Last updated: March 2017
Get ethical outdoors this spring
If you are based in the UK, then you will understand the joy at witnessing the first signs of spring. With the last bout of snow hopefully out of the picture, it's time to grab your activewear and head outside to enjoy the sunshine.
Whether you are training for a marathon, or off to enjoy a spring ramble, our guides below offer some great ethical alternatives. All the guides below are freely available to everyone, so there really are no excuses.
Walking boots are an essential item for many keen walkers. While some of the most popular brands sit at the bottom of the scoretable (Jack Wolfskin, Adidas, Columbia), it is positive to see more ethical companies selling walking boots.
Eco Vegan Shoes
The vegan companies selling walking boots made from synthetic materials all get a best rating. Eco Vegan Shoes, Wills, Vegetarian Shoes and Ethical Wares. They are all available to buy online but Vegetarian shoes also has a shop in Brighton.
See our guide to Walking Boots for more information.
Larger rucksacks are now nearly all made of polyester or nylon with a synthetic waterproof coating. However, some of the most popular brands (Adidas, Puma, Reebok, Regatta, Trespass) continue to use PVC, which is known to be environmentally toxic.
Our best buys are Fjallraven, Deuter and Patogonia as they all receive a best rating for supply chain management.
See our guide to Rucksacks for more information.
Whether you are embarking on a light walk or jog, or gearing up for marathon season, make sure you pick an athletic brand that respects our environment.
We found that over half the brands in this guide receive a worst rating for environmental reporting. Check out a number of smaller ethical companies that sit at the top of our table, producing sportswear that respects our environment and the people who make it.
See our guide to sportswear for more information.
It is important to invest in a decent pair of trainers if you are preparing for a long distance run. Luckily for you, our guide to trainers lists 47 brands, both fashion and performance types.
Many trainers brands, like Adidas and Nike, are failing factory workers with reports of low pay and even physical and verbal violence.
We list plenty of ethical brands that take responsibility for their supply chains and even offer a number of vegan options.
See our guide to trainers for more information.
Waterproofs & insulated jackets
Due to the UK's unpredictable weather, it's probably best to invest in a waterproof or insulated jacket. One of the key issues is the use of animal down in insulated jackets. Down is used to keep you warm without weighing you down.
It is a prized commodity for the outdoor equipment industry. Every year tonnes of it are processed, from millions of ducks and geese, who are often alive when they are plucked.
Our best buy is Paramo which doesn’t use down in its jackets. It also receives a best rating for supply chain management. 80% of its production takes place in a factory in Colombia, giving new opportunities to vulnerable women. Read more about Paramo's story in our Q&A.
See our guide to waterproof jackets for more information.
Can you be an ethical climber?
In a recent feature we investigated the environmental cost of the climbing industry.
The report found that the best options for consumers are 3rd Rock for apparel and Edelrid for everything else. If neither of these work for you then Wild Country is a viable alternative, but it still has some way to go until it can be considered a truly environmentally friendly company.
For more information see our rankings of 23 different brands.