It can always get worse. When Trek state in their first comprehensive sustainability report in the history of the company that the average bike of the brand is responsible for a CO² emission of 174 kilograms, our evasive reflex quickly comes to life: 174 kilograms, that’s about 1000 mid-size car kilometres. Or: Of course, I do buy the latest bike every year. But I don't fly to South Africa for Christmas. And the neighbour drives to the bakery in his Bugatti, I walk.
Everything can be relativised with this pattern of argument, but anyone who takes seriously their responsibility for the rest of the world starts with themselves. This also applies particularly to companies, because they have a better overview of the consequences of their actions than a normal biker in a shop ever could. For some, greenwashing is enough: Companies with a far from sustainable approach present themselves as environmentally and socially responsible with individual projects or products. They herewith deceive consumers and above all signal to politicians that everything is okay and does not need to be regulated.
The examples of this strategy are piling up. Most companies with a truly “green” approach did not just join yesterday and see their responsibility comprehensively - just as is stipulated in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The topics range from peace to education, from poverty reduction to gender justice. Our positive examples do more than pant in the slipstream of the spirit of the times, and most of them have been doing so for years:
Companies like Chris King or Pinion have specialised in indestructible products. Expert witness Dirk Zedler avoids a lot of scrap through the work of his test institute. Textile and equipment manufacturer Vaude has been flying the “green flag” for a long time. But the conviction and thoroughness with which this is done should impress even sceptics. And if Trek, as a big player in the bike industry, were to take their sustainability report seriously, the eco-balance of the bike world might really improve by a few permille.
Author: Jörg Spaniol