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On believes that sustainability and performance go hand-in-hand. That innovation and technology can be the key drivers of lowering our impact on the planet. On is capturing emissions before they pollute our atmosphere and are at the same time moving away from fossil-based materials.

Preferred Materials

100%rPES and 100%rPA

Polyester is the material On use more than any other. To reduce the environmental footprint associated with their use of this performance fabric, On are working to phase out virgin polyester and polyamide and use only 100% recycled Polyester (rPES) and 100% recycled Polyamide (rPA). Using recycled polyester and polyamide reduces both CO2 emissions as well as energy usage compared with virgin polyester and polyamide. By how much depends on the kind of recycling used as well as how you measure the impact. Using recycled polyester has several other benefits too. It means we’re giving new life to material that would likely have been incinerated or ended up in landfill. At the same time, it also reduces plastic waste and crude oil consumption.

Bio-based Polyester and Polyamide

On wants to move away from petrol-based materials, but finding alternatives that offer the same quality is no easy task. On never wants to compromise on their high performance standards. As an intermediate step On are using more recycled materials. This means fewer virgin materials and less waste. But they already have one foot in the future – bio-based materials that are renewable. Biosynthetic fibers have the potential to produce fewer greenhouse gases over their lifecycle compared with products derived from fossil fuels. For On it is very important to choose bio-based materials made out of natural resources that don’t compete with the food chain. They are committed to learning more about the potential behind these materials, and ensuring our resourcing is as sustainable as possible.

Man-made Cellulosics

At the moment On is focusing on recycled materials, but believe the future is for sure not petrol-based. That’s why On is researching and testing alternative materials like man-made Cellulosics (MMCs). These are materials from cellulosic sources like tree bark that are chopped up and processed into pulp before being turned into fibers. On are already using Tencel™ in parts of our products and we are looking into increasing our use of this technical material as they expand their collection. What also makes bio-based materials like this very interesting is that they come from renewable sources.

Other sources include castor oil and sugar cane. On work with the HIGG index and Life-cycle assessments (LCAs) to make sure they are choosing the best possible options.

Vegan Leather

Leather production is unfortunately a dirty business. It causes chemical and wastewater pollution and also animal cruelty. It’s not something On want to be part of, so we took the call to only work with vegan leather. As a result, they are constantly looking to find leather alternatives that can live up to our performance expectations. It’s a big ask: On want their leather alternatives to be breathable, soft and durable while meeting our quality and sustainability expectations. Not easy, but totally worth it.

100% Organic Certified Cotton

Cotton is an incredibly versatile material but it also requires a very thirsty production process. On limit the use of cotton to around 10% of our overall material and are currently working towards using only 100% organic and GOTS certified cotton.

Mulesing-free Wool

Only about 10% of On materials are made of wool and, like all fabrics they use, it has to meet our high quality standards. With a material that comes from animals, this of course includes making sure that those animals are treated humanely. On are currently working on ensuring that all our wool is 100% certified as mulesing-free and complies with the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS). Our Merino Beanie is made with 100% mulesing-free wool, produced in Europe.

Chemical Management

Managing the chemicals used in On production processes is a priority for them. This way, On can guarantee safe products and minimize their environmental footprint. On have an RSL (Restricted Substances List) that is aligned with industry leading AFIRM and REACH Standards. All of On’s suppliers have to comply with these standards.

​PFCs

Per- and polyfluorinated chemicals are a family of man-made, fluorine-containing chemicals. They have unique properties that make materials stain resistant and water repellent. Unfortunately these chemicals can also be damaging for the environment. They bioaccumulate, which means that they can become concentrated inside plants and animals and cause harm. On are working with their suppliers to steadily reduce the use of PFCs in their products. A number of our waterproof items, such as the Waterproof Anorak, the Insulator Jacket, the Waterproof Pants and Waterproof Shorts are already PFC-free.

Reducing Our Material Processing Footprint

At the same time as working with preferred materials, On are also working to improve the ways they process their materials. In particular, On are striving to improve the dyeing process, which accounts for around 36% of the environmental footprint during production.

Packaging

Once an On product is finished, it’s shipped by sea to our global warehouses. This voyage takes several weeks and isn’t always a smooth ride. During their journey the products are stored a dusty and humid environment. On packaging needs to protect the product from damage during this time.

For On’s shoes, they are on their own journey to using packaging that’s made from 100% recycled cardboard, with a design that minimizes the environmental footprint while guaranteeing the product is protected.

For our Performance Apparel products, On are taking a detailed look at where these items are being stored, for how long, where they are then sold and what all this means for the packaging. Once On have all this information, they can find a packaging material that will limit the associated environmental footprint while protecting the product. For example, not all packaging options can handle a humid environment. There are some interesting options on the table so check back soon for an update.

Microfibers – What You Can Do

The release of small microfibers into the environment is a big issue in the textile industry. We’re looking into various ways to limit this, but there are also things you can do at home. For example, every time you wash your clothes in the washing machine, they release these ultra-fine fabric strands. Are there items you could wash less regularly? Can you wear that top for one more run before you wash it?

Clevercare.info has some helpful guidance on how you can change your laundry habits to reduce the use of water and energy as well as limiting the release of microfibers. You can also use special washing bags to help prevent microfibers getting released into the water cycle.

Since the beginning, choosing the right partners has been a priority for On. On only works with those that share our values and vision. And it’s been a big part of our success.

Ethical Sourcing

On want their partners to feel like an extension of their team, so strong personal relationships are key. When on look for new suppliers, their cross-functional teams visit locations to see with their own eyes how things are being managed on the ground. On is only interested in working with the best of the best. On’s partners must not only be manufacturers of the highest quality, but top notch people and employers too. On discuss their requirements and values in person with every potential partner.

Every new supplier has to acknowledge and commit to our supplier code of conduct before On start business together. On’s supplier code of conduct is aligned with the International Labor Organization (ILO) standards.

Supplier Code of Conduct (EN)

Since On are still a relatively small company, they know their suppliers personally and over the years have built strong partnerships.

For On, this is much more important than blindly conducting audits. Industry experiences shows On there is a real audit fatigue out there. Audits just don’t change mindsets anymore. Factories are facing lots of audits from lots brands, all checking for same, very similar standards.

On take a different approach. Instead of asking for duplicate work, they focus on working closely with their partners to constantly raise the bar to the next level. On conduct an initial assessment with every supplier to make sure they’re meeting the required social and environmental standards. After that, On visit the production sites several times a year to discuss potential challenges and opportunities directly. They also try to reduce the number of audits being conducted at their factories and accept audits from other brands, provided they are aligned with our standards.

As On grows, they are also looking into joining industry collaborations like the Social Labour Convergence Program (SLCP). On are currently assessing all possibilities to make sure they find the program that will be the best long-term fit for On.

Responsible Sourcing

On recognize that common industry issues like excessive overtime are the responsibility not only of production sites, but the clients like them too. On are the ones setting the production deadlines. They work very hard to avoid excessive overtime at their production sites. On’s planning teams work very closely with our suppliers to forecast in advance and flatten demand during periods of peak production.

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