When you are hanging by your fingertips, the environmental credentials of a climbing rope are probably the furthest thing from your mind. But that doesn't mean the ropes maker didn't give it some thought. For example, German mountaineering firm Edelrid believe they are the "first rope company world wide to successfully certify our ropes under the stringent bluesign standards."
Doing so has enabled Edelrid's 9,2mm Kite climbing rope to pick the 2010 ISPO (International Sports Expo) Eco Responsibility Award for a Winter Accessory. The ISPO jury reviewed ecological aspects of products, and examined the sustainability of the overall manufacturing concept, including logistics, production, and company culture.
So how does a product meet bluesign standards?
As Edelrid explains, the bluesign standard requires that all input streams - "from raw materials, to chemical components, to water and energy resources - are analyzed with a sophisticated Input Stream Management process. Every component is assessed from the yarn through to the treatment process and receives a rating based on its eco toxicological impact eliminating potentially harmful substances before production even begins."
The rope itself is a specialist product designed for use on the highest standards of free climbing, where ultra lightweight needs to be combined with a supple handle and durability.
We'll be looking at some of the other products to score ISPO Eco Responsibility Awards in upcoming posts.