As a company that operates on an international level, Scottish cycle apparel specialist Endura notes that it is ‘critically aware of its environmental impact and is working on a number of fronts to reduce its footprint.’
The textile industry is increasingly under the spotlight for its global carbon emissions that are second only to oil – ‘fast fashion has become a dirty term’. Endura notes though that its kit, on the other hand, is built to last. Nevertheless, the company recognises that there’s a lot of work to be done, both across the company and the wider industry.
While it has been taking steps towards change – the brand’s apparel has been PFC-free since 2018. It offers a repair service, and 1% of net profit goes to good causes – Endura adds that there are much bigger challenges.
“The reality of our brand’s environmental impact lies in three main areas,” explained Pamela Barclay, Endura’s co-founder and Brand Director. “The dying of fabrics, the energy required to run factories, and product end of life.’
While Endura points out that it can, and does, control dyestuff by choosing ethical mills, it cannot influence the energy infrastructure in China, nor can it single-handedly resolve the end of life issue. Research is underway at Endura – which, while still privately run, is now part of Pentland Group – to prove a chemical recycling process that can operate at scale and shift the mindset of the industry – and even the government.
But these challenges are about infrastructure which will take years to change and, as the company’s co-founder and Managing Director Jim McFarlane points out, “We do not have the luxury of time. The one thing we must focus on now is the climate emergency,” he said. “Once the ice caps have melted you’re not going to refreeze them any time soon – that’s the reason for our Million Trees initiative.”
Endura has partnered with the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business at Lancaster University. Research in general shows that forest restoration is one of the best solutions to de-carbonise the atmosphere, ‘but as trees take decades to mature, and the need is pressing, the time to act is now.’
From 2020 onwards, Endura commit to planting one million trees annually to help reduce the quantity of carbon in the atmosphere.
Trees are not all equal; they need to be the right type of tree and planted in the right environment. Forests in boreal regions typically cover much smaller areas than those in the tropics, so for its first project Endura has chosen to restore mangroves in the Maputo Bay region of Mozambique.
The region was once covered by huge mangrove forests and estuaries, but these have been decimated by human activity over recent decades. Endura will work with local communities to restore, replant and protect these forest systems, providing important habitats for threatened species of birds and mammals as well as providing local employment.
In addition, Endura is also working on a project closer to home to plant native species of trees in its Scottish homeland. “It’s one world, so we’ll plant trees wherever we can do it quickly, cheaply, and wherever they’ll be protected.” said Pamela Barclay. “While the One Million Trees initiative is a big step in the right direction, there’s no sense of complacency at Endura.
“We continue to work hard to drive authentic sustainability across the whole product offering and the business. But our brand has a long way to go.”
She continued, “We would hate to look back and think we could have done something and we didn’t. That’s really, I suppose, what’s driving these efforts. It’s not tinkering around the edges. It’s not a gimmick. It’s not a jacket made out of fishing rope. We need to focus on the real things that will make a difference. If we don’t stop climate change, we won’t have a world to clean up.”