At On, sustainability is at the core of how we work.
We don’t believe that performance and sustainability are exclusive. We believe they are two complementary concepts. We combine them through innovation to find more efficient solutions.
They say you can tell how seriously a company takes its social and environmental impact by its org chart – by where sustainability sits in the organization. At On, sustainability has been part of how we work since before we were big enough to need an org chart. Here, sustainability starts with the Founders, but to make a real difference, it has to be a priority for every single one of us.
“Growing up in the Swiss Alps gives you a special appreciation for the natural world,” says On Co-Founder Caspar Coppetti. “Nature is not only where we play, it’s also our source of inspiration and above all, it’s our home. So of course we always wanted to protect it. But now, as a truly global company with a worldwide community, the challenges facing the world take on a new significance, and we take on more responsibility.
“Our sustainability team is made up of each and every single member of our team - everyone at On contributes to our sustainability goals. The cool thing with sustainability is that, in our view, it’s a key to increased innovation and performance for processes and products. And that’s always been at the heart of what we do.”
Climate change is impacting the world around us. We spend a lot of time in nature, so we notice the changes; we see them every day. Our instinct is to act, but sustainability is complex. We’re a relatively small brand, so we have to pick our battles. Like in sports, you need focus to succeed. Doing a bit of everything only dilutes your efforts. By focusing on the areas where we have the most impact, we ensure we make the biggest possible difference.
To make sure our sustainability initiatives succeed, we have to get the basics right first. This means complying with all industry regulations according to local laws in the countries where we produce our products. Another important part of our sustainability work is making sure we’re open and transparent across our operations.
When it comes to sustainability, it can be difficult to know where to start. With the vast amount of work to do, things get daunting very quickly. Taking the wrong calls would waste valuable time, so we conducted a materiality analysis to make sure we were headed in the right direction. This assessment of where we are across a range of sustainability measures helped us identify opportunities to focus our efforts for maximum impact. That doesn’t mean we ignore topics outside this focus, but it gives us a complete overview and helps us set clear goals for the company.
Any of our athletes will tell you that there’s no one route to success. Like performance, sustainability is a complex, multifaceted topic with a huge amount of scientific research to consider. And just like an athlete, mapping out the data helps us know where we are and where we want to go. The materiality analysis we conducted gave us a clear picture of where we stand. With this benchmark, we can define our goals and measure our performance.
Sustainability is never black and white. A company’s impact varies depending on the angle you look from and your priorities. That’s why it’s important that we base our strategy and initiatives on data.
Running might be an individual sport, but at On we start and finish as a team. We're proud of our collaborative and innovative spirit and we know that together, we're stronger. This an important part of our values.