Magazine April 2020

Resilience down to the smallest detail

The history of a great passion

The history of the German company VAUDE begins in the 1970s with founder Albrecht von Dewitz's enthusiasm for mountaineering. Though the term "outdoor" did not yet exist then, he recognized the great potential of mountaineering equipment. He founded VAUDE (after his initials v. D.) in 1974, and over the years transformed the company from a one-man business into one of the leading mountaineering brands in Europe.

Company headquarters in Germany (photo: VAUDE)

In 1980, the company was headquartered in Obereisenbach near Tettnang, very close to Lake Constance. In the following years, the company constantly expanded its product portfolio: in 1992 with the "Bike Sports" product range, which offers clothing and accessories for cyclists, and six years later with the "Packs’n Bags" range, which complements the demand for outdoor activities with fashionable and functional bags and backpacks.

In 2009, the founder's daughter, Antje von Dewitz, assumed managing control and continued to expand the company.

Sustainable and innovative

From the very beginning, VAUDE has affirmed its commitment to sustainability and the respectful treatment of people and nature. In this way, VAUDE places great significance on both high-quality products and ensuring that its production process is fair and environmentally friendly. VAUDE is the first sporting goods manufacturer to manufacture in accordance with the strict environmental standard bluesign®. In addition, the company introduced its own Green Shape Label in 2010, which certifies that products labeled as such are produced in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner. By signing the Greenpeace Detox Commitments in 2016, VAUDE also committed to avoiding all hazardous substances in its entire supply chain by the end of 2020, and to manufacture all of its products without using any PFC (perfluorcarbons). Furthermore, the newly built VAUDE Manufaktur opened in Tettnang, Germany in 2017. This facility manufactures high-quality "Made in Germany" products like waterproof bicycle panniers or high-tech alpine rucksacks.

Production in Germany (photo: VAUDE)

The company's commitment to the environment and sustainability is not however limited to its product portfolio. Since 2012 the company headquarters in Tettnang and all products produced there have been carbon neutral. In addition, this facility was completely rebuilt in a sustainable manner and was awarded DGNB certification (German Sustainable Building Council).

Leader Status with the FWF

In order to ensure the fair and responsible production of clothing, the most important manufacturing sites are managed either by VAUDE directly or in close cooperation with the respective company.

This applies to production in Germany as well as production sites in Vietnam, for example, which VAUDE founded in 2008 and has since managed together with a Vietnamese managing director. Following a complete renovation, today this facility follows the latest technical and environmental standards and provides its 1,000 employees a responsible and fair workplace.

VAUDE's great commitment to fair work conditions resulted in the company being awarded Leader Status by the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF). Almost 100% of all products are manufactured in facilities that comply with FWF standards.

VAUDE and Groz-Beckert

Just like VAUDE, Groz-Beckert also places great value on high-quality products and the fair treatment of its employees and business partners as well as the environment. So it is not surprising that VAUDE trusted its production to the quality of Groz-Beckert sewing and knitting machine needles.

Both companies share a common place of origin as well: Antje von Dewitz was born just a few hundred meters from Groz-Beckert KG headquarters in Albstadt-Ebingen.

The close partnership binding these companies will only continue to strengthen in the future. For example, it is planned to create a common Augmented Reality application that visualizes the different seams on VAUDE products as well as the Groz-Beckert products that are used to create these seams.

The company headquarters as well as certain other Groz-Beckert locations are certified: in quality management per DIN ISO 9001, which ensures compliance with specified quality standards, in environmental management per DIN ISO 14001, which minimizes the negative effects on the environment, and in occupational health and safety per OHSAS 18001, which ensures fair and safe working conditions.