A Cradle to Cradle Study at Klättermusen

University essay from Mittuniversitetet/Institutionen för teknik och hållbar utveckling

Abstract: This study has been carried out at Klättermusen, a Swedish company producing outdoor clothingand equipment with a focus on durability, safety, function and environment. The purpose of thethesis was to investigate if Klättermusen should use Cradle to Cradle (C2C) in their sustainabilitywork. This was reviewed by studying the working procedure, by making a case study, byinvestigating if there are alternative ways to practise C2C, by studying the weak points of theC2C-certification and by investigating the compatibility with other sustainability tools.The C2C vision is inspired by the ecosystems and is based on the three rules Waste equals food, Usecurrent solar income and Celebrate diversity. An important aspect of C2C is the focus on attaining apositive impact on humans and the environment instead of doing things less bad by minimizingemissions. To make it possible for companies to communicate their effort and progress to theircustomers and become more competitive a C2C certification has been elaborated. The core ofthe certification is an assessment of the materials included in the product to make sure they aresecure, healthy and recyclable. Other parts included in the certification are energy, water andsocial aspects.When studying the C2C certification three of Klättermusen’s products were used as references.To certify these products Klättermusen has to gather information from their suppliers and makestrategies regarding Materials, Material Reutilization, Energy, Water and Social Responsibility. Forexample all the substances that contained in the garment at a concentration of at least 0.01 %must be reported, which means that all suppliers must be requested to list their substances. Thecertification cost of a pair of pants investigated in this study was estimated to 54 500 €.An assessment was made to find alternative ways to practise C2C and identify weak points of theC2C certification. It is based on interviews held with Jenny Pfau working for EPEA and threepersons in contact with C2C in their work; Kjersti Kviseth, Magnus Hedenmark and RichardBlume. According to Jenny Pfau Klättermusen can practise C2C by making a screening, a detailedassessment or a workshop. Both Magnus Hedenmark and Richard Blume practise the frameworkof The Natural Step and think that the C2C certification should be used as a tool within theframework. Some weak points found by these persons in the certification are that it is timeconsuming,not transparent enough and lack of a systems perspective.The C2C certification was compared with bluesign, a sustainability standard for the textileindustry, and Eco Index, a sustainability tool made for the outdoor industry. The purpose was toinvestigate if the C2C certification is compatible with other tools and the compared aspects weremainly lifecycle stages, impact categories and level of detail, but also purpose, procedure,workload, required knowledge and experience, cost, credibility and transparency.Both strengths and weaknesses were found when studying the C2C certification. It has got apositive approach to sustainability and develops safe products from a chemical perspective buthas a lack of systems perspective, is costly and time-consuming. The compatibility of the toolswas discussed with the comparison as a basis. Eco Index is modular and could be adjusted tocomplement the C2C certification but both tools have a big workload. bluesign and the C2Ccertification include the same lifecycle stages but have different strengths, which could makethem complementing each but possibly contradictive.Klättermusen is recommended to make a sustainability vision of their future products and thenchoose which tools to use. Since Klättermusen is already a bluesign system partner it could be agood idea to complement bluesign with Eco Index and C2C, but this choice should depend onthe future vision.

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