Re-Action was created by a bunch of outdoor enthusiasts in the French Alps. Our remit is to help tackle climate change and engage local communities in meaningful action.

Climate change

With temperatures increasing at twice the global average in the Alps, we’re witnessing a shortening of the winter season, the retreating of high altitude glaciers and a rising isotherm (rain/snow limit). Spring comes earlier each year and our local ski resorts are heavily reliant on man-made snow.

Add in the fact that around 45% of our greenhouse gas emissions come from the materials we consume and how we dispose of them, and we have identified a critical contributor to climate change. Making changes to reduce our impact in this regard will make a real difference.

The problems: over-consumption, a lack of repair skills and ‘deadstock

Playing on a mountain, in a forest, a river, the sea or the sky requires the right clothing and equipment. The materials used to make this clothing and equipment include neoprene, nylon, polyester, Goretex, merino or cotton. It usually also contains other plastics and metals. Essentially, it is clothing and equipment that has a lot of value locked within it.

Sadly, driven by our consumerist society, we dispose of much of this clothing and equipment prematurely. We’ve pinpointed 3 key reasons why:

  1. Changes in fashion
  2. A lack of repair skills
  3. Deadstock

Changes in fashion

Retro ski outfit
Retro ski outfit

Some sports are more guilty of promoting consumption through changing designs and fashions than others. Ski and snowboard equipment and outerwear fashions definitely evolve from year to year (more so than hiking gear for example). Just look back at photos from 15 years ago to gauge how fashions have changed. Remember big shouldered fluorescent onesies with cinched-in waistlines like this?

Manufacturers of skis and snowboard also have a lot to answer for. Most seasons, the technology remains identical, with only the colours and designs of the top sheet changing. That means that regardless of the fact that most people only wear a ski outfit or use a pair of skis for a week or two per year, they will be under pressure to update it for a the latest models, despite the fact that their current kit is still perfectly serviceable.

Repairing / repurposing

The phrase ‘make do and mend’ became popular in the UK during the second world war. In the face of clothing shortages and rationing, the British Ministry of Information produced a leaflet to give people tips on how to repair their clothes and make them last longer.

It encouraged people to be more creative, boost their sewing skills, go to clothing exchanges, take up knitting and even repurpose old materials into new items. Sounds good right? Sadly, modern consumerism, globalisation and the abundance of cheap clothing has meant these skills have been largely lost.

Deadstock, what is it?

Clothing and equipment manufacture generates surplus stock, offcuts and items with manufacturing or printing errors. Retail stores end up with customer returns, damaged/soiled items, failed designs and outdated/seasonal items. The name for all this surplus is deadstock.

In the vast majority of cases that a customer returns an item under warranty, the shop or manufacturer has no way of repairing that garment to put it back on sale. This is because they are invariably manufactured in Asia. Therefore, once an item is returned, it either gets stored indefinitely, incinerated or goes to landfill. This problem is GIGANTIC in scale. We dispose of millions of tonnes of serviceable items every year. These items have used planetary resources to manufacture and transport and created carbon emissions that have contributed to global warming.

Clearly there is a problem with the current linear (take – make – use – dispose) model and that’s where Re-Action comes in…

Re-Action: Re-defining outdoor equipment

Re-Action is a not-for-profit global network of sports retailers, clubs, communities and other organisations. Together we share a vision of a greener outdoor sports industry not just in the Alps, but worldwide.

Re-Action is redefining outdoor equipment and clothing retail by integrating circular models into existing operations. We do this by recruiting organisations to our membership and working with them on four key areas:

  1. Rescuing products with potential for another lifecycle (predominantly deadstock and donations from companies and individuals)
  2. Reviving them through repair and repurposing
  3. Redistributing them by reselling, renting, or donating them to the next user
  4. Reallocating profits and resources from the above activities to regenerate the planet through conservation projects, community and social initiatives

This solves the problem of deadstock for manufacturers and retailers, as they can send these items to Re-Action partners for repair and repurpose. This has the dual benefit of providing an extra income stream to member organisations. It is also a way for member organisations to engage their local communities and provide added value to their customers. For outdoor enthusiasts, it gives access to affordable pre-loved clothing and equipment.

Re-Action: a proven model

A 'fix it' station
A ‘Fix it’ station at a One Tree event

We already have several member organisations who have proved the success of this model. The not-for-profit One Tree at a Time is one such organisation. One Tree has:

  • fixed 1,000’s of garments
  • found new homes for 10,000+ items of clothing and equipment
  • run over 60 free to attend repair workshops
  • worked with local businesses to reduce their environmental impact
  • Successfully trialled a rental rail of patched up ski jackets and pants in a local ski shop
  • planted more than a 100,000 trees
  • Become a locally recognised second hand ‘brand’

One Tree has funded all of the above themselves, through a small but sustainable business model. It is a model that could be implemented within existing businesses, clubs and other organisations. One Tree’s model provides their community with a drop off point for used clothing and equipment, that offers repair services, employs locals and helps people limit their impact on the environment. One Tree has had a profound impact on a local level, having built up a large and engaged community.

Re-Action is committed to helping other organisations make change on a global scale.

If you’re part of an organisation and would be interested in joining Re-Action, find out more by downloading our prospectus.

Re-Action: Empowering people and enabling change-makers

As well as working with organisations, Re-Action focuses on engaging, empowering and encouraging people to change the way they consume and even become change-makers themselves.

Through our articles and Re-Action citizen newsletter we educate people about the impact of their outdoor clothing and equipment. We teach people ways they can look after, repair and repurpose their kit. Re-Action also works to help empower and enable people to be the change they want to see. Want to hold your own ‘Fix-it’ event, encourage kit swaps or start your own organisation focused on circular models? We can help. Simply get in touch.

Let us inspire you and send you top tips on how to mend, reuse or repurpose your kit. Sign up to our Re-Action monthly citizens newsletter.