We believe it’s our duty to make as little impact as possible on the environment
This probably won’t come as a surprise, but at Tierra, we love to be outdoors. We love to sweat outdoors, eat outdoors, sleep outdoors and socialize outdoors—no matter where in the world we find ourselves. Being close to nature as often as possible and having a glimpse of how it works, we see it as our duty to have as little environmental impact as possible. Because every product affects the environment throughout its life cycle of production, transport, sales, use and disposal, this is both a noble and difficult duty.
Production accounts for the greatest environmental impact during a garment’s life cycle—the amount of energy and the types of chemicals required to produce materials, then manufacture, package and transport the final product between facilities. We can influence a product’s environmental impact at each step through choosing which materials to use, and the geographic locations and individual factories in which to produce them. For instance, by using alternative materials like recycled polyester or polyamide, less energy is consumed overall than if new polyester or polyamide were used. Choosing reclaimed wool and organic cotton also reduces energy and resource use.
Production accounts for the greatest environmental impact during a garment’s life cycle.
Tierra currently has about 60% of its sewing production and about 90% of its sales in Europe, which means a finished jacket has traveled relatively short distances by the time it reaches a user. However, we must also work with some long-distance transport. Since its inception in 1983, Tierra has purchased from the world’s leading fabric suppliers in Sweden, Italy, Portugal, Japan, China, Taiwan and the USA, all of which are shipped to our factories. Our choice has been for all long-haul freight to travel by boat—the shipping method with the least environmental impact, and which is also the most cost-effective.
Long Use as a Short Road to Eco-consciousness
Regardless of which materials we choose, we never compromise on quality or durability. We’re extremely proud of how few complaints we receive and how long our products last, and see this as our greatest environmental contribution. We follow a few simple rules when we design and construct a garment.
- We choose proven solutions to technical challenges over the untested.
- We design for optimal material utilization, resulting in little waste.
- We design for restoration; if a garment’s fabrics or components fail, they must be able to be repaired.
By following these rules, our garments last longer, which means you don’t need a new one as often. Although this goes a long way toward reducing environmental impacts, as a user you can also have a role by taking care of your garment—keeping it clean, repairing it, re-impregnating it, etc., both to extend its life and save some cash. For instance, by washing at a lower temperature or only washing the part that’s dirty, and airing out instead of machine-washing, energy consumption is greatly reduced over the lifetime of a garment.
Drying is also an issue—no garment will ever last as long if it’s always dried in a tumble dryer. And although GORE-TEX® garments benefit from some heat after washing to reactivate their impregnation, only a short time in the dryer is needed, and hang-drying will suffice for the rest. Finally, if your Tierra garment has broken, let our staff in our claims department have a look before you toss it aside—we can change zippers, re-tape seams, mend fabric and give your jacket a new lease of life.
End of Life — or Not
When you finally do tire of your Tierra garment (or it tires of you), why not donate it to charity or someone who could use it? There’s often a lot of functional value left in a garment even when it’s no longer the best thing for a high-mountain environment.