production / ethics

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  • A bit of background: one of the things I first used LFGSS for was to buy more expensive (better made, longer-lasting) kit than I could afford, second-hand. Over the years I’ve read many useful / interesting conversations on here related to buying / selling / fixing / adapting / reusing / restoring / making and the relative attributes of various bits of kit. It's clear that there is an amazing community on here of designers, makers and, also, attentive and demanding consumers. I know that LFGSS means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. This thread may be of niche interest or concern only a few of us. But I’ve thought for a while that what was missing was a place for some discussion of the ethical ramifications of all of this production / consumption, and a collected set of resources for those who are interested in the related complexities (after all, my buying of second-hand gear replied upon someone else selling something before it finished its useful life…).

    I don’t claim to be an expert but I’d like to be better informed than I am – and better able to make decisions (in the first instance as a consumer, but also as someone who makes things) about what I put on my back / cycle off into the hills / therefore invest in and contribute to the continuation of (be it material production, employment practices, etc.).

    Some of the issues that might be discussed here (but no means limited to) are, for e.g.:

    Sustainability / 'sustainability'
    Supply chains (sourcing and workers rights)
    Materials / production processes / recycling / Extended Producer Responsibility / corporate ownership (a.k.a. the Cordura problem)
    Repairs (factored into production cost) / reuse / recycling / biodegradability
    … and more things I’m sure that I haven’t thought about / don’t know about yet.

    The resources below relate mostly to clothing / equipment, but would ideally cover bike parts themselves (there is some related discussion of this on the 3D printing / AM thread for e.g., link below).

    I’ll try and update the resources list as often as I can on this first post. Flag things directly if it doesn’t look like I’ve spotted it. These lists are certainly not definitive, and there is lots to discuss / scrutinise with each of these initiatives / corporate positions etc. so please add your comments and suggest other resources / events / info etc. Thanks everyone.

    Accreditation / existing programs:

    B-Corp: https://bcorporation.uk/
    Bluesign: https://www.bluesign.com/en
    Fair-Tax Mark: https://fairtaxmark.net/
    Living Wage/London Living Wage: https://www.livingwage.org.uk/
    OEKO-Tex: https://www.oeko-tex.com/en/
    Sustainable Apparel Coalition / Higg index:
    https://apparelcoalition.org/
    https://apparelcoalition.org/the-higg-in­dex/

    Extended Producer Responsibility schemes / policy changes / proposals:
    t.b.c…

    Individual companies:

    Albion:
    https://www.albioncycling.com/about/

    Alpkit:
    https://alpkit.com/pages/sustainability-­principles
    https://alpkit.com/pages/sustainability?­utm_campaign=388740_Welcome%20Sustainabi­lity&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Alpkit%­20Ltd&dm_i=57MB,8BYC,4P9SI7,WVTG,1

    Endura:
    https://www.endurasport.com/sustainabili­ty.list?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI06b1r8Wd8gIVV-­vtCh20bwPtEAAYAiAAEgK3lfD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.­ds

    MAAP:
    https://maap.cc/stories/our-road-to-a-mo­re-sustainable-future

    Milltag:
    https://milltag.cc/blogs/news/our-respon­sibility

    Morvélo:
    https://www.morvelo.com/pages/sustainabi­lity

    Pas Normal:
    https://uk.pasnormalstudios.com/pages/im­pact-responsibility
    https://pasnormalstudios.dk/pages/fabric­s

    Proviz:
    https://www.provizsports.com/en-gb/susta­inability

    Rapha:
    https://www.rapha.cc/gb/en/stories/Rapha­-Impact
    https://www.rapha.cc/gb/en/sustainabilit­y

    This is an initial search, and some companies are certainly more detailed in terms of commitments than others (Rapha, for e.g.). If you can find more info from other producers, please post it below and I’ll add it…a number of the big names I couldn’t find anything. This could / should also cover bikepacking / touring / luggage (Apidura, Restrap, Ortlieb, etc.)…

    Other related discussion boards on LFGSS:
    Sewing / materials / fabrication: https://www.lfgss.com/conversations/1604­74/
    3d printing: https://www.lfgss.com/conversations/1850­42/

  • Very interesting, thanks!

  • I was speaking to one of the guys that runs Morvelo a few weeks ago and he has some pretty bold plans in this realm. I can't see it mentioned on their website so may not be common knowledge but will be worth keeping an eye on.

    https://www.morvelo.com/

  • @coot cheers for starting this thread - so many areas to think and consider, with so much knowledge being more accessible now,

    I've found the Performance Days show and site really useful for specific topics focus. They have presentations from industry experts, which are archived on the site;
    https://www.performancedays.com/
    https://www.performancedays.com/loop/exp­ert-talk-webinar.html
    Think you have to register (v simple) to access the whole archive, and the accompanying presentation are usually available to make sense of the presentation. Some of these are by brand reps, so on more a sales pitch and why their product is better than competitors, but even these can be interesting to understand marketing directions.

    And in addition, each show has a general theme 'water' 'organic performance' etc which has a really useful overview 101 pdf on each theme;
    https://www.performancedays.com/loop/foc­us-topic.html

  • Thanks, very interesting.

  • Ah interesting, thanks @Dogtemple - I found it. The transparency of some of the efforts they are making and research they are doing is interesting. Link here (and above):
    https://www.morvelo.com/pages/sustainabi­lity

  • An interesting article from a few years ago highlighted that there needs to be a 'push' from cycling consumers for more sustainable products as well as the 'pull' from innovative manufacturers. Have we as consumers of cycling stuff changed that much since 2014?

    https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-­business/sustainable-fashion-blog/cyclis­ts-sustainable-ethical-cycling-gear-helm­ets-saddle

  • Not sure if this is in scope for this thread but as has been mentioned on here before this podcast is worth a listen. Isla has interesting ideas about how we value items like bikes and moving to a different approach away from the consumerist/ throw away culture.

    https://thebikeshow.net/isla-rowntree/

  • Good to see the topic of waterproof treatment being mentioned, if anyone hasn't seen this it's worth a watch - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Wat­ers_(2019_film)

  • …that’s one of those films I’m scared to watch :/
    Years back, I was trying to understand the problem fully - degradation in performance/durability of C8>C6>C4>C0 treatments, and what the best C0 alternatives are/might be in the future, I read this utterly bleak article;
    https://theintercept.com/2015/08/11/dupo­nt-chemistry-deception/

    It’s a very long read, and in a series of chapters lays out how extensive the damage is, in huge areas and communities in the US.

    When I have the time I’ll find a good explainer in Performance Days from a someone who works for EU legislation on toxic chemicals - and identifying/phasing out stuff like this - which explains the chemistry behind the C8/C6, the toxicity of the PFOAs used to create them, the alternative types of C0 treatments and why they don’t perform as well.

    ….look after your waterproofs! Clean, maintain (and reproof) as you would a bike!

  • Alpkit have always been good for this stuff- repair workshops in store, recycle old kit in a big box in store, lots of recycled and natural materials.

    Bit off topic - Does anyone use the guppy wash bags to cut down on micro plastics and if so do you think they work?

  • Alpkit actually is a B-corp.

  • A friend of mine recommended Schoeller C-change over GoreTex, not sure if it's really any better though.

  • Thanks - their sustainability / employment statement linked above...

  • that Dupont story is terrifying @exteroceptive @Chopsicle

  • Yeah, can 100% agree with "devil's piss".

  • some 'good' news, depending on your point of view;

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/green­washing-cma-puts-businesses-on-notice

    'To help businesses understand how to communicate their green credentials while reducing the risk of misleading shoppers, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published the Green Claims Code. This focuses on 6 principles which are based on existing consumer law. It is clear that firms making green claims “must not omit or hide important information” and “must consider the full life cycle of the product”.

    This will target greenwashing claims by brands, with 'Textiles and Fashion' as a priority. As this comes under Consumer Law, I doubt any CEO's are going to prison and remains to be seen what the penalties will be, but it's a move in the right direction.

  • ....and I contributed to a panel last week for the launch of the Institute for Positive Fashion (British Fashion Council)'s report on Circular Fashion Ecosystem;

    https://instituteofpositivefashion.com/C­ircular-Fashion-Ecosystem

    A lot of work has gone into this, with the ambition that this is now a global roadmap for everyone along the entire garment lifecycle, irrelevant how active or engaged you are with the industry.

    The three target outcomes;

    • reduce amount of new clothing produced (less)
    • extend life and utilisation of clothing when in-use (better)
    • design for end-of-first-life value/repair etc (regenerate)
      Then have 10 action areas, weighted depending on you position in lifecycle, which detail recommendations (total of 30) within those areas.

    The full report is engaging and worth looking over. It pins down lots of topics we've discussed at work, but lacked expertise to really understand or even articulate clearly. As such we'll be using as a framework and guide from here on.

    I'm optimistic because a) it sets out clear common goals/directions/language b) it's being received globally by other fashion councils as a roadmap c) will connect with Gvmt policy changes (hopefully!) d) which also align with other big movements (WRAP, UN SDC's for 2030).

  • When I have the time I’ll find a good explainer in Performance Days from a someone who works for EU legislation on toxic chemicals - and identifying/phasing out stuff like this - which explains the chemistry behind the C8/C6, the toxicity of the PFOAs used to create them, the alternative types of C0 treatments and why they don’t perform as well.

    Here's the presentation (audio) and deck
    https://www.performancedays.com/loop/exp­ert-talk-webinar/archive/pfas-in-europea­n-law-and-industry.html

    but tldr is in this screenshot, with the clear difference of Fluorinated chains being able to repel oils, whereas Fluorine-free will effectively bond with those oils. The longer the chain (C8 > C6 > C4) the more repellant and durable it is ....this is why the industry is having such a problem. Alas, all the best intentions will never beat physics.....


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  • Can anyone point to any bicycle manufacturers who are leaders in sustainability, here or abroad?

  • There was this in the Guardian recently on carbon cost of bike industry: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/­bike-blog/2021/sep/23/why-arent-more-big­-bike-firms-tracking-their-environmental­-impact

    Trek compared the aluminium and carbon-fibre versions of its bikes and consistently found that making the latter produces nearly three times the emissions. The same goes for wheels.

    The report also shows that each technological “advancement” that is added to a bike – carbon wheels, electronic shifting, the addition of a motor – comes with an environmental cost. This culminates in a £10,000 electric mountain bike with a 320kg manufacturing carbon footprint.

    …From this perspective, the bicycle industry doesn’t look that different. It is built around a yearly production cycle, with “new” models often amounting to little more than a different colour of paint. It uses a strategy of forced obsolescence; standards are routinely updated, making it hard to find replacement parts for older bikes. A model that was, of course, perfected by the car industry.

  • Thanks @snoops

  • The best purchase is the one you don't make

  • Not you, 'you' in general. Including me

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production / ethics

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