Vaude is a German-based family-owned business that produces outdoor sports equipment. The company's motto is "Wear less – achieve more," which calls for extending the life of its products by using them longer and in turn buying fewer new clothes. To evaluate, report on, and improve its environmental performance, Vaude uses the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) tool from the European Commission.
For Vaude, environmental protection is a core company value, and the company strives to reduce the environmental impact of its goods and business activities. In fact, Vaude was the first outdoor company to implement an environmental management system in compliance with EMAS, in 2008. Vaude believes that EMAS has enabled the company to oversee their corporate responsibility for environmental management aspects in an effective and efficient manner by helping them take a holistic approach to analysing all their environmental-related issues.
Vaude is using the EMAS core indicators on energy efficiency, material efficiency, water, waste, biodiversity, and emissions to significantly improve its environmental performance over time. Additionally, EMAS has helped Vaude set objectives and targets as part of the continuous improvement process, and annual audits with an independent environmental verifier ensure that they are on the right path.
Since being officially EMAS registered in 2008, Vaude has been systematically reducing its emissions and consumption based on the data collected. Moreover, since 2012, Vaude has been climate neutral at its German headquarters, including the products manufactured there, and has now reached global climate neutrality for all its products, with 50% of the latest 2022 collection being made from recycled or bio-based materials.
The Vaude case shows that companies that position themselves as environmentally conscious by taking responsibility and proactively managing the negative (and positive) impacts of their operations and demonstrating reliable and transparent data on the state of their environmental performance can gain in credibility. This gives them a competitive advantage over other textile companies. EMAS can play a key role here - but what exactly is EMAS?
EMAS is a voluntary environmental management tool developed by the European Commission. It is available to all organisations operating in any economic sector, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). To become EMAS registered, organisations must implement an environmental management system that helps them assess and improve their environmental performance. The scheme's demanding guidelines ensure that registered organisations continuously improve their environmental credentials.
According to the 2009 "Study on the Costs and Benefits of EMAS to Registered Organisations" carried out by the European Commission, there are many benefits to EMAS registration. These include reduced costs for resource and waste management, risk minimisation, regulatory compliance, regulatory relief, and improved relations with internal and external stakeholders. These benefits are not limited to larger organisations, as SMEs can also realise energy and resource savings by becoming EMAS registered.