RESPECTING NATURE BY PROPELLING CIRCULARITY: Arc’teryx launches its circularity initiatives
What’s the problem?
The fashion industry manufactures 100 billion garments annually – enough for every human on the planet to buy something new to wear every month. Three out of five of those pieces will end up in landfill within the year.
This hyper-acceleration of the linear take-make-waste mindset has made the garment industry one of the planet’s largest carbon polluters and greatest producers of waste.
What’s our role in this storm?
Arc’teryx has never been a fast-fashion brand – we intentionally build things to last. But the garments we make are very resource-intensive – 65% of the lifetime impact happens before a piece even makes it to the store rack – from the creation of raw materials and the manufacture of the garment alone.
Reducing waste is one of the most powerful levers we have for meeting the science-based targets we committed to in 2020.
Propelling circularity is now a key focus for us as we target net-zero, and ReBird™ is the program where Arc’teryx brings circularity to life.
What is circularity?
Circularity is a way to respect the limits of a finite planet, by designing waste and pollution out of systems, keeping materials in use, and regenerating natural system.
Arc’teryx embraces the Ellen MacArthur Foundation circularity principles outlined in “Make Fashion Circular”:
“We design product to be used more, made to be made again, and made from safe and renewable materials.”
What is ReBird™?
ReBird is the hub for all our initiatives in upcycling, resale, care and repair, to empower Arc’teryx guests to help arc us towards a more circular way of operating.
Every time someone chooses to:
buy nothing new,
favour durability over disposability,
support resale, recycled or upcycled offerings, or
practice acts of care and repair of our gear, our communities and the Earth,
we add our weight to the growing global shift towards circularity.
ReBird™ makes those choices easier. ReBird™ nests our ongoing efforts to shape the take-make-waste economy into a loop of endless possibilities. It’s what we hope is the start of a complete transformation of the global fashion industry.
What does the name ReBird™ mean?
A lot of people just think of it as a weird fossil, but some of us know the mark of Arc’teryx as “the bird.”
Inspired by Archaeopteryx lithographica, a 150 million year old bird, the first reptile in the fossil record to have developed feathers for flight, “the Bird” invokes the values that have been core to the DNA of Arc’teryx from the outset – the pursuit of iterative, evolutionary change, emerging in response to the challenges of the natural environment.
Evolving a deeply entrenched and highly efficient global system of extraction – take-make-waste – into a circular economy, rich with loops to recycle, reduce, reuse, repair, restore – is a similar game-changing impulse as the one that we imagine might have allowed a reptile to grow feathers.
ReBird™ is “the bird” in regenerative mode, bringing old bones – dead ends, used gear, cast-offs, waste – back to life. We invoke this touchstone as our totem, over again. We recall the audacious possibilities it represents. We send ourselves the re: Bird memo every day, as a reminder that each small shift we make, each contribution towards circularity, however micro it may seem, can help generate the momentum we need to create an entirely new way of being.
Together, we can shape the take-make-waste economy into a loop of endless possibilities. Circle round.
This post ran on the Bird blog at Arc’teryx in June, to support the launch of the new ReBird platform. I worked with the team to bring language to their circularity initiatives. And then had the chance to take that one step further and actually voice the initiatives.