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Designing for Sustainable Performance Designing for Sustainable Performance
2020-09-21 08:47:00

Years of experience go into the design, creation and realisation of all of our products. Behind this stands a deep respect and love for the mountains we play, explore and adventure in. Inspired by this, our AW20 collection is devoted to everything we’re passionate about – performance, technology and the environment.

New recycled down and synthetic insulation
Debbie Read, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Rab explains our approach to recycled materials.

“Performance is of the utmost importance to us so when sourcing recycled materials for the AW20 collection we had to ensure they offered the same or better performance than original materials. We’re proud to introduce recycled down, recycled synthetic insulation and recycled fabrics to our AW20 collection. This offers consumers a choice of insulation based on their performance needs and environmental concerns.”

Recycled Down

  • 100% recycled from post-consumer down waste
  • GRS-certified P.U.R.E.® recycled down
  • With Nikwax PFC-free hydrophobic treatment to maintain performance in damp conditions
  • Same warmth-to-weight ratio and fill power as virgin down
  • Reduced environmental impact
  • Removes unnecessary waste to landfill

Using recycled down is a sustainable alternative to virgin down and helps reduce our environmental impact. It means that we don’t need to use virgin raw materials and it also helps prevent unnecessary waste going to landfill.

This season, we’re proud to be using GRS-certified P.U.R.E.® recycled down in our Microlight range. Sorted and graded in Italy before being delivered to us, P.U.R.E.® recycled down is currently the only down recycling company to be certified by the Global Recycling Standard.

The team at P.U.R.E.® are experts at reclaiming down from post-consumer waste items like duvets and pillows. The reclaimed down is sterilised, cleaned, treated with Nikwax® hydrophobic treatment and graded into different qualities and fill powers resulting in the same insulation properties as virgin down.

1. P.U.R.E.® recycled down is sourced from post-consumer waste items like duvets, pillows and other down products.

2. Sorted and graded in Italy then delivered to us, P.U.R.E.® recycled down is currently the only down recycling company to be certified by the Global Recycling Standard.

3. Using recycled down is a sustainable alternative to virgin down and helps reduce our enviromental impact.

4. The reclaimed down is sterilized, cleaned, treated with Nikwax® hydrophobic treatment and graded into different qualities.

5. With the same insulation properties as virgin down, we can take this high quality recycled down and use it to make new products.

Recycled Synthetic Insulation

  • 100% recycled from post-consumer waste
  • Warmer and more durable than previous Cirrus insulation with ‘High Loft’ insulation that traps air like down
  • Retains warmth in wet conditions
  • Made from up to 10 recycled PET bottles per jacket

Cirrus HL™ is the next generation of synthetic insulation. Developed and rigorously tested to maximise performance and minimise environmental impact, it’s warmer, more durable and 100% recycled.

Combining the benefits of natural down and a synthetic filling, Cirrus HL™ is a ‘High-Loft’ durable insulation made from up to 10 recycled PET bottles per jacket. Developed to loft like down, the structure traps air, keeping you warm in cold mountain conditions.

Responsible Down Standard

  • Maximum warmth-to-weight ratio for performance in cold conditions
  • With Nikwax PFC-free hydrophobic treatment to maintain performance in the wet
  • Ethically sourced from Europe
  • Fully traceable supply chain with highest welfare standards

Down is an integral part of our heritage. We take pride in making sure all the virgin down we use is sourced from within Europe. All of our virgin down is independently certified to the Responsible Down Standard. The RDS independently certifies down against animal welfare requirements and tracks it from the source to the final product. We believe RDS is the most robust and transparent scheme available.

Read more about RDS >

Debbie continues: “This season we’re introducing the use of recycled inner and outer fabrics across many products in our collection, including:

  • Recycled Gore-Tex Pro
  • Recycled Gore-Tex Pro Most Breathable
  • Recycled Gore-Tex Pro Most Rugged
  • Recycled Pertex Quantum
  • Recycled Pertex Quantum Pro

“We’re proud of what we’ve achieved but recognise there is still more to do. Unfortunately we’re not yet able to use recycled zips and thread but this is something we’re actively working on.”

Environmental impact

In addition to using recycled fabrics and insulation, here are some of the ways we are working to minimise our environmental impact across the business. We have a target to reduce our impact by 25% by the end of 2022. We have already made great progress, but there is always more to do.


  • Since March 2020, our UK offices and manufacturing and distribution site have run on 100% renewable electricity.


  • Monitoring and reducing overall waste from all our sites
  • Launching a closed loop cardboard packaging scheme in our UK manufacturing and distribution centre.

Raw Materials

  • Increasing the amount of recycled materials we use in our products and packaging
  • Reviewing and minimising consumer tag bundles, to minimise materials and use fully sustainable and recyclable board, and print only using soy ink.

Ways of Working

  • Driving a ‘war against plastic’ approach to minimise single use plastics. We reuse, refill and eradicate where we can and encourage all employees to consider their own behaviour to avoid plastic use
  • Encouraging cycle to work days and offering a cycle scheme for staff.
  • Introducing food waste recycling in offices.
  • Introducing native flower planters around our offices to support wildlife.


As an outdoor brand, Rab are clearly concerned about the excessive use of unnecessary plastics in our lives, and the impact this has on the environment we all enjoy so much. We are committed to reducing unnecessary plastic packaging but will only do so where there is no detrimental impact to product quality.

Rab owner Equip Outdoor Technologies are signed up as founding members of the European Outdoor Group Single Use Packaging Project – working with the industry to develop a roadmap to significantly reduce single use plastics in the value chain.

Rab has acted to reduce plastic packaging in our UK distribution process by:

  • swapping to biodegradable gum tape and replacing plastic packaging tape which is difficult to recycle and contaminates waste stream.
  • swapping to paper/cardboard distribution packaging made from sustainably sourced materials and 100% recyclable, replacing plastic mailer.

For more information on what we’re doing to minimise negative environmental impact, visit our Responsibility section.