Ortovox clothing is all about wool and as a commitment to fair wool the company has developed its own Wool Promise. Katrin Bauer, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, reveals why launching their own standard was crucial
Since Ortovox was founded in 1980, it has been the Bavarian company’s mission to provide top-quality protection for alpine pursuits.
Since 1988, Ortovox’s core competence has been the combination of the natural material wool with other innovative fibres and materials in every layer of the clothing system. Ortovox strives to produce highly functional products offering the best possible protection and maximum comfort.
Its target group is made up of those who participate in the mountain sports of ski touring, free touring, freeriding, climbing, alpine touring and mountaineering. Its passion for untouched powder snow on ski tours shapes the brand just as much as shared experiences when alpine climbing, on alpine tours or mountain hikes.
Can you explain the Ortovox Wool Promise and what this means?
Ortovox clothing is all about wool. That’s why after more than two years of talks with wool farmers, suppliers and producers, Ortovox initiated its own wool standard: the Ortovox Wool Promise (OWP). Our nominated wool farms are audited according to the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS). In addition, Ortovox brings together the OWP farmers at a roundtable every year to share best animal welfare and farming practices. This year, the animal welfare organisation Four Paws also attended the roundtable for the first time, making it an even more valuable event for all participants.
Why did you decide to launch your own wool standard?
It is becoming increasingly important for the end consumer to know where the product comes from. At the same time, the wool supply chain is extremely difficult to control and track. We developed OWP audits to get a deeper understanding of the situation on sheep farms and to work together with our partners, the wool farmers, on continuous improvements. We now use RWS audits on farm level but go beyond auditing with our annual OWP roundtable.
What ‘promises’ does the standard include?
Based upon the RWS, the OWP takes an even more extensive approach. The OWP focuses upon animal welfare, farm and land management, and slaughter and transport. The OWP consists of four promises: no mulesing, protecting nature, personal relationships and transparency all the way to the source. These four promises put the protection of
animals, nature, and people at the centre of everything we do. That’s why they focus upon sustainable agriculture and guarantee that we will categorically refrain from mulesing.
How do you ensure the standards are being met by your farms?
The farms are audited according to the RWS every year by a certified, independent auditor. Ortovox staff attend these audits and dive into deep discussion with the farmers and animal welfare groups to achieve tangible improvements for sheep and nature.
Why is being sustainable and transparent important to you?
Sustainability is a core value of Ortovox as a brand but also on an individual level for the people who work there. We believe that transparency is the path to increased sustainability and have developed our sustainability strategy ProtACT2024 to follow that path.
For more information about Ortovox and its Ortovox Wool Promise, visit www.ortovox.com