World of materials
Great products are built with great materials. When it comes to sustainability, materials matter. The major environmental impact of our products is determined by the materials we choose. From fibre production to yarn preparation, fabric production through to dyeing and finishing, every step in the process has an impact on the products’ environmental footprint including carbon emissions and water use. By focusing on materials in our product responsibility strategy, we can have the biggest impact.
ODLO material principles
ODLO is committed to long-lasting products. We take great care in selecting top-quality materials, as this lays the foundation for creating products that are designed to last.
When it comes to materials, we recognise that working together in collaboration with other stakeholders allows us to drive greater impact in reaching our goals.
Most materials used in our products are synthetic. To reduce the impact of these materials we have a step-by-step approach of replacing virgin materials, such as polyester, with recycled alternatives (e.g. from post-consumer PET bottles). We only work with reliable sources that are certified by international recognised certification such as Global Recycled Standard (GRS).
Preferred manmade cellulosic fibers
When using manmade cellulosic fibres, like TENCEL™ Lyocell, we choose responsible partners such as Lenzing, where the entire production chain is transparent and extremely environmentally friendly. In doing this, we can eliminate risks of deforestation and water pollution in the production process of conventional cellulosic fibres.
Sustainable dyeing and finishing process
Looking at the production chain of a fabric, the dyeing process uses the most water and energy. In 2020, ODLO introduced the sustainable anti-odor finish Zeroscent. For our F-DRY range we use miDori bioWick, a bio-based wicking finish.
ODLO is committed to ensuring that these natural products are obtained using fair production methods. Practices such as “mulesing” are strictly forbidden when sourcing wool. The down used is a by-product of the meat production industry and is guaranteed to not involve live plucking or force-feeding.
Oekotex Standard 100
ODLO only works with material suppliers who are ekotex and/or bluesign-certified, have their own certified testing facilities, or work very closely with an independent laboratory. Not only the materials, but also the entire garments of the company’s underwear and base layer ranges are certified with Oekotex Standard 100.
PFC free (PFOA/PFOS free)
Per- and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFC or PFAS) are fluorocarbon connections that possess unique water and fat rejecting properties, and because of this, they are frequently found in DWR (Durable Water Resistance) treatments used on outdoor clothing. Where possible, we avoid the use of PFOA/PFOS in our water-repellent finishes. We are proud that 90% of ODLO products with a DWR (durable water-repellent) finish are treated using a fluorocarbon-free product and it is our goal to achieve 100% PFC Free for all our water-repellent products.
PVC and nickel free
ODLO does not use PVC or nickel in our products.
Local to local – short distances
We do our best to ensure that materials are generally sourced from regions close to the manufacturing site in order to reduce carbon emissions from unnecessary transportation.
The ODLO Eco label
Our Eco-tagged products are made from recycled or sustainable sources. Performance-ready pieces carefully crafted with sustainability in mind. From shipping to manufacturing. Materials to circularity. Every step brings us closer to our sustainability goals.
When does an ODLO product receive the Eco label?
The rules that determine if a style receives the Eco label are as follows:
- Eco Label = Minimum 50% of the main fabric composition is TENCEL (a man-made cellulosic fibre) *
- Eco Label = Minimum 50% of the main fabric composition is RECYCLED synthetic material, excluding trims and insulation **
* In case of a blend: regardless of the fibre used in the blend, if the total recycled amount is 50% or more, it can be labelled Eco.
** In the case of insulated jackets, the insulation filling type (natural or synthetic) does not impact the overall assessment.
Be aware of what you wear
Our slogan, ‘Be aware of what you wear’, is designed to make our consumer more aware of the importance of sustainably produced clothing.
By focusing on material changes in our best-selling products, we achieved an incredible 51% of our materials being produced using preferred materials such as recycled polyester/polyamide or Tencel in our SS and FW21 collections.
As part of its long-term evolution towards sustainable material use, ODLO released a new base layer collection rooted in performance and made from materials that minimise environmental impact. In FW21, 96% of this base layer collection is made with recycled and natural content.
Blackcomb Eco – recycled polyester
The highlight of the ODLO base layer performance collection - crafted to deliver exceptional thermal insulation and moisture management through body mapping structures. Made from 88% recycled materials (68% recycled polyester, 15% recycled polyamide and 5% recycled elastane), these garments deliver high-performance whilst creating a noticeably smaller environmental footprint.
Active Light Eco – recycled polyester
The Active Light Eco line adds the fast-drying F-Dry technology to the lightweight and sustainable properties of the Active category. The yarn composition is 92% recycled polyester.
Active Warm Eco – recycled polyester
We use 100% recycled material in our classic sports underwear lines: Active Warm Eco, Active Warm Originals Eco, and Active X-Warm Eco version. On average, 13 recycled 0.5-litre PET bottles are used to make one Active Warm Eco base layer.
Performance Warm Eco – holistic sustainability concept
We converted our top-selling Performance Warm underwear line to recycled raw materials. To reflect this change, the line is now called Performance Warm Eco.
These highly functional shirts and pants contain 100% recycled, post-consumer polyester, 90% recycled elastane from production waste and 50% recycled polyamide from manufacturing waste.
Not only is the main material made from recycled sources, but the sewing thread and all other trims used are also made from recycled sources. Even the logo is integrated in the knitting process rather than using the conventional heat transfer. In fact, the size label is biodegradable, the care label uses recycled material, and the box is made out of recycled carton, too.
In total, the use of recycled polyester in SS21 and FW21 saved the production of 2.195.532 meters (2195 km) of new polyester material, eliminating the need to extract additional petroleum. Instead, our raw material comes from recycled PET beverage bottles and plastic waste, which are returned to the production cycle without any loss of quality, as the basis for high-quality functional clothing.
Minimising your environmental footprint when using ODLO products
Each washing of clothes consumes water and energy. In fact, 20% of a product’s total life environmental impact is generated by the laundry we do at home. Following applicable washing instructions also significantly extends the life of clothing. Because of this, we at ODLO want to support the customer in properly caring for their ODLO gear. General recommendations can be found on the sewn-in care label with information that is customised for each product. As the information is limited by the label’s space, we added a QR code onto each garment. This QR code is linked to our website, where the customer can find more information on how to best care for their ODLO products. These tips not only extend the lifespan of the sportswear, but also help minimise the environmental impact created when caring for our clothes. What is good for the environment is also good for your ODLO gear.
Reduce microfibre release when washing your ODLO gear
Textile microfibres from synthetic fabrics account for more than one-third of microplastics in the ocean. Research has shown that these microplastics accumulate in the environment and especially in the ocean (found in plankton and fish which then make their way into the food chain) but also in the air and even in the tissues of the human body, according to latest research. The full environmental impact of microfibres is still not determined, but first steps must be taken now.
As a first step, we, as a brand, are tackling the material production process, through testing our highest-volume materials to determine the level of fibre release and analysing wastewater at our strategic material partners. While global research on microfibre release continues, we have some recommendations on how you can personally contribute to reducing microfibre shedding during wash.
Consumer washing advice to reduce microfibre release
- Wash less, when possible, air out and before full washing, spot clean your ODLO gear
- Fill up your washing machine: A full wash load means less friction between the clothes, so they are less damaged and release fewer fibres
- Use liquid wash detergent as powder detergents increase fibre release
- Keep the temperature down, best at 30 or 40 degrees
- Use short wash cycles: The shorter the better for your sports gear
- Reduce the rotation speed of the spin cycle, higher speeds mean more friction creating fibre release
- Do not wash hard items (such as running shoes) in the same load with clothes
- Do not use a dryer: air dry them and if drying is necessary, discard lint into garbage, not sink
- Use the Guppyfriend washing bag from STOP! Microwaste to collect microfibres when you wash your ODLO gear, available here: guppyfriend.com
Circularity is one of the key areas where ODLO is focusing its future goals when it comes to our sustainability strategy. We have several ongoing circularity projects including post-production waste reduction, a sustainable innovation team striving to make ODLO more circular, the ODLO Take Back Program, as well as 3D sampling. Find out more about these initiatives here.