustainable materials to the table, such as recycled or natural fibers.

Salewa is now focusing a lot on a resource coming straight from the heart of South Tyrol - wool. Find out more here.  

Animal welfare

We want to respect all living beings when making our products. Wool and down are the materials with animal origins that we use the most, and we take special care to ensure that the sheep, duck and geese are treated humanely. 

  • All of our wool suppliers guarantee to avoid mulesing, a practice that causes the animals pain. 

  • 100% of the down used in our brands’ products is certified by the Responsible Down Standard (RDS). This certification traces all the way back to the animal farm and guarantees that no animals have been live-plucked or slaughtered solely for sourcing feathers (but are a bi-product of the meat industry). 

 

Microfibers

Microfibres travel easily through air and water. They’re a huge environmental threat, which scientists are still only starting to understand. Some microfibres come from our clothes during production and use. Because they’re so tiny, washing machines and purification plants can’t filter them all and they end up in our ecosystems – and eventually in our food chains. We’ve been involved in finding solutions to this problem ever since we heard about it, supporting different research projects. Currently we’re involved in The Microfibre Consortium, founded by the European Outdoor Group in early 2017, and the Textile Mission’s project to find out how we can measure and reduce our impact. 

While we, as producers, must turn these technical solutions into action, there are many things that you, as a consumer, can do to improve the situation.

What can you do to help stop microfibers? 

  1. Wash your clothes less often. 

  2. Let your clothes drip dry.

  3. Always fill your washing machine.

  4. Buy a guppyfriend bag. 

Want to know more?
Read up
Read more on our latest Sustainability Report in the downloads section.
Reports & Downloads
Get in touch
Contact our sustainability team if you have any questions or requests.
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