Sustainability was in the air. The snow, however, was not.

17. March 2020

While there was no snowfall at ISPO Munich this year, the topic of sustainability was in the air. The lack of snow drew attention around campaigns like #protectourwinters and #savetheseasons. There was no exhibitor at ISPO who did not have a sustainable claim present. As a gathering of the outdoor community, ISPO came together this year to move forward, responsibly. We can be honest: Shorter winter seasons means the winter sport industry will suffer.

The Sustainability Hub was a key indicator of the focus that was placed on environmental topics. The Sustainability Hub became the beehive of conversation that buzzed throughout the halls. Brands both big and small, suppliers, academics, and activists took on the topic of environmental responsibility.

Sponsoring the Sustainability Hub as a part of our 20th anniversay was a highlight for Bluesign as we underline the 20 years we have worked towards a clean, responsible, and sustainable supply chain. The Sustainability Hub featured daily speakers and leadership initiatives surrounding environmental initiatives and actions. It also presented the actions and success stories from companies and organizations along their sustainability journey. Walls of displaying organizational accomplishments solidified sustainable action as something that is now interwoven in company processes and future planning.

Topics of sustainability were not limited to issues like fibers created from ocean plastic or the advent of the circular economy; the topics extended to water saving printing, and energy saving solutions, and ways to reduce or recycle waste, all in the aim to leave less of a negative impact.

Innovations showcased at ISPO include the use of hybrid yarns and new water saving yarn dying processes. Also showcased were various cinnamon infused fabrics as a microbial treatment, and a shoe foam made from sea algae. ISPO saw a rise of hemp fabrics as it is much more water efficient.

In connection to these new product’s sustainable claims, hard questions about labeling and certifications were asked. Many in the industry questioned the validity of labels and wanted to know how they could substantiate their authentic sustainable claims in an industry known for greenwashing.  

While in previous years there had been a greater focus on production performance, this year we saw a bigger shift of cleaner processes mixed with creativity.

The Nordic brands were amongst the frontrunners for environmental practices. The images of Nordic landscapes that are associated with Nordic brands invoke a feeling of natural simplicity.

The bluesign® SYSTEM PARTNER, Bergans of Norway, was the winner of the ISPO Sustainability Award for its “Collection of tomorrow” featuring a minimalistic white backpack:


"The Sustainability Achievement is above all a motivation for the whole team. And the proof that we are on the right track with our partner Spinnova. We're talking about a prototype, but one that gives an outlook on the product development of the future. In developing the "Collection of tomorrow" backpack, our aim was to test not only new methods and processes, but also new approaches. That is why the "Collection of tomorrow" backpack is a first important step. Now it is time to continue research and push new developments to the ramp. And the Sustainability Award helps us a lot to communicate that."

-  Jan Tore Jensen, CEO Bergans


Additionally, bluesign® SYSTEM PARTNER, Klättermusen, won not one, not two, but three Gold awards for a jacket, pair of pants, and a backpack.


"Technically superb, with a melding of four different interesting fabrics and an elegant design, this pack is super lightweight, functional and should last you a lifetime."

- Cath Prisk, CEO of Outdoor People


In addition to the Sustainability Hub, Bluesign was also the sponsor for the ISPO Academy Masterclass. The ISPO Academy Masterclass is, “a unique intermediate project for the `Designers of Tomorrow’, striving at the core to inject a fresh breeze into the sports industry, and aims to break conformity with pioneering approaches. The distinctive feature of the Masterclass is to convey sports related knowledge and to explore the creative and functional potential of performance wear in the 21st century”.  

Just as the Masterclass places the spotlight on future creators, Bluesign placed the focus on the designers’ responsibilities of apparel lifespan. What must be taken into consideration from the beginning of a garment’s conceptualization is its chemical composition. While beakers and bunsen burners may seem as fashionable as crocs, chemicals are a key component in deciding a products form and function. The stretch of your headbands and the water-repellant of your ski-pants are all based off a unique chemical composition. The composition of a garment is ultimately the deciding factor for the circularity of the textile product. As Bluesign speaker, Maren Herter states, “smart design is the most critical stage of a products lifecycle”. If designers take responsibility for the entirety of the composition of their designs, their garments can be re-introduced into the textile lifecycle and keep its value. 

ISPO announced future initiatives, missions, and goals on March 8th. On July 29th 2020, ISPO will be taking part in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit together with the representatives of the United Nations. Under this summit, the two organizations hope to share information, transfer best practices, and continue to motivate the community towards sustainable goals.

To this end bluesign will also continue in our engagement and support of platforms and activities which are in line with our sustainable mission.

We look forward to seeing you at future events.

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