It is hard to find a name for this. Not 'eco-friendly'. The scramble for green credentials has produced some odd results. Soya production at the expense of the rainforest, unresolved questions over flying in crops from distant countries where they are providing much-needed local employment, and so on. The simple view nearly always turns out to be far more complicated than it appeared at first—one seems to need a team of experts to get it right and even then there will be others who disagree.
So like many people we rely on common sense based on goodwill—what might be called ethics—to give some valuation to what we are doing:
- We make everything, start to finish, in our own factory in the UK. Local people using traditional skills. It's not as cheap or as efficient as large-scale production in the Far East or Eastern Europe. But we feel there's a value in preserving and using the very real skill base which still remains in the UK and we're happy to be part of it.
- We source as much of our materials and components as possible in Europe (more than 95% by bulk currently) and transport the minimum across the globe.
- Nearly all our products are filled with down:
- down is a renewable resource
- it is a by-product of the food industry, in fact a waste product if not used for insulation
- it provides very long-lasting performance, great value over time. We have handled an 80 year old sleeping bag in excellent condition. When ultimately discarded, down is biodegradable (like wood).
- the highest qualities of down (as used by PHD) come from the oldest free range birds
- We know exactly where our down comes from (we visit the producer) and none is plucked from live birds.
- it is also generally accepted as better for the environment if we all wear warm clothes and turn down the central heating: at PHD we think that's a great principle, but we don't want to preach—people might think we had an interest in the idea!
There is of course another over-riding reason why PHD exists in the form it does. It's the direct satisfaction we get from supplying individual customers with what they want. But that's not to do with ethics, it's simply a pleasure.
Benjamin Weber and Natalia Almeida preparing for their 3 year expedition, which will
attempt to traverse the world along its polar axis.