Know What You’re Buying
Our work towards increasing product transparency is ongoing, and we’re committed to keeping you informed along the way. As part of this, we know products can be complex, so we’re here to help you understand where Montane products are made and what they are made from. To help aid this understanding, look out for the ‘Know what you are buying’ icon on product pages on our site. When clicked this provides additional information about the product you are looking to buy, including lower impact materials.
Lower impact materials have a reduced environmental footprint and increased traceability via third part accreditations. For example, recycled content, Responsible down standard certified down, and branded yards like Polylana. Where a product uses a DWR you can easily see whether this uses potentially harmful chemistry (PFCs). Within these tables we also provide an overall percentage of lower impact materials, this is to help you make more informed choices and to draw comparisons between our products online.
Do you want to discover in-depth material details? Look out for the ‘Know what you are buying’ icon on product pages (see example on the left).
Microfibres are tiny fragments of textile fibres that are lost during the washing and wearing of garments. They pose a significant challenge for the textile and garment industry as these fragments are known to contaminate the environment around us. They are persistent, meaning they either do not break down at all or they break down very slowly.
Unfortunately, there are widespread misconceptions that eliminating synthetic textiles (commonly used for technical and active wear) will solve this issue, however microfibres can be either natural or synthetic, and research has shown persistence from both when found in the environment. For natural fibres this is due to a range of things such as the oils used to smoothly spin the fibres into yarns, the dyes and fixatives used to produce the textiles, and any treatments added to finish textiles or garments including anti-odour, anti-mosquito, and flame retardance. In addition to this many natural fibres are blended with synthetics to improve durability (nylon), stretch (elastane), or wicking (polyester) as examples.
Microfibres from synthetic fabrics are also microplastics, however the term microplastics is broad and includes fragments from a number of sources including car tyres and the breakdown of waste plastics.
In 2023 Montane joined the IMPACT*+ Network as a Project Partner on their Independent Advisory Board, alongside partners including The Microfibre Consortium and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) as well as other small and large garment brands. The Network has been awarded £1.9million from government funding through UKRI Research Councils and aims to improve the collation, analysis and assessment of environmental impact across the fashion and textile industries. You can follow the progress of this project on their project website and on X @IMPACTnetwork23.
*Index Measures Promoting Assessment and Circular Transparency in fashion
Single Use Plastics Project
Since 2019 Montane has been a member of the European Outdoor Groups (EOG) Single Use Plastics Project. This project is working to significantly reduce single use plastic waste in the outdoor industry, by recapturing and recycling polybags. This is to limit the need for, and reduce pressure on virgin resources and keep polybags out of landfill. The focus of this work is on polybags as these were quickly identified as the industry’s largest source of single use plastic pollution.
The Single Use Plastics Project is a brilliant way in which the outdoor industry has come together to collectively tackle an issue all clothing brands face. Having established that recycled LDPE (low density polyethylene) is the most widely recycled material for polybags (as well as effectively protecting the product), we are proud to say that Montane completed the transition to using 100% recycled LDPE in all of our polybags in 2021.
In 2023 we removed polybags from our direct-to-consumer orders. As soft plastics are not commonly included in curbside recycling, doing this diverts them from landfill, enabling us to bale and recycled them instead.
Montane continues to work closely with our fabric suppliers to introduce recycled materials to our product range where available, and where performance and durability are not negatively impacted. As many technical fabrics are made from polyester and nylon which are both oil based, the purpose of switching to a recycled alternative is to reduce demand on virgin resources.
We have already integrated recycled fabrics and trims from suppliers including Pertex, Gore-tex, Primaloft, YKK and Allied Feather and Down into our product range.
We acknowledge that recycled materials are only a small step towards industry solutions targeting product circularity. Whilst textile-to-textile recycling technology remains limited in both capability and availability we recommend consumers also:
• Invest in timeless, quality product that will stand the test of time.
• Learn how best to care for your product to maintain optimum performance.
• When the time comes, repair your kit to enable it to keep on going.
Our longer-term goal is to eliminate PFAS chemicals from our supply chain by 2026.
PFAS chemicals include PFCs (perfluorinated compounds), which are commonly used in waterproof membranes and durable water repellent (DWR) textile treatments. These man-made compounds provide superior water and oil repellency, ensuring water resistance that both prevents garments from wetting out and extends the lifetime of the product by protecting the waterproof membrane from contamination.
There are growing concerns regarding the use of PFCs, because they shed from garments when washed or worn, releasing them into the environment where they have been found almost everywhere on the planet. As the perfluorinated bonds within the compound slowly break down, carbon molecules bioaccumulate and can negatively impact human and environmental health.
Traditional longer chain chemicals were known as C8 – where the compound contained eight carbon molecules. The additional number of molecules and bonds made C8 chemistry especially durable, but also especially resistant to breaking down. C8 chemistry was consequently banned and replaced by C6 chemistry. This uses six carbon molecules in a slightly shorter chain, thus having slightly less durability and slightly less negative impact. Ultimately however, shorter chemical chains only mitigate and do not solve the issue.
This has led to a global shift towards banning PFCs, where the nature and progress of legislation varies between countries and states, and has influenced a clear trend towards brands adopting PFC free membranes and DWR treatments ahead of these bans being imposed.
The transition to PFC free technology is slow for a few reasons:
• PFC free technology varies, with some solutions shifting rather than solving the issue by including chemistry containing alternative but still concerning ingredients.
• PFC free technology typically struggles to match the performance and durability of technology based on PFCs, thus offering lower protection and potentially reducing product longevity.
• Many manufacturers and brands will own fabric or finished stock made before this transition, which needs to be used up and sold rather than simply being discarded.
Montane introduced our first products using a perfluorinated compound (PFC) free durable water repellency (DWR) in 2019. Since then, we have been working hard to test and introduce PFC free products where user protection and product performance are not compromised. Our transition to eliminating PFCs is partially dependent on our material and trim suppliers sharing our goals and taking action that filters into Montane products.
Animal welfare is a critical part of our sourcing decisions, and some Montane products contain animal derived materials that offer exceptional performance. These include wool, down and leather, where our certification to or membership with the below organisations supports material traceability. For those looking to avoid animal content we also offer synthetic alternatives to the materials described here.
Where merino wool is used in our range it is always certified to be mulesing-free, prohibiting the act of mulesing. Mulesing treats a common infection for merino sheep called flystrike, where infected flesh is removed from the sheep, often without anesthetic. Regular shearing and antibiotics can be used to prevent flystrike and are more humane. This is why Montane places importance on ensuring all of the merino wool we are sourcing is certified as being muleseing-free.
In 2015, Montane became the first brand in the world to implement the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) across our entire down collection. The RDS is a comprehensive global, third-party-certified, animal welfare and traceability standard for down and feathers. The RDS ensures that the down in a product does not come from birds that have been live-plucked or force-fed, and that the welfare of the birds is protected throughout their full life. The entire supply chain – farms, collectors, slaughterhouses, down processors, sewing factories and distribution centres – are inspected by independent, professional certification bodies annually to guarantee complete traceability and compliance.
We have a small number of styles that use certified recycled down, which cannot be accredited to the Responsible Down Standard because the origin is unknown due to it being recycled. For the same reason we do not specify whether our recycled down comes from geese or from ducks (this detail is given on Montane products using virgin down).
Leather is exclusively used in our gloves, where small areas of leather are a bi-product of the meat industry. The processes used to source, tan and dye leather are water, chemical, and energy intensive. We are committed to supporting responsible leather manufacturing across the globe, and in 2023 Montane became a member of the Leather Working Group (LWG). The LWG audit tanneries against environmental aspects including water, chemical and waste management, and energy use. The tannery is then graded as either Gold, Silver, Bronze or simply ‘Audited’. For AW23 60% of the leather Montane uses came from LWG audited facilities with a Gold certificate; by Autumn Winter 2025 this will be 100%. The audit certificates our suppliers hold in turn support the protection of workers in this supply chain from unsafe exposure to harsh chemicals. As global traceability in leather supply chains advances this membership will help Montane to stay at the forefront of how to maximise transparency for the leather we use.
Montane does not produce any products that require the use of fur, exotic skins, angora, or silk.
With huge quantities of insecticides, pesticides and water being used in conventional cotton production, Montane has committed all of our cotton products to using certified organic cotton. This gives cotton farmers greater flexibility regarding crop rotation, protects them from first-hand chemical use and prevents hazardous chemicals from draining into local waterways used for agriculture and drinking water.
All of our organic cotton is sourced in India and our organic cotton t-shirts are made in a factory certified to SA8000 (Social Certification Standard) and the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard). In addition, we are committed to upholding our human rights due diligence everywhere our products are sourced and manufactured, with the cotton we use being sourced in alignment with international guidance. This is monitored as part of our membership with the Fair Wear Foundation.
PVC and Phthalates
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is commonly used for the screen printing of garments, in conjunction with plasticisers such as phthalates. Prints are heat-fixed to fabrics to ensure durability throughout their lifespan, however, phthalates can leach out from garment manufacturers wastewater, and even onto the wearer's skin after purchase. Phthalates have been linked to disrupting hormone levels as well as being a suspected carcinogen. For this reason, Montane only use printing inks which are free from PVC and phthalates.
The t-shirt manufacturer Montane uses is also GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified, as is their local dye house. This ensures that any wastewater is processed in line with GOTS certification, and monitored at regular intervals to maintain this and ensure zero discharge of effluents (chemical residues) into local water systems.