We’re now going to introduce you to this outdoor brand, its clothes and its equipment. We’ll also tell you about the company’s sustainability strategy and share an interview we had with Christoph Centmaye, Sustainability Manager at Bergans of Norway.
Bergans of Norway: equipment and clothing
The Norwegian outdoor brand Bergans was founded in Hokksund in 1909. Founder Ole Ferdinand Bergan was a two-wheeler mechanic and passionate outdoor sportsman. He made history with his rucksack carrier system, which was the first modern rucksack in existence.
For over 100 years, Bergans of Norway has stood for functional outdoor equipment and high-tech clothing. The brand plays an important role in Norwegian outdoor culture. You can now find Bergans of Norway jackets, pants and many other products in our online shop.
Norwegian sustainability: Bergans
For the outdoor brand Bergans of Norway, the focus is on the environment, which means being sustainable. The Norwegian clothing and equipment brand believes the key is in a long product life and making every step in the production process as sustainable as possible - from product development to distribution to use! This means the company strongly encourages repairing and/or recycling its products. Be it tops, pants, rucksacks or other pieces of clothing or equipment, Bergans’ top priority is delivering products that last.
There are many companies focussing on sustainability, as it’s a hot topic nowadays. But what sets Bergans of Norway apart is that it plans for long-term sustainability of the designs, manufacturing and use of its outdoor clothing and equipment. To find out more about this, we’ve spoken to Christoph Centmayer, Sustainability Manager at Bergans of Norway. Keller Sports: Hello Christoph, almost everything at Bergans of Norway revolves around sustainability. What makes the company different from others?
Christoph Centmayer, Bergans: At Bergans of Norway we pay particular attention to the usage phase of our products. We want to help our customers get the longest possible life out of our products in order to minimise our impact on the environment.
One of our mottos is “Long live the product”, which is why we’ve put in place several services to ensure customers make the most of their products - repair services, product hire, return systems, second-hand sales and our own redesign collection, just to name a few. Some of these services are still only available in our home country, Norway, but we’ll be expanding them to other markets soon.
In the past few years, we’ve also redoubled our efforts to source materials for our products in a more sustainable way, i.e. by choosing bluesign-certified materials over others and by using more recycled materials, be they polyester, wool or down. Keller Sports: Is there a specific area you plan to work on in the coming years?
Christoph Centmayer, Bergans: We’re still working on our first sustainability strategy, Expedition 2020. This project started almost 5 years ago but will soon be coming to an end. The focus of the plan was on developing the processes I mentioned earlier.
We’re currently in the process of deciding what direction to take after we’ve completed the project and what specific goals to work on in the next 10 years. The core of future strategies will continue to be long-lasting products and support for our customers, so they get sustainable use out of our products.
Stranda: Bergans’ sustainable ski collection
Skiing means being one with nature - this is the idea that inspired Bergan’s new Stranda ski collection. During the design process, the focus lay on the durability and sustainability of the products, but that doesn’t mean that the brand made any compromises on high-tech functionality.
Even the manufacturing process has been refined to make this the most sustainable ski collection possible. The highlight of Bergans’ Stranda collection is the clean dying technique, achieved through We aRe SpinDye® - but we’ll leave the explaining to Bergans’ Sustainability Manager, Christoph. “It’s our most sustainable ski collection to date. We developed the Stranda collection in collaboration with We aRe SpinDye® and succeeded in striking the perfect balance between sustainable manufacturing processes, high-tech functionality and product durability.”, says Christoph Centmayerabout the Bergans Stranda collection.
He continues: “The entire Stranda collection is made out of a single type of yarn. This, in turn, consists of 100% recycled polyester coloured via a special process that drastically reduces the use of water and chemicals: SpinDye®. This technique uses only a minimal amount of energy and results in far lower CO2 emissions than conventional dyeing.
What we love - we will protect: The Wild project
The Wild project is also part of the brand’s Expedition 2020 sustainability strategy. The project was conceived by Uri Golman and Helle Olsen with the aim to preserve our natural environment and, with it, biological diversity.
The two outdoor lovers are travelling the seven continents and documenting their expeditions. Over their 4-year-long trip, they’re discovering untouched land, endangered animals, important natural habitats and the life of indigenous peoples, recording them all in text and image. We spoke to the Sustainability Manager at Bergans of Norway, Christoph Centmayer, about this project too. Read on to find out what he had to say about the Wild project and how it fits in with the sustainability strategy.
Keller Sports: Why did Bergans decide to start the Wild project? What makes this project special? How did the brand come to collaborate with Uri Golman and Helle Olsen?
Christoph Centmayer, Bergans: What we believe makes the Wild project so special is that Uri and Helle want to capture the beauty of nature in their photo documentary and share it with the world, raising awareness of the value of our natural environment and encouraging its preservation.
We met Uri and Helle at a trade fair, where they approached our brand and demonstrated that they share Bergans’ passion for touring around the globe. Their project fit in perfectly with our values and even inspired the slogan for our sustainability work: What we love we will protect! Keller Sports: You’ve already received from feedback from the pair, haven’t you? What have they had to say?
Christoph Centmayer, Bergans: We met up with Uri and Helle when we attended a meet-up with customers and journalists at the Dovrefjell national park. We saw some musk oxen and climbed the Snøhetta together.
It’s actually impossible not to feel inspired by them both when they tell you about their travels and share their burning passion for the different natural environments they’ve seen and the endangered animals they’ve gotten to know. They don’t just have unique photographs to show but also exciting stories to tell. We hope they carry on with their expeditions and manage to finish their book project!
Keller Sports: Which do you think is the biggest or most urgent threat to our planet right now? Climate change? The resulting melting of the ice caps? The destruction of rainforests? Or something else completely?
Christoph Centmayer, Bergans: Climate change is definitely the main threat. It affects us all, and only by working together can we attempt to contain the consequences of global warming. But in order to do so, we need to implement measures in every sector.
From the point of view of nature lovers, another big threat is the loss of unspoiled natural areas due to development, resource depletion and even excessive exploration.
Keller Sports: We’re very grateful to you for taking the time to talk to us. Thank you, Christoph Centmayer, and thank you, Bergans of Norway team!