Room for Improvement
We are happy with what we’ve done until now but it is (according to us) the bare minimum we could do in terms of running a sustainable business. We know we will never achieve absolute perfection but we know we can do way, way, better than we are doing now.
Because let’s face it, despite all our efforts, Untraced still pollutes. Our products are not perfect; our processes can be improved and will still harm the environment.
This is why we have laid out our ideas on how we can improve the well-being of golfers and the planet.
We are well aware that our products are expensive, and this is something we are working on.
It was our intention to offer our customers a fair price without sacrificing quality or the health of the planet. During product development of the V1 golf jacket and polo, we chose the most sustainable option every time and we decided to produce locally, in Australia (Queensland, Brisbane).
However, we realized, a bit too late, that doing what was right was also very expensive.
Check out our price split below to understand what we mean.
We have tried to find tricks to lower the cost of materials but at the end of the day, beautiful and qualitative materials are expensive - a logical concept indeed.
Today, the cost of the polo and jacket might look high but they are made to last, to live several lives, and to respect the environment. We believe it’s worth the price.
We are constantly on the lookout for new materials that are made of recycled elements. Our goal for the second round is to have our clothing be 100% recycled from top to bottom, from thread to fabric. We will stick to this commitment.
Secondly, another process we would like to be better at is dyeing. Dyeing is a chemical-intensive process, and we don’t understand this process enough at the moment. We still have to work on it and ideally avoid it. It is dangerous for the environment (water-waste being the first damage) and even for humans. The OEKO-TEX and GOTS labels are good certifications when it comes to regulating this specific step. The REACH regulation is also apparently a nice one, but we have to dig into it.
In the future, we would love to steer clear of petroleum-based fibers like Polyester and Nylon. At the moment, we use a lot of recycled polyester, which is already very good but even if these synthetic fabrics are recycled, they are still fossil fuel-based materials.
Plant-based high-performance synthetics are on the rise and we will surely keep an eye on the development of these materials. We will keep you posted about the origin of every fibre, fabric, button, and snap whenever a new trim is sourced.
This is a big one.
We learned a lot during the development of our V1 golf jacket and V1 golf polo. Let’s focus on the two main lessons here:
1/ It’s better for the environment if the whole supply chain is located in one country.
Local manufacturing is good, yes, but it’s not always the most sustainable option.
If the fabric, buttons, and thread have to travel very far to arrive at the factory, the environmental impact is not good. If the sourcing and manufacturing are located in one place, the environmental impact drastically decreases.
In our case, we chose the local option because it was the obvious choice at the time (Untraced is an Aussie based company), but our materials came from Thailand, Japan and China and travelled by boat to Australia. Even though this distance is not so far, it’s still not the best option.
2/ It’s absolutely crucial to have a look at the energy mix the factory uses to run its operations.
Manufacturing and shipping are undoubtedly, in textile, the worst steps in the whole supply chain for one reason: the energy used is, in 99% of the cases, not renewable.
We tell you the whole story in the “A Bit of Context” section but to sum it up; you can use the most sustainable materials and choose the most incredible packaging in the world, but if your supply chain is located in two or three different countries and are powered by non-renewable energies, you are f*cked.
Our next step will be to concentrate our supply chain and to manufacture in countries that have started to shift to renewable energies. Australia is slowly catching up with this and we would love to keep producing here, but we’re also looking at viable options like France and Portugal because their energy is largely carbon-free. Iceland, Albania, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, and Latvia are also low carbon countries.
Whatever our choice is, we will continue to share information with you about the conditions of the factory, the well-being of every person involved and the production process. This will apply to the mills supplying our fabrics and the factories sewing our clothing.
Packaging and Shipping
We tried our best to avoid packaging altogether, but this turned out to be an impossible dream. Right now, all our packaging is made of recycled materials, and it’s possible to drop the mailers in your blue bin to be recycled again. The best part of our packaging scheme is that our tape is compostable - so cool. In the future, our goal is to eliminate packaging altogether. This would mean using a new solution called RePack (we will let you know more about that later).
Shipping is the hardest part and we don’t have many options unfortunately. We are an e-commerce business and our golf gear has to make it to you. Never using planes is our top priority. Then, we will keep shipping by boat for long distance travel, trains and trucks for national distances, and bikes for local deliveries.
The best option we have found so far is also the one we love the most: meeting you in person to hand over your products and have a coffee with you. We have already personally delivered a lot of our V1 products in Australia and would love to continue this pleasant process.
Once the ball is rolling and people begin to return their products to us once they’re damaged or rendered useless, we will be able to release our first-ever upcycled capsule collection. This collection will be made out of your old clothes!
We know it is gonna be a challenge because the technology is not really the best today but we will try and have full faith in this project. Test and learn!
We are in no hurry to get our upcycled capsule collection going, we want you to enjoy your Untraced products for years if not decades. When the time comes for you to say goodbye, we will be fully ready to take your products off your hands and create new designs out of them.