Claudia Klingelhöfer
Claudia Klingelhöfer (editor in chief)

Sustainability: Five Outdoor Brands Give Insights

Several outdoor companies want to show guts for sustainability. The industry is a pioneer in business when it comes to sustainability strategies. There are several examples from the fields of environmental protection and social sustainability that influence corporate strategy. We surveyed five big firms on their definition of sustainability in corporate strategies.

Sustainability is also important for outdoor brands.
Sustainability is also important for outdoor brands.

“The best time to get started on the topic of sustainability is now,” says Joel Svedlund. He advises companies on sustainability strategies. Brands should incorporate the topic into their corporate strategy one step at a time. This may be expensive on one hand, but essential on the other, says Svedlund. Without a sustainability strategy, companies wouldn’t have a chance in the long run.

The following five companies granted a look into their initiatives and starting points: 

  • Löffler: Otto Leodolter, Managing Director of Löffler GmbH
  • Peak Performance: Mandarva Stenborg, Global PR and Communication Manager
  • Deuter: Martin Riebel, Managing Director of Deuter Sport GmbH and Schwan STABILO Outdoor GmbH
  • Black Diamond: Stephan Hagenbusch, Vice President of International Sales
  • Lowa: Alexander Nicolai, Head of Design and Development

Löffler: Production in Europe

Otto Leodolter is the managing director of Löffler GmbH; Löffler was founded in 1947 and initially specialized in knitwear. In 1973, Löffler was acquired by ski producer Fischer and aligned towards functional sportswear. Today, Löffler employs rough 200 workers.

Otto Leodolter, Managing Director at Löffler
Otto Leodolter, Managing Director at Löffler

“The topic of sustainability and responsibility has already been firmly anchored at Löffler for decades. For us, it isn’t a trend topic, but rather has been firmly connected with the corporate strategy since the beginning. In the early 1990s several competitors relocated their production to low-wage countries.

Löffler had already consciously decided to produce exclusively in Europe, and primarily at the company headquarters in Austria Out of responsibility to the people, the region, and the environment.”

Read the experts tips on how you can integrate sustainability into your company strategy >>>

Environmentally friendly production

“Responsibility and protecting the world in which we live are the highest priority for Löffler. STeP by Oeko-Tex certifies that Löffler steadily implements environmentally friendly production processes following the highest European standards.

Comprehensive waste separation and evaluation of waste products have already been self-evident for our company for a long time. After precise sorting, the waste materials are collected by a municipal company and professionally processed.”

Long-lasting and resource-efficient

“Waste products or remaining cartons, for example, go to neighboring schools or kindergartens for arts and crafts. Löffler has a special utilization for residual yarn: Special filters are knitted for a nearby company.

Or Löffler makes environmentally friendly heating using a geothermal port. The operative oil heating was decommissioned to save 40,000 liters of oil per year.

But what saves the most resources is definitely the fact that Löffler places high importance on long-lasting, high-quality products. And, in order to extend the lifespan of high-quality functional clothing even further, we offer a repair service.”


Peak Performance: Sustainability a core business

Peak Performance was founded in Åre, Sweden in 1986. Mandarva Stenborg is Global PR and Communication Manager. The company has 480 employees and a revenue of 155 million dollars.

“Sustainability is part of the core of our business. We have high standards and goals for our entire production. By now, sustainable aspects are a part of all of our products. We believe in an approach driven by values that place all people, the earth, and profit in the focus.” 

Deuter: With just two production partners

Martin Riebel is managing director of Deuter Sport GmbH and Schwan STABILO Outdoor GmbH. He’s been with the company for five years. Deuter was founded back in 1898. The company is known for several innovative developments in the backpack sector.

Martin Riebel, Managing Director of Deuter Sport GmbH & Schwan STABILO Outdoor GmbH
Martin Riebel, Managing Director of Deuter Sport GmbH & Schwan STABILO Outdoor GmbH

“Deuter is a member of the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF), whereby the company has committed to the FWF’s strict labor standards. This applies for all production locations, especially locations in low-wage countries. Fundamentally, Deuter has long since only worked with two production partners. They manufacture all of our products. The production centers are located in China, Vietnam, and Myanmar.

Read more articles on the topic of sustainability in the sports business here >>>

Deuter is a founding member of the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA). It’s also been part of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles since 2015 and a system partner of the bluesign environmental standards for textile products since 2008. Only down certified by the Responsible Down Standard have been used since June 2015.

The company headquarters in Gersthofen, Germany also meets high environmental standards. Details on the strategy can be found in the annually published Social Report.”

Black Diamond: Corporate responsibility since 2010

Stephan Hagenbusch is Vice President of International Sales at Black Diamond. The brand offers equipment for climbers and skiers, and was founded in 1989. Black Diamond is headquartered in Salt Lake City, USA. The European headquarters are in Innsbruck, Austria. Its yearly revenue is roughly 150 million dollars.

Stephan Hagenbusch, Vice President of International Sales at Black Diamond
Stephan Hagenbusch, Vice President of International Sales at Black Diamond


“Black Diamond is part of Black Diamond Inc., which sets standards for all of its brands with a company-wide code of conduct. For example, we’re bluesign-certified. 


We initiated the official Corporate Responsibility Program back in 2010. In doing so, we aim to monitor and ensure responsibility for the social and environmental compatibility of our grown brands, supply chains, and products. Black Diamond supports conservation projects, attempts to manufacture its products with low environmental pollution and, for example, performs lobbying work for natural conservation.”

Lowa: Fair production standards

Alexander Nicolai is Head of Design and Development at Lowa Sportschuhe GmbH. The company, headquartered in Jetzendorf in Bavaria, Germany, produces shoes in the mountain, outdoor, and travel segments. Lowa is a market leader in the mountain and outdoor shoes sectors in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The company has been owned by the Italian group Tecnica since 1993. All shoes are produced in Europe.

“The topic of sustainability has long since been a part of our company philosophy, and therefore hasn’t fundamentally changed our corporate strategy. However, in order to bundle all of the company’s CR measures, a company office for sustainability engagement was created in April 2015. This way, we can respond to stakeholder claims in a targeted way and expand our engagement.


Lowa has already put 100 percent of its focus on “Made in Europe” when producing its shoes for several years. We consider ourselves responsible for our production sites and shares the ILO's (International Labor Organization) assessment, which says: “A market regulated by a fair combination of rules and institutions is more efficient and brings benefits for all parties involved.”

The goal is to appeal to production partners to ensure ethical standards at the European production locations, such as guaranteeing adequate income for employees or important aspects of occupational safety and social standards. 

The quality, and therefore the durability, of the products is a deciding factor for our sustainable company philosophy.”

Share article
Claudia Klingelhöfer
Claudia Klingelhöfer (editor in chief)

Claudia Klingelhöfer
Claudia Klingelhöfer (editor in chief)