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Interview: we talk environment, sustainability and lockdown, with Nikwax’s Sustainability Director

Here at Nikwax, our passion for the great outdoors and protection of the environment is at the heart of what we do. We constantly strive to improve our sustainability and environmental credentials throughout the business, and with that focus, we employed our own Director of Sustainability.

We speak to Maïté Angleys about Nikwax, the outdoor industry, and the impact of lockdown.

So then Maïté, how did you become Director of Sustainability?
I undertook a Bachelor’s Degree in Intercultural Business Studies and during this course, I started to ask questions about business ethics. Much of what we were taught included telling us ‘this is how businesses should run’ … I began to question that information, or simply did not agree with what I was being told. When the questions became more pressing from me, it led to me moving on to do a Masters in Sustainability Management. I wanted to learn how you lead a business in a sustainable way.  

As part of my Masters, I ended up doing an internship with Páramo – this went really well and I actually went on to do my thesis with Páramo. I analysed sustainability management tools and held a meeting, which Nick Brown (CEO) sat in on. He seemed impressed and went on to ask if I would like to start in a role as Director of Sustainability at Nikwax!

Nikwax has achieved a vast amount over the last 44 years and continues to do so. Since joining the company, what has been a key moment for you within your role as Sustainability Director?
Firstly, it is the creation of the role of Sustainability Director, not because of me having this role! The fact that Nikwax chose to have this role embedded high within the company structure, solely dedicated to this topic, is key. To me, it says a lot about how Nikwax takes this issue seriously – many other companies do not have such a role in their organisation.

We have also just completed the development of our sustainability strategy for 2025. We have seen that across the entire company people have put in extra hours, interest and creativity to the development of this strategy. This is remarkable and cannot be taken for granted. 

What are the current key focuses for Nikwax, in terms of sustainability and the environment?
The most pressing issue is the climate crisis and loss of biodiversity, so we are focusing on our climate action programme, where we work towards energy reduction and reduction of GHG emissions.

With biodiversity loss, we have been re-naturalising the farmland behind one of our business locations in rural Sussex. We are trying to heighten biodiversity right on our doorstep and want to ensure the beautiful landscape continues to exist.

Lastly, our chemical management system, where we are developing a comprehensive and holistic system to ensure nothing hazardous comes in or leaves our production. The chemical management system helps us to constantly develop further and lessen the environmental impact of our products and our production.

Nikwax has forged relationships with a number of environmental organisations, can you tell us a little about these?
Since 2007, we have had a key relationship with the World Land Trust (WLT) through Carbon Balancing. We compensate our operative emissions and our contribution helps to protect and regenerate vital ecosystems. WLT focus on using donations to purchase land in order to conserve fragile habitats, rather than, for example, undertaking reforestation to compensate for C02 emissions. After all, you cannot simply replace one ecosystem with another!

We have worked with the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) since its foundation in 2006. The great thing with EOCA is that they raise funds from members of the outdoor industry and they have supported some vast conservation projects, which get voted for by members and the public. Our CEO, Nick, was actually the Vice-President for some time on the board of EOCA.

One of their recent campaigns was to plant 2 million trees – which is a lot! – a target they achieved in two years. The Plastic Free: Mountain to Sea project followed, focusing on plastic removal from the environment (rivers, forests and mountains). They smashed their 2-year target of clearing 3,000km of waste, instead clearing a total of 4,183km of plastic pollution! Bringing outdoor members together, they maximise the impact they would have, compared to if each organisation just campaigned by themselves.

Lastly is the Green Commerce and Chemistry Council (GC3). They are US-focused and hold an annual roundtable for green chemistry, which again involves some big industry players. They are dedicated towards developing sustainable chemistry and chemical solutions. There are companies involved such as DuPont and Dow, large-scale companies that may not focus so much on sustainability compared to others. However, in order to evoke change, these are the people to speak to, because the impact they can have due is enormous.

Where would you like to see the outdoor industry in the next 5 years, in terms of sustainability?
For it to be completely PFC-free! This is something that should have happened five years ago – there is no excuse for bigger industry players to proclaim that there is such a thing as “harmless PFCs”, we know there isn’t. To be fully PFC-free definitely needs to happen.

I would like to see the industry well on its way to achieving a Net Zero Co2 emissions target, in line with science-based targets.  Targets are considered ‘science-based’ if they are in line with what the latest climate science deems necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement – limiting global warming to well-below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

What key things do you feel people could do to help make their lives more sustainable for the planet?
Everybody should always try to consume/purchase less, which is not easy, but with each purchase we make, stop and ask yourself “Do I really need this?”

Secondly, try to purchase better quality products in order to make things last longer. If you purchase items that are better quality, then a) you would have more money and b) things would last longer.

Lastly, think about the impact that advertising has on you. What is causing that need to have something new, to have something else, which can lead to being wasteful? We underestimate how many companies put these thoughts in to our heads, with subtle techniques to keep buying. This need to purchase is often planted into our brains by companies who may not have a very sustainable business model. It is about an awareness that we should try and have.

Do you feel that the past year, with people experiencing lockdown and the pandemic, has had any impact on the environment, or how people just think about the outdoors?
Yes, I think there is a certain change. We can see this across all of Europe – people are becoming more aware of what natural environment is right there on their doorsteps. There is a great meme about the pandemic, ‘Covid or The Great Walk’ – people are walking around their houses and local areas because they cannot travel further afield, so have to explore their immediate location.

Sadly, this is potentially not very long lasting because there is the chance that once this pandemic is over, people could return to their old habits very quickly. I would like to see people learn from this current situation because there is a lot we can compare between the pandemic and the climate crisis. It is something where we have to look reality in the eye, as the climate crisis is so real and right on our doorsteps.

What is your favourite outdoor pastime in Germany and why?
Cycling through Munich. I cycle everywhere – I never used to cycle, it was not something my family really did. I always found it too cold and rainy. However, now I cycle everywhere – you get to see all parts of where you live – you can cycle through the seasons and see your surroundings change around you. I get to experience changes in my neighbourhood and it just makes me feel happy.

Can you give us one happy tip to help people get through this current time when we are experiencing lockdown life?
During lockdown, I have found group Zooms are fun. After a day working online you often wish to escape from your PC, however, meeting online allows you to socialise with a group of people you have not seen for some time, and who have all come together for downtime and some fun. It’s a great mood lifter and a means to interact with friends!

 

 

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Help Syrian Brown Bears in Armenia

Twice a year the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) hold a public and members vote, from which conservation projects around the world can apply to receive funding to help their cause. From each voting session (spring and autumn) three organisations will then receive funds from EOCA to further their projects and help key environmental / conservational causes.

The submitted projects are split into three categories: Landscape & Wildlife, Mountain & Forest, and, Plastic Clean Up.

Nikwax, as a member of EOCA, is proud to have nominated the following project to have the chance to win vital funds within the autumn public vote.

Please can you take a moment to read the project detail below and then click HERE to give them your vote! Voting is open 7th – 21st October 2019

Organisation: Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC).

FPWC works for wildlife protection, environmental education and sustainable development, engaging rural populations in the sustainable development of their communities.

Their project:
The Syrian Brown Bear has been the victim of uncontrolled hunting, trapping and persecution since the break-up of the Soviet Union, which has rapidly driven down its numbers as well as populations of many other species. FPWC privately protects about 30,000 hectares of land, creating a buffer zone near the main reserve of Armenia, Khosrov and safe corridors for wild animals’ passage.

FPWC, in cooperation with International Animal Rescue, started the first centre in the country that rehabilitates and eventually releases rescued captive bears back into the wild. The population of the species is now growing and the project will be working on finding solutions to prevent human-bear conflict, restoring habitat destroyed by illegal logging and forest fires, planting native fruit seedlings outside conflict zones, in order to keep bears away from areas of habitation. The project will also investigate the conflict cases, map the conflict zones and install mobile electric fences in the most vulnerable places, run anti-poaching / logging patrols and encourage hiking, biking and wildlife watching activities as well as visits to the bear rescue centre.

 

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#PlogForPlastic with Nikwax and help tackle plastic pollution!

At the recent OutDoor by ISPO show in Munich, Nikwax® was excited to announce a new campaign to help tackle the issue of plastic pollution. Nikwax has teamed up with Swedish trail runner, Erik Ahlström, to launch #PlogForPlastic.

Erik Ahlström is the founder of a concept called Plogging – it simply means litter picking whilst jogging! The term Plogging combines `jogging` with `plocka upp` – Swedish for `pick up`. An activity anyone can get involved with, Plogging is suitable for all ages and fitness abilities. The movement has picked up in other countries, including the US, over the last couple of years and will benefit both participants and the environment around them.

Why should you care about plastic pollution?
It is an uncomfortable truth that plastic pollution is harming our planet’s most sensitive and vital ecosystems. From the deepest oceans to inland habitats and waterways, the volume of plastic accumulation in our natural world is causing long-term damage to natural habitats and wildlife. It makes our enjoyment of the great outdoors harder, because we are ultimately responsible for the decline in threatened species and the destruction of such valuable habitats.

The release of plastic into the environment is unnecessary and unless we take action, we will not have the green outdoors to step into and enjoy, that we have had for so many years.

So, what is the Nikwax #PlogForPlastic campaign and how can you get involved?
It is easy to join in on our campaign! Nikwax will be hosting a series of Plogging events in parks across the UK and Europe this summer. Our aim is to encourage people of all ages and fitness levels to step outdoors and be active whilst helping us clean up the environment in the process. Just kit yourself out in your running gear and bring a pair of gloves to litter pick! The reward, aside from keeping fit, is seeing the green space where you live turned back to a healthy environment that everybody can enjoy. Now that is good for body and soul!

That is not all… If you want to set up your own Plogging event then we can help you do so! Perhaps you are part of a running club and you want to give your runners a new challenge? Do you just want to bring members of your community together for a day? Let us know and we will send you a #PlogForPlastic starter kit! The kit includes information on how to organise your own plog, as well as posters, flyers and samples. We will also promote your own #PlogForPlastic via our website and social media – to help you get coverage and participants for your event!

The Nikwax #PlogForPlastic event information is available HERE.

What will benefit from your #PlogForPlastic?
First and foremost, the local green space where you choose to Plog! It will return to a natural state, with no plastic to damage the environment there. Every Plog undertaken will lead to a greater amount of areas freed up from plastic pollution – a great benefit!

Alongside this, every piece of plastic collected during our campaign will count towards a project run by the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA). “Plastic Free: Mountain to Sea” has been set up with a focus to clear plastic waste from 3,000km of natural habitat within the next two years. Nikwax has supported EOCA for over 12 years and we are delighted to think that our campaign could help them achieve their target.

Why has Nikwax decided to #PlogForPlastic?
Nikwax has always been responsible when it comes to using plastic to deliver its Sweatproofing and Waterproofing aftercare. We have always ensured that our bottles are fully recyclable. In January 2019, we announced that by the end of 2020, one hundred percent of our bottles will be made from post-consumer recycled plastic.

We are committed to raising awareness of the hazard caused by plastic pollution and we want to further our goal of taking plastic out of the natural environment. What better way to do this, by combining an activity that encourages everyone to get outdoors and be healthy and active, whilst cleaning up the green space around them?

Tips for you to #PlogForPlastic!
If you cannot make any of the Nikwax events, there are many ways you can undertake a Plog.

  • Not much of a runner? You can #PlogForPlastic whilst out on a nice walk – take an early morning stroll in some woodland, or along a beach, and see what you can collect whilst there.
  • Want to keep the kids busy during summer holidays? Set them a challenge of their own Plog and see who can collect the most within an hour. Ensure they have protective gloves on and keep a watchful eye over them though, to make sure they don’t pick up anything which could hurt them, such as glass.
  • Turn your normal dog walk in to a dog jog and combine your everyday activity into one where you not only keep your pet happy and healthy, but you are keeping your environment tidy too.
  • Dress appropriately! Jogging can be tiring but when you are plogging you are turning your fitness into a different exercise routine, what with bending down to pick up litter. You want some comfortable, breathable base layers that will wick away sweat whilst you Plog and keep your body temperature regulated. Give your base layers some care first by using Nikwax BaseFresh® in your laundry – the formula ensures any nasty body odours are removed from your gear, keeping you smelling fresh whilst plogging.

Tell us about your #PlogForPlastic! We want to hear about any plogging event you participate in – we can share these stories and encourage others to get up and out to help clear up the environment.

For all things #PlogForPlastic, check out our site HERE

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The Nikwax Philosophy – More Than Waterproofing. Part 3 – Supporting Conservation

At Nikwax, our focus is on the great outdoors and ensuring we can help people enjoy being outside and making the most of the natural world. Apart from creating aftercare which helps keep people warm, safe and dry outdoors, we also place emphasis upon the responsibility we hold to help care and protect the natural world and vital ecosystems we both enjoy and rely upon.

This logo represents the Nikwax approach to Supporting Conservation.

Here at Nikwax, we believe that everybody has a vested interest in and responsibility to protect the natural world, and there are organisations in place which focus solely on conserving threatened areas. One such organisation which Nikwax strongly supports is the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA).

EOCA is formed of over 130 businesses from within the European Outdoor Industry, which together raise funds to put into conservation projects around the world in a bid to save and preserve endangered habitats and wildlife. Nick Brown, CEO of Nikwax, is now Vice President of EOCA and Nikwax itself has been working closely with the organisation since it was created back in 2006.


©Yadesa Aceh

For more than 12 years, EOCA has helped over 100 projects in over 44 countries, providing over €2 million in funding for conservation. Every year non-profit organisations can apply to EOCA for funding grants and EOCA Members can then nominate projects they wish to back, with a successful shortlist being put out for a public vote to determine who will receive funding. There have been a wide variety of projects which have benefitted from this funding; ranging from protection of Elephant corridors in India, to the protection of Old-Growth forests in Sweden, through to the restoration of fragile habitats in the West Fjords region of Iceland.

One key EOCA fundraising event which Nikwax supported was their Two Million Tree Project,which commenced in 2016. As a means to celebrate EOCA turning 10 years old, and having given over €2 million towards conservation, they created a project that anybody could take part in – to plant over 2 million trees. In June 2018 they smashed their target, with more than 2.5 million trees planted!


©John Muir Trust

To mark Nikwax’s 40 year birthday milestone we wanted to do something that would leave a meaningful legacy, say thank you to everyone who has supported Nikwax over the years – and at the same time, support EOCA’s target to plant £2m trees and World Land Trust conservation efforts. So we did two things: we gifted our friends and followers with the chance to have a tree planted by World Land Trust in their name, whilst those based in the UK were also gifted wild flower seeds to plant wherever they choose. To encourage nature into whatever little patch of Eden they had planted to enjoy.

The World Land Trust is another organisation which helps protect threatened ecosystems. A key focus of theirs is to raise funds for the purchase and protection of critically threatened land and work with local communities to sustainably manage and protect the land. This is a means to ensuring the long-term survival of vital habitats and wildlife.

Nikwax supports World Land Trust through calculating and offsetting carbon emissions and donating the figure to their Carbon Balanced Programme. To further support the Trust’s work Nikwax also makes a matching donation to the World Land Trust Action Fund to use for their most pressing conservation needs.


©World Land Trust

Through the Action Fund Nikwax donations have been used to create the Cerro Candelaria Reserve in Ecuador – where the land purchase was part of a successful challenge to create a protected corridor between Ecuador’s two national parks. This corridor now protects and preserves forest habitats that contains a unique diversity of orchids and a whole host of threatened species. Our donations have also saved forests imminently threatened by the expansion of Oil Palm plantations in Borneo where land was purchased to connect isolated forest areas to provide connectivity for Orang-utans, Pygmy Elephants and other threatened species to move safely.


©HUTAN/Marc Ancrenaz

Putting money aside to help fund conservation and reforestation is something that Nikwax will continue to do to give all the support we can to those organisations that are truly helping to make a difference to the natural world that we all know and love.


©Chris Perrett

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DoMoreWithNikwax – Part 3!

As you may know, this summer we undertook a challenge to #DoMoreWithNikwax, where we teamed up with 3 top athletes and got them to cycle / hike / camp in 10 countries across Europe in just 21 days! Markus Stitz was our first challenger and then Fredrika Ek took over for part two. Finally it was the turn of Jenny Tough to take the helm of the #DoMoreWithNikwax challenge. Jenny is an endurance athlete who grew up in Canada but now lives in Scotland, and adventure is in her blood. Currently her focus is on running solo over a mountain range in every continent – that is quite some project to take on!

Read on for Jenny’s week and be inspired to #DoMoreWithNikwax

Day 15: Jenny Tough takes over from Fredrika Ek in Gothenburg, Sweden! Sweden is not just about ABBA – if you have never been then there is plenty to explore. Gothenburg is the largest non-capital in the Nordic countries for one! There is plenty to do no matter what the season in Sweden – rock climbing in the Archipelago, walking in local parks, ice skating in winter…The Swedes love getting outdoors at all times and the scenery is inspiring throughout the year.

But there was no hanging around for Jenny – she had to make her way into Denmark, so the race for her was on!

372km later and Jenny arrived in Vordlingborg, Denmark. That was a pretty good start to the cycling for just day one and for somebody that does not truly consider themselves a cyclist!

Day 16: Another 300km took Jenny from Denmark over into Germany – to Tangermünde on the Elbe river, which runs from the Czech Republic, through Germany and all the way to the North Sea!

Day 17: Today’s ride from Tangermünde was one that was wrought with potential delays as Jenny seemed to encounter road repair season in Germany. What with that and the hot sun beating down, the cycle was a challenge!

In hot conditions you need your gear to perform for you and if you are someone who likes to cycle, or do any kind of energetic activity on a very regular basis, then you need to know your next-to-skin clothing will keep you cool and definitely not make you smell! Nikwax BaseWash is the aftercare we recommend for washing all technical base layers. It is far kinder than normal detergent – which can leave a water-attracting residue on fabrics and basically prevent the wicking capabilities from working, plus it does not fully remove odours but just masks them with scent. This means you would sweat when being active, but your garment would not dry quickly enough, so you end up smelling and feeling damp! BaseWash effectively removes odours from base layers and next-to-skin clothing, helping to prevent bacterial build-up. Also, it softens your base layers so they are always comfortable, whilst its specialist formula enhances the drying capabilities – meaning the fabric will wick away sweat and help regulate your temperature. Perfect if being active in warm conditions like Jenny was doing!

250km later leads Jenny to Triptis, Germany. Day 3 was another successful day!

Day 18: Jenny’s 4th day of the challenge and it was time to head south, from Triptis down through Schmidmühlen in the Bavarian region of Germany. The rolling hills began forming a backdrop to the cycle route and we knew that the Alps were not far away. The focus today was to make it to the destination for the hiking element of the challenge and she did it! Jenny pedalled a distance of over 200km, keeping up the power despite the summer sunshine.

Day 19: So, this was the last hiking element for the #DoMoreWithNikwax summer challenge! This was the day that Jenny Tough would climb Germany’s highest mountain peak – Zugspitze!

Standing 2,963 metres above sea level, Zugspitze houses three glaciers, as well as Germany’s highest ski resort. So if you fancy some winter snow sports then perhaps this is the location for you? Even if skiing does not call to you, then the view on its own may be enough to entice you to don some walking boots. From the top of the Zugspitze you can see across more than 400 mountain peaks. Now that would make for some amazing photographs!

The weather was in our favour – blue sky and sun – making the mountainous landscape full of colours and shadows. The summit was reached and what an accomplishment to achieve.

Jenny summed it all up quite nicely:
Crawling up the ridge of Zugspitze, the highest peak in Germany, was one of those mountain moments that leaves you breathless (and out of breath from that final scramble!). I sat down and took my time to absorb the insane view, and thought about how lucky I am to be able to do these things – to have the health that carries me to the top of a mountain, the freedom to travel the planet, and access to these incredible outdoor spaces that sometimes seem to be disappearing before our eyes. Not everyone on the planet has all those three things, and I know I’m incredibly lucky, and also responsible for looking after our wild places. I want everyone to get outside and do more, and I hope that generations to come are still able to do that. Everybody needs a good mountain moment in their life!”

That night was spent sleeping under the stars – something we all need to experience at least once in our lives! Jenny was kept toasty warm in her Nikwax Hydrophobic Down (NHD) filled sleeping bag. NHD is the PFC-free down fill that gives you 50x more water repellency for your down items compared to standard down, ensuring you stay warm and dry even in extreme cold conditions.

Day 20: Back on the bike to cycle from Lake Eibsee (by Zugspitze) north. In just 2 days Jenny would be ending her mammoth challenge in Rotterdam, so it was time to get pedal power underway. Another 200+ km later and she reached Ulm, Germany.

Day 21: The penultimate day of #DoMoreWithNikwax and Jenny got some scenic views as she cycled through vineyards, making her way further north. The destination was Mannheim, a city situated between the rivers Rhine and Neckar. Mannheim is a creative and cultural location, but it also contains a magical nature reserve with its own forest so you can easily step away from city culture and unwind amongst nature. The best of both worlds, some could say! Jenny finished the day with 216km clocked up.

Day 22: So this was it, the last day for Jenny where she leaves Germany and her week’s adventures behind to return to Rotterdam, ready to travel back to the UK. The week has been filled with sunshine, thunderstorms, an array of landscapes, the highest peak in Germany and fantastic memories created. Jenny cycled 1,800km and hiked 2,963 metres and ended the challenge on a high.

Whatever activities you do we just want to encourage and inspire you to keep getting outdoors. Nikwax’s full aftercare range can protect you in all weather, so you can just keep enjoying being outside. There is so much to experience out there!

Also, we urge people to take a moment to learn about EOCA (European Outdoor Conservation Association), who we support wholeheartedly. They donate thousands each year towards protecting and conserving amazing natural habitat all across the world. We don’t want to lose the great outdoors, so perhaps you can help and pledge your support to EOCA here.

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Vote to support reforestation in Madagascar

Reforestation of the Indri Lemur Habitat and Development of an Amphibian Trail around the Mitsinjo and Torotorofotsy Reserves, Madagascar.

Nikwax is proud to nominate this project for the chance for it to receive a grant from the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) in their yearly project funding scheme. The public vote is live now and we urge you to help us by learning about the project below and then placing your vote (link at the bottom). Help us to help others. Vote closes 22nd October 2018. 

Using an integrated, long-term approach, Money for Madagascar helps people to transform their lives and restore their environment in a sustainable way.

The Mitsinjo Rainforest Reserve is home to a unique range of geographically endemic biodiversity which includes the Indri lemur. It needs a territory of 7ha to sustain its varied herbivorous diet comprising over 40 species of plant. This specific diet makes them hard to breed in captivity yet destruction of their habitat has reduced their numbers down to just 9 families in the Mantadia / Torotorofotsy area. The main threats are habitat destruction due to slash & burn agriculture, firewood and timber collection and sapphire miners hunting the lemur for food. Urgent action is needed to protect and restore the Lemur’s threatened rainforest habitat by joining up isolated pockets of forest. This project will reforest 20ha of primary forest by planting wildlife corridors of 24,000 trees consisting of over 60 native species. 4km of existing rough trails and the creation of 4km of new trails will take visitors into the forest to a hidden lake, to see the wide range of birds and amphibians. Improved guided tours will increase numbers of tourists visiting, and training in responsible agriculture and alternative incomes will reduce the need for families living around the forest to engage in slash and burn agriculture.

Please help and place your vote HERE

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EOCA – Why care?

Recently having a connection to our environment has become increasingly popular. This stems from the disconnect we have with the environment on a day to day basis when we are all plugged into various devices, updating our statuses on social media and watching the all-important hilarious cat videos on YouTube. The need we feel to unplug ourselves from our computers, phones and social media has fuelled the need we feel to go ‘off grid’, have a ‘digital detox and simply just get outside.  So the necessity to protect our environment is more important than ever.

EOCA uses the mantra ‘Leave only footprints, take only photographs, keep only memories’. EOCA’s mantra reminds us that the future enjoyment of our environment is down to us, ultimately if we want to continue to play in nature’s playground then we must take steps to protect it.

For those of you who don’t know who the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) are or what they do, EOCA is a group of businesses in the European outdoor industry who raise money to put into conservation projects worldwide, giving back to the great outdoors and helping towards the protection of our environment. In their first 12 years of existence, they supported 100 projects raising over £2.1 million.

The steps that we take to protect our environment can be just that ‘steps’, no matter how big or small we can all definitely do more. EOCA has some basic advice that we can all follow when you are tuning out and enjoying the great outdoors:

  1. Keep safe – plan ahead and be prepared.
  2. Be mindful of locals – park thoughtfully, and keep dogs under close control.
  3. Co-operate with farmers and other landowners and managers.
  4. Respect and leave undisturbed the natural habitats and wildlife you come across.
  5. Preserve the past – do not remove or tamper with historical structures.
  6. Respect and be courteous to other outdoor users. Minimise your impact on their ‘natural experience’.
  7. Take home your litter and waste or dispose of it responsibly.
  8. Check and follow the laws and codes of conduct established in your country for the activity you are planning to undertake.
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Stage 2 of #DoMoreWithNikwax

As summer turns to autumn and holidays draw to a close, here is a little something to inspire you to get up, get out and keep being active!

This summer Nikwax teamed up with three athletes – Markus Stitz, Fredrika Ek and Jenny Tough – to undertake the #DoMoreWithNikwax challenge, which saw them ride a combined total of 7,000km, hike 7,000m and camp in 10 countries across Europe in 21 days. You can view the Strava routes here.

At Nikwax we are passionate about everything outdoors and all that nature can provide – we want everyone to see how much is out there and just how great it is to be active, no matter where and no matter the weather! We also wanted to use this opportunity to show our support for conservation champions EOCA (European Outdoor Conservation Association). Since their beginnings in 2006 they have funded over 100 conservation projects across the globe, putting a phenomenal €2.4 million into protecting natural habitats, wildlife protection, conservation and more. Their tireless work has just seen them smash their target of planting over 2 million trees – a means to benefit local communities, wildlife and show everyone that we need to protect this natural world we all want to enjoy and want future generations to experience.

Our summer challenge shows you just want can be done outdoors, but whatever activity you undertake, bear in mind how precious our environment is.

Stage 2 of #DoMoreWithNikwax – Fredrika Ek takes the baton!

Markus Stitz (record holder for riding a single speed bike around the world) completed the first leg of #DoMoreWithNikwax in the UK, totalling 1,675km of cycling and hiking the highest peak in the UK, Ben Nevis. It was then time to hand over to our next athlete, Fredrika Ek. You can read about stage 1 with Markus here.

Fredrika was awarded the European Adventurer of the Year after spending 2 and a half years bike packing around the world. This saw her travel through 45 countries and clock up 51,000 km on her bike! When we told Fredrika about our plans to take 3 athletes on bike between the 3 highest peaks in the UK, Germany and Scandinavia, she was very keen to be part of it!

After the crew took a night ferry from Hull, UK to Rotterdam, Netherlands, we met Fredrika and the second leg of #DoMoreWithNikwax began.

Day 7 – Fredrika’s challenge started by cycling from Groningen, Netherlands. Groningen is one of the most northerly areas in the Netherlands and provides ample opportunities to cycle past large open spaces with panoramic views! The Dutch are known for their love of bikes, so what better way to enjoy the scenery, and such beautiful landscape will just want to make you keep on cycling!

This first day saw Fredrika cycle 177km, spending almost 8 hours on the road whilst making her way upwards at an elevation of 253m! She finished day one in Bremen, Germany – which is one of many German cities to have environmental zones, whereby only cars which are strictly environmentally friendly are allowed into the main city. Such a great idea to reduce air pollution and perhaps encourage people to find other means to travel – such as by bike! Strava route here.

Day 8 – The destination for the day was Genner, Denmark. The journey started smoothly and took Fredrika across North Germany, but things reached an abrupt halt when local construction work had completely shut down a key route! Are hurriedly re-planning, the journey continued with a re-route of 50km over a river. Fredrika was back on track and by the end of the day had reached a total of cycling 309km whilst being on the road for 13 hours! Pretty impressive stuff for the first two days of her leg of the challenge. Strava route here.

Day 9 – Fredrika’s third day started in Kolding, Denmark, where she then cycled to the very northern tip of Jutland – Hirtshals. Undertaking such a journey inevitably means that some bike maintenance is required en-route, as you would want to ensure your entire journey is smooth and trouble free. The same can be said for your active clothing. You may well wear layers whilst cycling, in order to maintain your body temperature without either getting too cold or too sweaty. You also may want light protection in case of rain!

Outer waterproof layers definitely need to work their magic and keep you dry in case the weather breaks. Nikwax TX.Direct is your go-to product here! If you have cleaned your waterproofs with Nikwax Tech Wash, but find water is still being absorbed, then you need to re-proof. TX.Direct is safe, quick and easy to use, adding water repellency to all of the garment to ensure the fabric remains breathable (letting the sweat out) whilst repelling water off the outer fabric (keeping you dry)!

After a distance of 277km and cycling for almost 12 hours, Fredrika boarded a ferry to head to Norway to continue her epic journey. Strava route here.

Day 10 began in Kristiansand, which is the fifth largest city in Norway. Outdoor activities form a standard part of daily life for people in Norway, with hiking, jogging and running being favourites, and who can blame them when you have some of the most amazing scenery right on your doorstep to enjoy. Whatever time of the year and whatever the weather, Norway’s natural world can be awe-inspiring. But if you cannot make it to somewhere like this, then just be encouraged by Fredrika and search out your own local magical landscape on your doorstep to cycle or walk through. 

Fredrika began heading north towards more wild landscape and with a greater elevation to battle with. It was at this point she passed the 1,000km mark of cycling – an amazing feat on the fourth day of her challenge! After a day cycling 231km for over 9 hours and undertaking an elevation of 1,637m, it was time to stop and take a relaxing night’s break. Nesbyen was the final stop – a village in a more mountainous area of Norway, where a spot of wild camping was enjoyed by Hallingdalselva, with a relaxing swim in the lake! Strava route here.

Day 11 was always going to be a challenge for this part of #DoMoreWithNikwax – the day commenced at 5am as Fredrika set off for the highest peak in Scandinavia – Galdhoppigen. She rode through the Jotunheimen National Park – home of over 250 mountains. We were proud to see Fredrika excel in her challenge today, reaching 217km of riding over 9 hours and with 2,333m of elevation! Are you getting the urge yet to get outdoors and see what adventure you could be having? Strava route here.

Day 12 turned attention away from the bike and on to the hiking! Galdhoppigen is the highest peak standing at 2,469m above sea level and during summer months you can find a few hundred people reaching the summit daily. To hike up any mountain though you need comfortable, and ideally waterproof, footwear that can also protect and support you on the terrain you may encounter. Good care is essential to keep such footwear in good condition. Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather is for smooth leather footwear, whilst Fabric & Leather Proof is for combination footwear – both products add water repellency, whilst keeping your shoes breathable (so no sweaty feet!) and helping to increase the usable lifespan of your walking shoes! Fredrika’s Strava route here.

Upon reaching the peak of Galdhoppigen, we were pleased to get Fredrika to take part in the Nikwax Floating Sleeping Bag challenge – profiling the superior water repellency of Nikwax Hydrophobic Down (NHD). NHD is a water resistant down fill and provides 50x more water repellency than conventional down, keeping you warm in very cold conditions and extending the range of conditions you can use down items in. NHD is available within a range of down jackets and sleeping bags from different brands, including RAB, Therm-A-Rest and Mountain Hardwear, amongst others. Keep a look out for the NHD logo! 

Day 13 and it is time to get back on the bike to head south from Otta to Gansvika in Norway, where there was another great opportunity for some wild camping! Nothing beats being outdoors in your home from home – the trusty tent – lapping up all the natural environment has to offer. A great way to relax and rejuvenate, especially after a very long day cycling!

Fredrika totalled 302km of riding, spending over 13 hours on the go, so a relaxing last night was well earnt! Strava route here.

Day 14 is the last day for Fredrika and she faced a distance of 350km to get from Norway to the Swedish border. No matter the activity, keeping refreshed is vital, so if you can find an opportune moment to stop and take a much needed water break then do so!

And so, the week drew to a close. Fredrika totalled a fantastic 1,800km of cycling, which included climbing elevations amounting to 10,000m! This was as well as hiking the tallest peak in Scandinavia and floating around in our NHD filled sleeping bag. What a great achievement for anybody, but what inspiration seeing just what you can do when you put your mind to it. Strava route here.

It does not matter what the weather holds, or where you are, just get outdoors, be active and appreciate all that natural world has to offer, because it is so very rewarding. And you can do this with Nikwax! We have all the aftercare your outdoor clothing and gear needs to enable you to stay safe, warm and dry – and ultimately, having fun and adventures outside. So what are you waiting for? #DoMoreWithNikwax

If you wish to do your bit towards conservation then you can help with EOCA. Visit their website HERE and look for the Donate button!

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#DoMoreWithNikwax – First Week of the Challenge

Our mission this summer is to inspire you and others to get up, get outside and get active – to enjoy the great outdoors, whilst also looking to preserve the natural environment that we all love.

By teaming up with 3 key athletes, the #DoMoreWithNikwax challenge is well underway, with the combined total of activities to be: cycle 7,000km, hike 7,000m and camp in 10 countries!

Nikwax are also supporting the fantastic work of EOCA (European Outdoor Conservation Association) with our campaign, because without their efforts, we would have lost some beautiful and endangered natural habitats across the world. EOCA have recently reached success with their project to plant 2 million trees – a way they chose to celebrate being 10 years old and having given €2 million to conservation projects!  Such work can make a big difference and we will continue to support EOCA, but they could use your support too. You can help make a difference by pledging to EOCA’s conservation efforts HERE.

Read on to hear how the first leg of our challenge went and let it entice you to get out on your bike, with your tent, or just on foot this summer – you have every reason to Do More!

Week 1 with Markus Stitz, the record-holder as the first person to ride a backpacking single speed bike around the world!

Day 1
We commenced Markus’ challenge in Dover, south England at the break of dawn, with Markus aiming to complete a trip all the way to Leicester – which is no mean feat! After stopping at the headquarters of Nikwax in East Sussex, to meet CEO Nick Brown and be cheered on by the Nikwax team, Markus carried on his way. After covering 351.5km and some mega climbs along the way, he reached Leicester in the East Midlands.

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Day 2
100km in and with a quick break in Derbyshire, England, Markus continued on route to his destination of the day – Gretna Green, Scotland. Within just a day and a half, Markus was already over the 500km distance – just awe-inspiring. As evening set in, Markus reached Gretna Green with 400km under his belt for day two. That was a fantastic 750km in total since setting off at 4.30am the previous day!

Day 3
Staying in Scotland, Markus headed off on his bike again towards Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park. Scotland is known for having quite variable weather, so should you ever decide to try cycling around here then we recommend you ensure your kit is up to scratch. Cycling can be a warming activity to say the least, so you would want base layers that will regulate your body temperature to prevent you from either overheating from sweat, or feeling too cold. Nikwax BaseFresh is the Nikwax aftercare product we would recommend for conditioning your base layers – it’s a high performance deodorising conditioner for all active sports clothing that you just use in your normal wash. BaseFresh will improve the wicking properties of your base layers, so that the sweat spreads and dries quickly. Its formula keeps nasty bacteria at bay, keeping you smelling fresh whilst you put power to the pedal!

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Day 3 finished with an overall cycling distance of 1,042km – tremendous! You may not wish to cycle quite as far as Markus, but think what you could achieve locally to where you live and how invigorated you would feel from the activity!

Day 4
In the town of Fort William, Scotland, it was time to take a break from cycling and instead put on the hiking boots. However, it was not just any ordinary hike across hillsides that was the plan for the day. No, Markus and the team were to hike up to the summit of Ben Nevis – the highest mountain in the British Isles, standing at 1,345 metres above sea level.

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Sturdy, comfortable and supportive walking boots are a must when undertaking a hike such as this, and with weather up a mountain often turning wet, then ideally your footwear would be waterproof and breathable. Such outdoor footwear can be protected with the Nikwax footwear aftercare range, to ensure optimum performance that lets you just keep on walking and enjoying the view rather than worrying about your feet!

At the summit of Ben Nevis the mist had rolled in and unfortunately the view was obscured, but it did not dampen the spirits with knowing that the top had been reached. Another big outdoor achievement to be proud of and the walk was exhilarating and fun.

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Day 5
It was time to cycle south east across Scotland, passing by Edinburgh and heading towards the coast of Northumbria. To finish off his part of the #DoMoreWithNikwax challenge, Markus cycled on to Hull, East Yorkshire. Markus’ entire challenge ended with him cycling a total of 1,675km and hiking 1,345m, which was fantastic. As well as a bit of fun taking part in the Nikwax floating sleeping bag – a means to demonstrate the fantastic power of Nikwax Hydrophobic Down, the water resistant down fill which provides great insulation for down filled items such as sleeping bags or down jackets!

The first stage of our summer challenge was complete. It was then time for the team to take the ferry over to Rotterdam, Netherlands, where Fredrika Ek, European Adventurer of the Year, would step in for phase 2! Read more about the challenge here.

Day 6 Markus

It just goes to show what you can achieve with a bit of motivation and what enjoyment is to be had when getting active outdoors, and we hope this inspires you! This summer, you can get outdoors and enjoy it whatever the weather with Nikwax; we have every aftercare solution you would need to stay dry and comfortable whatever your activity, so there is no excuse! You can find your local retailer here.

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EOCA – Protecting & Conserving the Outdoors

Over the years the environment and the importance of being environmentally friendly has been increasingly pushed to the forefront of the news, bringing with it a more conscious consumer. Put simply, people are more and more aware of the impact they are having on the environment and consequently changing their habits. The topical news story is plastic, its impact on oceans and wildlife and our fight against it. This awareness is great but there are also other ways we can all be kinder to the environment we enjoy.

The European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) is making a difference to our environment through their conservation efforts. EOCA is made up of members who raise funds for conservation projects worldwide. In their first 12 years of existence, they supported 100 projects raising over €2.4 million. As a not-for-profit organisation, every new member that joins EOCA means more money for more projects. Projects such as their two million tree project which has been successfully reached within two years. Yes…EOCA have planted two millions trees since 2016 benefitting wildlife, local communities and outdoor enthusiasts.

Nikwax is proud to be a Summit and Sustaining Member of the European Outdoor Conservation Association, alongside other members Keen, Buff, Patagonia and Mammut to name just a few. We are committed to having a low impact on the environment and have carbon balanced all of our operational emissions over 40 years by regenerating and protecting tropical rainforest.

Nikwax wants to see more people getting outside and enjoying the environment in a sustainable way. Our #DoMoreWithNikwax campaign is specifically designed to encourage this and sees three athletes cycle 7,000km, hike 7,000m and camp across Europe, all low impact activities. We aren’t suggesting that you cycle 7,000km or hike 7,000m but we want you to get outside, enjoy your environment and care for its future. 

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