Making our functional, durable outdoor material G-1000 using recycled polyester and organic cotton exclusively has been a real challenge. But now we're there. Almost. Except for G-1000 stretch, all our G-1000 products use recycled polyester and organic cotton.
Hardwearing, weather resistant, adaptable and long lasting, there’s lots to love about G-1000. It’s a core Fjällräven material and since it showed up in the original Greenland Jacket in 1968, its tightly woven cotton and polyester blend has been incorporated in everything from trousers to backpacks.
Now, there’s even more to love: we’ve updated all our G-1000 materials so that they’re made of recycled polyester and organic cotton. Well, almost all. Less than one percent of G-1000 didn’t make the cut (more on that later). Regardless, G-1000 accounts for approximately 40 percent of our material mix (excluding Kånken!). Making the switch is a significant step forward in reducing our overall impact on the environment.
A sustainable highlight in our heritage
Naturally, the journey hasn’t always been straightforward.
At the start, the quality of the sustainable raw materials wasn’t very dependable. Organic cotton fibres were weaker than conventional cotton. Recycling, which deteriorates all materials, deprecated the strength of recycled polyester. Even today, the recycled polyester available to us still can’t deliver the level of durable mechanical-stretch functionality needed for our G-1000 Stretch materials. So, in those, we blend the recycled polyester with 13 to 15 percent virgin polyester.
On the other hand, the pros of moving to recycled polyester and organic cotton far outweighed the cons. With chemical fertilisers forbidden in organic cotton’s farming, choosing it prevents the spread of toxins through the soil and air, improves conditions for farm workers, and reduces the overall chemicals needed to produce G-1000. Using recycled polyester removes virgin polyester from the system, and by making G-1000 with recycled polyester we’re helping prevent more stuff from ending up in landfills.
Maria Venus, Sustainability Environmental Manager at Fenix Outdoor (our parent company), who is responsible for our Climate Action Plan, highlights a core benefit of such adjustments: reduced carbon emissions. As she says, “A pair of Fjällräven trekking pants made of G-1000 is 23 percent less carbon-intense compared to the pants that were made of virgin polyester and conventional cotton.”
There’s even positive news when it comes to the G-1000 Stretch polyester challenge. Foremost, these materials make up less than one percent of all the G-1000 we produce. Additionally, by choosing to use virgin polyester, we’re not using elastane, which is polyurethane-based, has fewer recycling properties and a higher environmental impact than virgin polyester.
What about G-1000 Eco?
As we grind away at a solution for G-1000 Stretch, it’s important to remember that our conversion to a more sustainable G-1000 has been going on for over a decade. In 2011, we started incorporating the material into products. We called it “G-1000 Eco”. In 2015, we determined that G-1000 Eco would be in all new G-1000 products. Since then, we’ve been taking it season by season, consistently making any new product with recycled polyester and organic cotton.
By 2021, it was decided that Eco would become “the new normal”, so today another change is happening: we’re doing away with the name “G-1000 Eco”. It’s just G-1000 now. Aiko Bode, Global Sustainability Director, explains:
“In 2022, Fjällräven used only organic cotton and recycled polyester for almost all our G-1000 textiles. We have stopped calling it G-1000 Eco, since this is the new standard for us.”
Decoupling emissions from growth
Whatever you call it, when someone invests in G-1000 they can expect gear that lasts a lifetime produced with less impact.
They can also trust we’re exploring ways to make it even more sustainable. That’s because at Fjällräven we’re decoupling our emissions from our growth. While there is often a linear relationship between increasing sales and CO2 emissions, the “new” G-1000 helps us be an exception to the rule.
“Fjällräven's total sales have significantly grown in the last three years, but the CO2 emissions have increased at a much lower rate,” reports Aiko. “Our climate strategy for materials is one of the main reason for this shift.”
Our goal for 2025 is a 50 percent reduction in emissions per product produced, with sub-targets such as having 30 percent of our core suppliers use renewable energy. By 2050, we are committed to global goals of net zero. As Aiko says, “We will continue finding new solutions to stay in line with climate science, and hopefully even reach our own targets early.”