Over the past decade, responsibility and sustainability have become an inseparable part of the outdoor clothing industry, and acts of responsibility have become a competitive advantage. At the same time, the differences between the companies have grown. This is shown in the doctoral dissertation by Laura Seppälä, PhD, MA where she studies the responsibility communication of international outdoor clothing companies.
In her doctoral dissertation, Laura Seppälä examines responsibility
communication by twelve international outdoor clothing companies on
their websites in 2009 and 2021. The research sought to find out what
has happened to the outdoor clothing industry's environmental and social
responsibility over the past decade.
Many of the responsibility actions already noted in 2009 are still relevant.
challenges have become more complex, and new ones have emerged.
Emerging topics of the last decade included climate change, PFC
compounds, microplastics and animal welfare. In addition, during the
last decade, issues of social responsibility have surfaced and received
more attention. Such topics include, for example, forced labour, living
wage, and health and safety", says Seppälä.
The research was a
case study of 12 outdoor clothing companies, but it gives an indication
of a general change. In particular, climate change, the use of natural
resources and social responsibility have become topical in the public
"The general discussion increases users' awareness of
responsibility, and responsible actions have become a competitive
advantage in ten years. Due to their purpose, outdoor clothing is also
required to be more responsible than fast fashion, because users of
outdoor clothing are often interested in nature and the environment",
One of the results of her research is that the
websites of the best companies also serve as a data bank for the acts of
"These companies openly brought challenges to the users' awareness and also presented the solutions they knew", says Seppälä.
The differences between companies have grown
During the last decade, responsibility and sustainability have become an inseparable part of the outdoor clothing industry.
the other hand, the decade has increased the differences between
companies. Pioneering companies have managed to invest a significant
amount of money and energy in responsibility", Seppälä estimates.
supply chain management often requires collaboration between brands,
industry associations, non-profit organisations, standardisation
organisations and NGOs. According to Seppälä's research, the
participation of brands in sustainability organisations and third-party
audits has increased in the decade.
The results of the research
can be used by companies in the clothing industry, designers as well as
students. Large companies often already have a comprehensive
responsibility strategy, but especially small companies can gain new
perspectives on their operations from the overall picture provided by
Information on the public examination
academic dissertation Responsibility and Sustainability in the Outdoor
Clothing Industry based on the Website Communication of the Brands in
2009 and 2021 by Laura Seppälä, PhD, MA, is publicly examined in the
Faculty of Art and Design at the University of Lapland on Thursday 24
November 2022 starting at 12 noon (Finnish time) in Lecture Hall 3 (LS3,
Yliopistonkatu 8, Rovaniemi). The opponent is Professor Annamari Vänskä
from Aalto University and the custos is Professor emerita Kaarina
Määttä from the University of Lapland. The language of the event is
The public defence can be followed online: https://blogi.eoppimispalvelut.fi/ulapland
Information on the doctoral candidate
Seppälä earned her Master of Arts in 2010 at the University of Lapland.
In 2017, she earned her PhD on co-design from the University of
Salford. To finalize her dissertation, she received an Esko Riepula
grant from the University of Lapland.
Laura Seppälä, laura.seppala (at) flassi.fi
Information on the publication
Seppälä: RESPONSIBILITY AND SUSTAINABILITY IN THE OUTDOOR CLOTHING
INDUSTRY based on the website communication of the brands in 2009 and
2021. Acta electronica Universitatis Lapponiensis 349. University of
Lapland: Rovaniemi. ISBN 978-952-337-336-5. ISSN 1796-6310.
Permanent address of the publication: https://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-337-336-5