Posted on Leave a comment

Nikwax becomes ‘Sustaining Member’ of EOCA

Nikwax is proud to be a member of the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA), and our commitment to the cause was further underlined by becoming one of the first ‘Sustaining Members’ at OutDoor in Friedrichshafen, Germany this July.

EOCA is an organisation that uses its membership fees to fund and support environmental causes around the world. 100% of fees from EOCA go towards the support of its projects. In the past 18 months, EOCA has gone through tremendous growth, increasing by 53%, which will be carefully managed so it can be sustained over a long period.

The new Sustaining Members have pledged an extra €10,000 to the association in terms of support per year for the next three years, which is on top of their annual membership fees.

As a result of the new initiative, EOCA will now be able to create a second funding round per year, therefore increasing the money being put back into the environment every year.

Nikwax founder Nick Brown, who is also EOCA Vice President and Advisor, said of Nikwax’s EOCA membership: “Nikwax is involved with EOCA because we believe that conservation is a crucially important part of building a sustainable future for our business and our stakeholders. The Outdoor Industry depends upon the naturally wild environment for its very existence, and so it makes total sense to help conserve it.”

Alongside Nikwax, the other companies to become Sustaining Members were: OutDoor (Messe Friedrichshafen), Pertex, KEEN Footwear, ISPO (Messe München), Patagonia and the European Outdoor Group (EOG).

The declaration was signed at the recent OutDoor international press conference in Friedrichshafen, where Nikwax was also one of the exhibitors with an indoor stand and an outdoor footwear care clinic. Nikwax CEO, Nick Brown, held a press conference at the show to discuss the new Nikwax Fleece and Nikwax Windproof PFC-treatment-free Fabrics, fielding questions from those present on the newest technology on the market.

For more information on the new ‘Sustaining Members’ of EOCA, click here.

Posted on Leave a comment

Hannah and Chico: Welsh Vacation

The latest blog from Hannah and her trusted friend, Chico:

I last sent a message at the very beginning of last July’s heat wave, when the rains of June were still fresh. The walk around Wales took another four and a half months; Chico the donkey and I finally arrived back in Aberystwyth in mid-November, having completed the full 1000-mile circumnavigation of the country.

We were very lucky. The adventure was dreamed up in 2012 during the wettest summer on record, and the organising all happened during last spring’s interminable coldness, when we all wondered whether the trees would ever get the chance to sprout leaves. I’d like to say it took faith, but actually I just tried not to think about it.

Here comes the rain…

After the heat wave which blazed right through July and half of August, we slow little travellers walked right on through a very mild September and October. There was rain, but never for more than a day, which meant that we always dried off before the next shower.

November got tougher – the rain started falling with vigour, and it doesn’t take long to become quite mouldy and wretched. My shoelaces, less than a month old, rotted and snapped. Food supplies got wet, bread in particular soaking up the leaks. Usually I’d manage to find a phone box to refold my map in, but occasionally there was nothing. Those maps – north Pembrokeshire and south Ceredigion – are still wrinkled and rubbed, with place names ominously missing forever, like whole villages might have been washed into the gutter along with us.

Chico, a hater of rain through and through, from his desert-dwelling genes to his unsuitably fuzzy, oil-less hair, had got so dependent on me that he’d often opt to stand in the rain where he could see me rather than take shelter. We were a sorry bunch.

And yet I wouldn’t have changed it for anything. I was living outside, and rain is part of outside (and Nikwax helps!) I was walking around Wales, and rain is definitely part of this green isle. But most of all, the rain was a fine reminder to be flexible, and attempt to be relaxed with uncertainty.

Power alarms

Climate change seems to be behind the extremes of weather, and that is scary. For the span of human history we have been creatures at the mercy of the elements, and now we are the ones with the power – it doesn’t sit easily.

I think privileged humankind are suspended between feeling powerful and feeling powerless. Collectively people suddenly have the power to change the weather, but individually it’s hard not to see my shorter shower, diligent recycling or energy-saving light bulb as a tiny squeak of desperation in the roar of threatened existence.

Individually we have the power to change how we live. So what to do? Do what you can, of course. Mend and reuse, buy less and recycle, ally yourself to brands and companies that you know care. Make changes that enrich your life, not ones that feel like sacrifice.

And make friends with uncertainty. During the heat wave I had friends who flew to the Philippines, to Croatia and to Spain, for guaranteed sun on their understandably precious summer holidays. Meanwhile I basked and burned, day after day, in fantastic Welsh sunshine – absolutely not guaranteed and somehow all the more wonderful for it. When the rain began there were still all sorts of sensory treasures – the smells and sounds of storms, wild winds that Chico and I leaned into on Strumble Head, occasional rainbows, and fierce hailstorms on the tent at 3am.

Make friends with uncertainty. Adventure stems from it, a donkey as a companion guarantees it! You need a resilient and resourceful attitude to cope with it, and that’s a thing well worth cultivating. And it looks to be the way the world is going.

And then? Get out there, whatever the weather.

 

See more Seaside donkey activity here: www.seasidedonkey.co.uk Like Hannah and Chico on Facebook here: www.facebook.com/seasidedonkey … and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/hannahengelkamp Hannah is currently working on the book and the film of the adventure, following a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. You can pre-order the book and film at www.seasidedonkey.co.uk/shop, or sign up to the newsletter to be kept informed of progress!

 

Posted on Leave a comment

GREEN CHEMISTRY WINS NIKWAX ITS FOURTH QUEEN’S AWARD

Nikwax has today received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development. The award is the UK’s highest accolade for business success and celebrates the consistent development of products and approaches to management that are commercially successful and have major benefits for the environment, society and British economy.

If you’ve ever noticed your coat soaking up water in a rainstorm and you feel cold and clammy, you’re a potential Nikwax customer. Nikwax manufactures water-based waterproofing solutions that revive the waterproofing performance of outdoor clothing such as rain jackets and walking boots. Our products offer an easy way of restoring the performance of your rain jacket in a washing machine at home, by running a normal cycle and using Nikwax TX.Direct in place of washing powder.

In contrast to industry norm, Nikwax is the only established water proofing aftercare business in the world never to have used aerosols or perfluorinated compounds (PFCs). The whole Nikwax range is non-flammable and is free of the harmful raw materials commonly used in the waterproofing of outdoor clothing.

We have always identified environmental and social responsibility as a priority. From the company’s inception in 1977, Nikwax has been driven by the passion and commitment of founder and current Managing Director, Nick Brown, to protect our outdoor surroundings.

Nick said: “We must stop to think about the fuel we burn to arrive at our walk, the energy and materials consumed in the clothing used to protect us from the elements and the wear on the pathway.  We may be destroying the very hills that we care so much about. Restoring the waterproofing of your outdoor clothing is in itself a sustainable act; using far less energy and money than replacing equipment.”

You CAN lead with green

Nikwax has a stringent restricted chemicals policy that prohibits the use of flammable and aromatic solvents and potentially persistent materials – chemicals widely used by other companies producing water repellent treatments. We have continuously campaigned against the use of PFCs, knowing that these chemicals persist in the environment, can bioaccumulate and are linked to serious negative health impacts. PFCs have been linked to serious negative health impacts such as damage to the immune systems of children, compromised female fertility and an increased incidence of cancer. For more information on this please see our environmental pages here.

For over 35 years Nikwax has been developing alternative waterproofing solutions, and our products – such as market leading TX.Direct – have consistently been shown to outperform the competition, both practically and commercially. Nick’s determination to avoid aerosols could have posed a risk to the business at a time when going green was against the grain, but the challenge to produce innovative solutions has allowed Nikwax to constantly sit at the forefront of waterproofing technology.

To deliver sustainable processes, Nikwax harvests rainwater for use in the manufacture of our core products, has invested in a solar generation system that virtually provides the entire electrical usage of its main office unit, and is carbon balanced though the World Land Trust, matching all offsetting donations with an annual donation to preserve standing rainforest. Our waste reduction initiative has seen the company’s proportion of waste recycled go from 16% in 2006 to 71% in 2013, with a target this year of 80% and a five year goal to become waste and landfill free.

This award is testament to our continued commitment to sustainable development over many years, but for us it doesn’t stop there.

Nick said: “Taking the ethical route rather than the easy-money road is a difficult decision for some, but the minimising our environmental impact was always the way for me. I feel immense pride when I see our product on the high street and know they are going some way to preserving the environment around us – it’s a win for the customer and conservation.  The Queen’s Award is a great endorsement that says, yes, you’re doing alright, keep going”.

 

Photo: Nick Brown, Nikwax Managing Director