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Rab Material Facts: A Transparent Labelling System

Rab Material facts on phone

Rab’s simple solution to the complicated questions around sustainable outdoor gear.

Rab are making it easier to navigate the confusing sustainability claims you’ll see when buying your outdoor clothing and equipment.

They have been on a continuous journey to reduce the impact of their business on the environment and drive meaningful change in the way they make and ship their products. But they realised that we, the consumers, are demanding more.

Rab jacket tag

Transparent labelling

With more and more products being labelled ‘green’, ‘sustainable’, or ‘eco-friendly’, and little explanation of what these labels really mean, they recognise that it has become difficult to understand the true impact of the gear we buy.

This has led Rab to introduce Material Facts, an industry-first which allows them to share their products’ sustainability credentials in a clear and simple way. Their new Material Facts tables put the data in your hands, helping you to make informed choices by showing you which materials their products are made from, and where they’re made.

“The program leads the way by taking into account consumers’ and retailers’ demands for accurate and honest sustainability product claims.”

This ground-breaking step is an important part of their pledge to be transparent about what’s in your gear, giving you the information you need in a concise, easy-to understand format.

Product Director, Tim Fish adds that “communicating sustainability information is complex and means different things to different people, often leading to misleading claims and greenwashing. We’ve developed our non-branded Material Facts program to provide consumers with enough information to make their own educated purchasing decisions. The program leads the way by taking into account consumers’ and retailers’ demands for accurate and honest sustainability product claims.”

Rab material facts product scan

Material Facts tables

From Autumn/Winter 2023, Rab will publish Material Facts tables for their apparel range and sleeping bags. You’ll be able to find the tables on each product’s page on their website, or through scanning a QR code on the item’s hangtag.

With a simple black and white design that makes it straightforward to find the information you need, the Material Facts tables are similar to the nutritional information labels you might find on the food you buy.

The details provided are:

  • Total recycled materials by weight, followed by a detailed breakdown of the recycled content in the fabrics, insulation, zips, and trims.
  • Whether the product as a whole is fluorocarbon-free, followed by the fluorocarbon content by component.
  • Country of origin.

Rab have designed the tables to make it easy to add further criteria as it becomes available in the future.

Woman at sewing machine

Frequently asked questions about Rab Material Facts

QHow is Material Facts different from other approaches?

A Material Facts is about honesty and passion for detail. Sustainability data is incredibly complex and means different things to everyone. Rab want to provide you with enough information to make your own educated decision. As part of their transparency pledge, they’re providing this information for all their apparel products, not just the ‘more sustainable’ ones.

QIs Rab the first brand in the outdoor industry to take such an approach?

A While we have seen a similar approach in the food industry, where nutritional informational labels take a similar format, to our knowledge this is the first time an outdoor brand has shared such detailed information with their customers.

QWill they keep Material Facts exclusively to themselves?

A No, Material Facts is not a branded programme. Rab are sharing their knowledge, inviting retailers and other brands to join their journey, from both the outdoor industry and the wider clothing industry. They see it as a solution not just for apparel but for equipment, footwear, and other goods. They’re showing their methodology and are open to an industry-wide dialogue.

QWhat aren’t Rab including in their Material Facts tables?

A Rab have tried to be as accurate and broad as possible, capturing as much data as they can, all the way down to the zip puller and care label.

That said, there are some elements that they don’t have weights for, so can’t yet include in the tables. These include glue, thread, embroidery, and screen prints. Packaging is also not included at this stage. 

For now, Material Facts only covers their clothing and sleeping bag ranges. Data tables for their backpacks, equipment, and accessories will follow in the coming seasons. Material Facts tables will also be available for Rab’s sister company Lowe Alpine in the future.

QWhich weight of garment or equipment are Rab basing their calculations on?

A Rab have aimed to use an average size to keep the data tables simple and easily comparable. This means that the clothing data is based on the weight of a UK men’s size medium or women’s size 10, while sleeping bag data is based on the weight of a regular length sleeping bag.

QWhy do Rab still use fluorocarbons (PFCs)?

A Rab have removed all long-chain fluorocarbons from their supply chain. However, some short-chain fluorocarbons are still needed for some of their most technical products. They are working with their partners to eliminate fluorocarbons from all their ranges by Autumn/Winter 2024.

About Rab

Rab's story began in 1981 in the attic of a small, terraced house in Sheffield where Rab Carrington made the first sleeping bag to bear his name. Hand-stitched and devised with his own ingenious eye, Rab's experience from years spent in the mountains was apparent in his designs, and soon there was popular demand both from friends and the growing local climbing community.

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