2020 Sustainaibility Report

Welcome to our first Annual Sustainability Report.

Our love of the outdoors steers the way we do business. It’s in our nature to look after what’s important, whether that’s the environment, animals, suppliers, staff, community or our customers. We know we wouldn’t be here without you.

In 2004 we first wrote down our sustainability principles and shared them on our website. We're now publishing our first sustainability report. We do this knowing that we don’t know all the answers, that we’re not perfect and all our actions have consequences. And in the hope that, by choosing to do the right thing and aiming to do better each year, we are world-class in what we do.

David Hanney, CEO

Reduce Reuse Repair Recycle

We look to maximise the level of recycled content in all our fabrics, materials and packaging and make our products as recyclable as possible. We take back old gear and give it a new home. Read More

Respect Our Environment

We control all aspects of the products we sell. We make considered choices in the chemicals, fabrics, water use, transport & energy use. Read More

Treat Animals Humanely

Where we use animal products we source natural farms certified as using the most humane farming methods. We use leather, down and wool. We don’t use angora or fur. Read More

Work With People We Believe In

We work with the best factories in the world. We regularly visit and assess performance making sure they comply with ETI Base Code. Read More

Build A Better Business

We look to build a better business: pay our taxes, pay our bills on time, no modern slavery, respect privacy laws, recruit fair and encourage opportunity for all. Read More

Give Back

1% of sales and 10% of profit is donated to Alpkit Foundation. And we encourage staff giving through matched donations and time off to volunteer. Read More

Contribute by giving us a call or emailing sustainability@alpkit.com

Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle

Our design ethos is to make gear you’ll love for longer – gear you’ll come back to year after year. Every Alpkit product has a specific purpose, which means there’s limited cross-over in our range and ultimately fewer garments in your wardrobe. And to make sure we’re making the best products, our design team actively listens to customers, gets feedback and reads every one of our customer reviews. We’ve offered repairs since we started and in 2017 we launched the Continuum Project, which finds old kit a new home, irrespective of brand.

What We're Proud of:

  • 1,731 repairs carried out last year
  • 1.5 tonnes of gear donated through The Continuum Project
  • 15 clothing lines made with recycled content
  • This Year We Will:

  • Double the number of products made with recycled content
  • Reduce waste tonnage
  • Work with other industry bodies to share knowledge and promote a circular economy

  • Continuum Project in Action

    “Birmingham City Mission is amazing. They run a care centre every Tuesday where people in need can drop in for food, clothing and even a warm bed for the night. The range of people they help is huge – some are homeless, some are victims of domestic abuse and others are people suffering with mental health problems. Amongst the most frequently requested items are sleeping bags and outdoor clothing so it’s a real privilege to be able to support Birmingham City Mission by providing gear donated by our customers. It’s truly wonderful to think that the actions of our customers really are helping people through difficult times in their lives”

    Elly Cundill, Customer Support Hero

    Respecting Our Environment

    We know that some materials, processes and chemicals used in our products and production processes are harmful to the environment – when you think about it, most outdoor gear is made from plastic or made from things that are dug up from the ground (we’re talking metals, not potatoes!). We seek to minimise that harm without compromise to performance or quality.

    What We're Proud of:

  • 100% PFOA-free
  • 82% of our clothing range is PFC-free
  • 89% organic/BCI cotton
  • 90% recycled content in packaging
  • 100% BFR-free flame retardants
  • Less than 20% air freight
  • Founder members of the Single Use Plastic Project and Microfibre Consortium
  • This Year We Will:

  • 100% PFC-free DWRs
  • Reduce air freight to 10%
  • Review chemical usage in our production process
  • Conduct life-cycle reviews of some key products
  • Calculate our complete UK carbon footprint
  • Move to 100% recyclable or compostable packaging
  • Move to 100% organic/BCI cotton

  • What Does it all Mean... Busting the Jargon


    The waterproofs that we all wore throughout the 1980’s to 2010’s were treated with perfluorooctanoic acid (commonly known as PFOA) to help rainwater bead away in bad weather rather than wet out. These compounds are now known to be harmful and have been found to build up in the environment, human body and even Polar Bears. We stopped using PFOA in 2016.


    Modern waterproofs are treated with poly-flourinated chemicals rather than PFOA to help water bead away. Whilst these break down more quickly than PFOA they still cause damage. Alpkit is one of the few brands moving to completely PFC-free high performance waterproofs in 2020.


    Many tents are treated with flame retardants so they don’t burn as quickly in the event of fire. However research shows these chemicals are toxic and tents are safer for you without them.

    BCI Cotton

    The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is a global organisation which encourages sustainable cotton farming through training, reducing environmental impact and poor work practices. (And it still feels super soft.)

    Treating Animals Humanely

    Wherever we use animal products we do it as conscientiously as possible. There are three animal materials in our products: goose and duck down, merino wool and goat- skin leather. We have a policy of sourcing these materials using the most humane methods available to us.

    What We're Proud of:

  • 100% responsibly sourced down
  • 100% non-mulesed merino
  • 100% of leather has a functional use
  • 0% fur
  • 0% angora
  • 0% alpaca
  • This Year We Will:

  • Investigate further leather alternatives
  • Continue to use non-mulesed merino and RDS down
  • Consider more animal-free alternatives where appropriate
  • Adopt a Responsible Wool Standard on all our wool, including merino

  • Three Questions we get Asked About Animal Products Answered by Ronnie (Head of Design)

    Why use animal products?

    Natural products have performance characteristics that synthetic products can’t yet match. Wool is a miracle natural fibre – it can absorb almost its weight in water before you start feeling cold. There’s no better insulator than down for warmth to weight ratio. Leather is super hard-wearing – it’s famous for its durability and dexterity.

    How do you make sure animal products are responsibly sourced?

    We take animal welfare very seriously. We only use down certified by the Responsible Down Standard, which means that birds aren’t force-fed, live-plucked and that their welfare is respected throughout their lives. We only use non-mulesed merino and in fact, we’re investigating ways to improve standards throughout our wool supply chain by implementing the Responsible Wool Standard.

    Isn’t using synthetic better for the planet?

    Depends on your perspective. For someone who doesn’t want to use animal products, synthetics are a great choice. For someone who wants to reduce their carbon footprint, animal products can be much better than synthetic. Our belief is that, if you’re going to buy something, choose something you’ll use for years and years.

    Working With People We Believe In

    We work with the best factories in the world, mainly in China, Taiwan, Vietnam and the UK. Our senior team (CEO, MD, Head of Design, Sonder Product Manager) regularly spends time at our factories and personally review conditions. We only work with factories who are as committed as we are to eradicating modern slavery from every part of the supply chain.

    What We're Proud of:

  • All our factories sign up to the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code
  • 100% of factories reviewed by Alpkit in the last 18 months
  • 100% of outsourced UK suppliers paid the living wage
  • This Year We Will:

  • Establish a written code of conduct with our factories
  • Conduct an environmental review at all of our tier 1 factories
  • Develop a framework of more formal reviews of our significant suppliers
  • Our Tier One Factories




    Alpkit HQ
    Bikepacking Bags, Packs, Bouldering Mats
    Nottingham, UK
    J Adams
    Taipei, Taiwan
    KC Manufacturing
    Legwear, Midlayers
    Hong Kong, China
    Down, Midlayers
    Xiamen, Fujian, China
    Changzou Himalaya Outdoor Products
    Tents and Camping Equipment
    Changzou, Jiangsu, China
    Zhejiang Nature Travel Goods Co. Ltd.
    Sleeping Mats
    Pingqiao Town, Zhejiang Province, China
    Wallgreen Outdoor Limited
    Dry Bags and Backpacks
    Minhou, Fuzhou, China
    Weihai, Shandong, China
    Sleeping Bags
    Beijing, China
    Shanghai Solarwool Apparel
    Shanghai, China
    Sonder Bike Frames
    Gongming Town, Shenzhen City, China

    Building a Better Business

    We are investing in the UK and making sure we are responsible and fair in the way we set up our business.

    What We're Proud of:

  • 0% of waste from Alpkit HQ goes to landfill
  • 97% use of renewable energy
  • Gender balance of senior management team: 50% female
  • Gender balance of whole workforce(excluding shareholders/directors): 44% female
  • 0.5% gender pay gap (excluding Board)
  • Highest to lowest pay ratio of less than 6
  • Updated our privacy policy and comply with GDPR
  • What We Need to Focus on:

  • Gender balance of Share Ownership and Board: 0% female
  • 7% non-white British
  • This Year We Will:

  • Take positive steps to encourage a more diverse workforce
  • Ensure every member of the team receives at least one week’s training on life skills and work skills
  • Move to Living Wage Foundation as our basic pay rate
  • Send zero waste to landfill from Alpkit stores
  • Move to B Corp Certification
  • Introduce staff sustainability training
  • Even More on Sustainability

    There’s loads more we do here - check out our sustainability policy at alpkit.com/sustainability.

    Josh's Alpkit Journey to Accountancy Jedi

    I’m an Accounts Apprentice and started in October 2017 as my first proper job. I started doing book-keeping, then moved onto looking after management accounts and assisting senior members of the team. After just over two years I’m now training people on how to do the job that I used to do when I first started!

    Alpkit has paid for my formal training as well as what I’m doing on-the-job. I’m in college one day a week, training for my AAT qualification, which will be finished this year. The next step for me is to get the CIMA qualification, which will take three years and mean that I’ll be a qualified accountant, which is amazing.

    I love working at Alpkit, it’s relaxed, positive and everyone here is supportive. It’s also been interesting to go on Adventure Training with the team, which totally took me out of my comfort zone! Hiking up hills, mountain-biking and running along trails in the dark learning about head torches is very different to reconciliations and posting prepayments and accruals. Apparently the mountain biking was a beginners route but seriously, I could barely walk some bits, let alone ride them – great fun!

    Josh Soar, Accountancy Apprentice

    Giving Back

    We’re committed to giving back to the communities that we’re lucky enough to be a part of, whether that’s the broad community of people who love the outside, people who need support or the local areas where we have our stores. Ultimately, we want to help more people Go Nice Places Do, Good Things.

    What We're Proud of:

  • £200,000 Alpkit Foundation donations and 575 awards
  • 1,000 people at Alpkit’s Big Shakeout - our not-for-profit outdoor festival
  • Over 3,000 people went on Alpkit courses and events - happy adventures!
  • Community events at stores every week, ranging from yoga nights and film nights to gear exchanges and talks
  • We work with local schools and colleges to provide industry experience
  • This Year We Will:

  • Donate £80,000 to projects through the Alpkit Foundation
  • Put on the Biggest and best Big Shakeout ever!
  • Introduce Staff Charity Giving Scheme
  • Get to know our local communities even better

  • Alpkit Foundation: Helping People Go Nice Places, Do Good Things

    Spending time outdoors is good for the mind, body and soul. But generally people are spending less time outdoors. That is a problem we’re helping to tackle. 1% of Alpkit sales go to individuals and direct-action projects. From ti-spoons to titanium tandems, every penny adds up to a huge amount – more than £200,000 so far.

    We support ordinary people doing extraordinary things to make the world a better place. We’re incredibly proud that the Foundation has now been involved in over 600 projects. That’s over 10,000 people that have directly benefited from the support that Alpkit customers have given through the Foundation.

    It’s humbling to see the effect that these small steps can make to so many people. Our hope is that everyone gets the chance to Go Nice Places Do Good Things, even just sometimes. The Foundation is a thank you from us to all our customers as we know we would not be here without you.

    If you know of a deserving project or think you’re someone that only needs a bit of backing to make a big difference, it’s simple to apply, or donate. Just head to alpkit.com/foundation.