Since its inception in 1995, Icebreaker has held the welfare of living beings and the planet as a priority. Founder, Jeremy Moon’s, aim was to provide garments for outdoor adventures with less reliance on petrochemical fibers, paving way for a more sustainable future for us – and the planet. In a world gripped by synthetics and their accompanying technology, Icebreaker had its fair share of ground breaking to do in order to get traction with the world’s first natural layering system. The Icebreaker team means it when they say “people should know exactly what they’re putting next to their skin and how it was made. Sustainability isn’t just a feature of our products, it’s in the values and design of our business.” This belief breeds a focus on transparency. Honing in on their pillars of being a natural, ethical and transparent brand, Icebreaker has recently been awarded with an A+ rating by the 2018 Ethical Fashion Report. This grade was only awarded to 8 of the 114 global brands reviewed in the report.

Icebreaker’s products and business strategies merited them excelling ratings in the following categories

  • Policies (company’s code of conduct, sourcing and subcontracting policies, liaising efforts with other organisations that work to combat exploitation)
  • Knowing their suppliers (transparency and traceability)
  • Auditing and supplier relationships (compliance with company policy within the supply chain as well efforts with suppliers to improve working conditions)
  • Worker empowerment (living wages and assessment of efforts for worker protection and well being such as unions, collective bargaining agreements, and grievance mechanisms).

The Ethical Fashion Report measures the efforts undertaken by businesses to mitigate risks in the realms of child labor, forced labor and worker exploitation in their supply chains. Higher grades were awarded when systems were put in place to reduce exploitation rates. When diving into the moving parts of their supply chain, Icebreaker addressed the following question: “what if our customers could see everything we do?”.

Icebreaker is a global phenomenon being sold in more than 4,500 stores in 47 different countries spanning the globe. They also employ people and source materials from a variety of different countries. Icebreaker has come up with a report outlining the business from front to back, aiming to provide a high level of public transparency to their consumers and partners. The report covers aspects of the business including history, philosophy, Icebreaker’s product, Icebreaker’s employees, the materials they use and the people they source it from as well as an in depth overview of their supply chain. They touch on important topics such as animal welfare (including results from auditing their growers), the natural make up of their principal material, design principles, product packaging including current and future sustainability efforts as well as case studies on their supply chain to highlight who they work with and how they work with them. Icebreaker’s transparency report is leading in the industry as it offers extreme transparency to the public, even including the names, audit dates, and addresses of their suppliers, offering consumers and potential partners the opportunity to do their own research and come to their own conclusions should they wish to do so. Icebreaker not only highlights their positive efforts and success stories, but also outline areas where they have room for improvement and exemplify strategies and future plans to reach their goals. Dive in to Icebreaker’s business, front to back, by checking out Icebreaker’s Transparency Report.

As consumers, we can have a large impact with both our buying power and our words. If you want to get involved with this movement, there are a few easy things you can do! On a daily basis, you can ensure you’re making ethical routine purchases by educating and empowering yourself. The Ethical Fashion Guide can be a good start to get a peek into what companies are up to in terms of their traceability within their supply chains, policies and efforts to mitigate exploitation within their entire production processes. You can download/order the Ethical Fashion Guide here. It is important to note that in an effort to encourage organisations to be transparent with the public, non-responsive companies are given low grades rather than no grades at all. The Ethical Fashion report believes that “if companies haven’t been transparent about what they are doing to uphold worker rights, then there is virtually no avenue for the public to feel confident that their products are being made in a way that is free of exploitation.” As such, it may be worth while doing external research if you are loyal to a company that may not be as public with their efforts. In this, you can help encourage public transparency and high standards among the brands you love so that those around you will also be capable of making informed purchasing decisions. The Baptist World Aid Australia group also urges consumers to write to companies included in the guide to show consumer support of guaranteed living wages for workers within the product supply chains. The organisation offers letter writing templates to help you get in touch with the organisations you purchase from. It’s also great to show support to the industry players who are excelling in this aspect of their business – thanking them for their intentions and efforts to stand as role models among competitors. This report highlights the fact that it is possible to succeed in this industry while upholding to these standards. Empowered and educated consumers have a massive voice, and one that can be a catalyst for change!




About The Author


Some 80 years ago, a young bushwalker's dissatisfaction with the limited and heavy bushwalking equipment available prompted him to design and make his own. Before long, word spread, and Paddy Pallin's lightweight, functional designs were soon in demand among fellow bushwalkers. From its early days the company has concentrated on supplying bushwalkers, travellers and adventurers with the highest quality and most advanced products and knowledge. Since 1930 the company has grown to become Australia's leading supplier of specialist outdoor and travel gear. The company, still owned by the Pallin family, now has thirteen stores throughout Australia as well as online, mail order and corporate sales divisions. We are using our vast wealth of knowledge, and experience, to build an online community where we can share our stories, reviews and tech tips to help you research and plan your next adventure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.