Rab Sustainability and Responsibility

Nov 23, 2023

Mountain Manifesto

Our Mountain Manifesto is a set of shared commitments to help us all tread more lightly on the planet. Join us in creating positive change in our industry.

Product: Prolong life and performance and minimise the impact of end-of-life
Planet: Drive more sustainable packaging solutions and highlight the environmental impact of air freight
Partner: Improve standards for workers and minimise the impact of late orders
People: Improve diversity and inclusion and remove barriers to access


We’re applying the lessons learned in the outdoors to the serious challenges facing our world.

From climate change and the pressure on precious natural resources to fairness and opportunity for all. We aim higher, and we find a better way.



Innovation isn't found chasing big problems. It's in all the marginal gains. Reducing the impact of our products is ingrained into our design process. As is our obsession with performance, transparency and honesty.


Our gear is built to last, but it’s not indestructible.

We save what we can. Stripping items for zip pulls, toggles, spare stuff sacks. Washing and drying them, ready to re-use on repairs. For the bits we can’t reuse, we’re exploring a range of end-of-life options. Including down recovery and recycling, repurposing fabric, donating, and more. 


Recycling Down

Down has been bought and sold for its insulation properties for centuries. It's lightweight, warm, and super packable. Our down filled sleeping bags became an instant hit back in 1981. And down insulation has been a staple part of our business ever since.

But what happens at the end of its life?
At Rab, we've offered a Repair Service since our inception. We also wash down jackets and sleeping bags, working to keep your kit going for as long as possible.


But all good things do eventually come to an end.

After a lot of looking around, we couldn't find any easy way to recycle your old down products. So we decided to work out how to do it ourselves. Trying to keep down - a resource that will out-live your jacket or sleeping bag - in use for longer.

In May 2021, we started collecting down products to send to recycling.


And why should it stop there?

If we're collecting down, we might as well collect all sorts of down: duvets, pillows, jackets, sleeping bags, whatever! 

We're gathering them, bailing them, and sending them to a facility to be cleaned, sorted, and made ready to be re-used. Starting the next phase of their journey.


Responsible Down Standard
All of our virgin down is independently certified the Responsible Down Standard, certified by Control Union 839597.
☑️ Every stage is certificated from farm to final product

☑️ Respect for the animal welfare of the birds throughout their lives

☑️ Live plucking or moult-harvesting is prohibited

☑️ Force-feeding is also prohibited



Wool, Leather, Fur and Silk

We treat animals with respect.


Sometimes the best materials to use come from animals. We only use suppliers who source animal by-products from entities that use fair and humane animal welfare practices.

✅ Only use leather originating as a by-product from animals bred for meat production.

✅ Only source from suppliers whose processes are certified by the Leather Working Group (LWG).

✅ Never accept exotic skins or skins from wild animals.

✅ Never use wool from farms or suppliers that practise mulesing.

✅ Never use Angora or Mohair.

✅ Never use real fur.

✅ Stopped sourcing silk in 2021.



Fluorocarbons are found in Durable Water Repellent coatings on fabrics and trims. We use fluorocarbon-free DWRs where suitable or shorter chain fluorocarbons (C6) DWRs in our more technical apparel.


Once we find an alternative that performs, we’ll switch.

Our commitment to eradicating fluorocarbons/PFCs
Our journey to eliminate fluorocarbons from all our products by AW24 is an ambitious one, but on track. We have removed all long-chain (C8) fluorocarbons from our supply chain. However, some short-chain fluorocarbons (C6) are still needed for some of our high-end technical products. We are working with our partners to eliminate fluorocarbons from all our ranges by AW24.

What are fluorocarbons/PFCs?
Fluorocarbons (also known as PFCs) are a category of synthetic chemicals that are used to make man-made products waterproof. They can be found in anything from non-stick cookware to takeaway boxes, carpets and toiletries. When it comes to clothing, adding fluorocarbons to a fabric means water beads on its surface and rolls off, rather than being absorbed.



Understanding Microfibres

Our materials experts are engaged with ongoing research to increase understanding of microfibres. Microfibres, or fibre shedding, is the process of fibre loss from a textile product during its life.


We know that all types of fibres have the tendency to shed to some extent - the full impact of their presence and impact on human and animal health and the environment are growing areas of research.

The Microfibre Consortium (TMC) 2030 Commitment

We are committed to The Microfibre 2030 Commitment. A roadmap for the outdoor sector to take meaningful, science-based, coordinated action on fibre shedding from textiles. By working with TMC we can contribute to anonymised testing data and collaborate with peers on research topics.


Microfibres: Our Commitment

✅ Test 100% of new midlayer fabrics from AW21 onwards

✅ Test baselayers from AW22 onwards

✅ Submit all TMC test data to the Microfibre Data Portal (a minimum of five test fabrics per year)
We are gradually swapping over to TMC test methodology from an alternative that was being used in some of our third-party verified labs.


We have a deep love and respect for the planet and through our business operations work to combat climate change, reduce waste and protect the environment.



We’re reducing the amount of plastic packing we use. Packaging is vital to protecting your kit in transit. We’re cutting down how much we use. Only using what’s essential.

Re-Using “Single Use” Plastics

Research from the European Outdoor Group (EOG) shows that plastic polybags have the least environmental impact for protective packaging for outdoor products. Even compared to bio-degradable and paper options.


The biggest issue with plastic is its disposal.

Municipal recycling streams cannot, generally, process thin film polybags – instead, they get burnt, landfilled, or exported. We’re working with the EOG to create a system where these polybags are collected and recycled by brands and businesses, rather than burdening consumers.
Treating plastic as a valuable resource. Not waste.



It's the people we work with that sit at the heart of our business. Our production employs over 19,500 people globally. Keeping close contact with all our partners means we can be flexible and support each other.


Where We Work
We run a manufacturing site in the UK where we hand fill all our down sleeping bags, manufacture our expedition suits, and wash and repair products for our customers.

All our other manufacturing takes place in Asia, carried out by manufacturing partners who meet our high technical standards.

In our 2022-23 financial year, we worked with:
✅ 19 manufacturing partners

✅ 26 sites across Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Vietnam and 1 site in the UK

✅ Over 19,500 people are employed by our manufacturing partners globally


76% Of our production volume from partners who we’ve worked with for more than five years.
90% Of our production volume from manufacturing sites audited at least once in the last three years.


Conducting Business Responsibly
Conducting business responsibly is part of our DNA and always has been. But being a “responsible business” isn’t the same for everyone. That’s why in 2022 we created our Responsible Business Conduct Policy. It outlines what stakeholders can expect from us and, where relevant, what we expect from them.


Fair Wear

"After the challenges of the previous few years, 2022 gave us the opportunity to realise some of the benefits we’ve achieved after the hard work and decisions we’ve been making though this period.

Reaching Fair Wear Leader status in only our second Brand Performance Check is a great achievement. It is recognition for the long-term relationships we have built with our suppliers over the years. These relationships create resilience in our businesses and allow us to improve the working conditions, safety and wellbeing for the people who make our products."
- Matt Gowar, CEO 


We are the kindred spirits. We are the voices that spur you on. We are the Mountain People.



We’ve supported OBT for four years

They work with schools, colleges, and employers to inspire young people to defy their limitations. So they become strong, resilient and curious. Confident. Ready for life’s challenges.


Following the renewal of our multi-year partnership in January 2022, we supported the OBT to work with a local Derbyshire school on two residential courses in Aberdovey, Mid Wales.


In May 2022, 48 Year 8 students enjoyed a range of outdoor activities. Four Equip employees volunteered as the OBT ambassadors and mentors, inspiring the students while developing their own communciation, teamwork, and leadership skills.


Women’s Trad Festival

For 6 years, Women’s Trad Festival has been breaking down the barriers of entry into the outdoors. We’ve supported them every step of the way.

That doesn’t mean simply funding – it means getting our hands dirty:

✔️ We’ve helped people put up tents for the first time

✔️ We’ve loaned equipment to participants without waterproof clothing

✔️ We’ve shared our stories demonstrating how women are shaping the industry

✔️ We’ve listened to feedback on how to make our products better for women

✔️ We’ve learned how we can help improve outdoor access for underrepresented groups

✔️ And in 2021, we offset unavoidable carbon emissions from the event, after working closely with the WTF team to minimise their impact. WTF 2021 was a climate-neutral event



AIARE Women’s Mentorship program | USA
The Women’s Mentorship Program supports aspiring, new, and experienced women avalanche educators by:

✅ Hosting and providing scholarship funds for women’s-specific PRO1 and Instructor Training Courses

✅ Connecting women with mentors and community via application-based mentorship cohorts.

✅ And organizing events that include panel discussions and structured networking opportunities.
In partnership with Rab, the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education is creating a community for women to connect with likeminded people and develop their avalanche education. The aim is to bolster women’s participation and engagement in avalanche education by building supportive communities of women.
“There’s something special about woman-to-woman mentorship. When another person you can identify with is crushing it at anything, it’s much easier to see yourself in their boots — the she can do it, I can do it mentality.” - Amy Jane David, Athlete, AIARE Mentor


All In Ice Festival | Ouray Ice Park, Colorado, USA
All In Ice Fest held its inaugural gathering in January 2022. The festival is centred around the experience of LGBTQIA2S+, Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC), and adaptive climbers. This is a platform to focus on marginalised groups and create opportunities to develop as climbers. There were clinics geared towards beginners and advanced climbers.

We had employees and Rab athlete, Marcus Garcia, attend the weekend. Marcus taught clinics, and we provided demo gloves and jackets to participants who needed them.
“Supporting traditionally marginalized groups get into climbing and mountaineering is some of the most urgent work we can be doing right now. It’s important that people get to meet and climb with others they associate with. We’re proud to be helping the All In Ice Fest get more people into the outdoors.” - Jon Frederick, Group Marketing Director

Our Mountain Manifesto is a set of shared commitments to help us all tread more lightly on the planet. Join us in creating positive change in our industry. Product: Prolong life and performance and minimise the impact of end-of-life. Planet: Drive more sustainable packaging solutions and highlight the environmental impact of air freight. Partner: Improve standards for workers and minimise the impact of late orders. People: Improve diversity and inclusion and remove barriers to access