Nikwax wins most prestigious award for environmentally friendly product innovation and sustainable practices

Nikwax, global leader in high performance, environmentally-friendly waterproofing solutions, has become the first outdoor brand ever to receive a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development. The award is considered the highest accolade for business success in the UK and is testament to Nikwax’s clean waterproofing technology and the company’s endeavour to promote sustainable practice.

The awards are made annually by Her Majesty The Queen, and are given only for the top levels of excellence demonstrated in each category. This year, just 13 awards for Sustainable Development have been presented across the country. Nikwax has also recently achieved four outdoor industry awards. All four awards were voted for by the consumer, with German magazine, Outdoor, describing the company as an “eco-pioneer”. This demonstrates that Nikwax clearly leads in both ease of use and durable performance.

EOCA Member Nikwax has been keeping people dry and comfortable in the outdoors since 1977, when current Managing Director, Nick Brown, founded the company. Breathable jackets can be waterproofed in the washing machine at home, using Nikwax TX.Direct in place of normal detergent. There is no need for heat activation – unlike the many treatments on the market that contain harmful perfluorinated compounds (PFCs).

Since its inception, Nikwax has been led by Nick’s vision to protect our beautiful outdoor surroundings and the company has always identified environmental and social responsibility as a priority.

Nick comments: “We must stop to think about the fuel we burn to arrive at our walk, the energy and materials consumed in the clothing that protect us from the elements, and even the wear on the pathway. We may be destroying the very hills that we care so much about. Restoring the waterproofing of your outdoor clothing is in itself a sustainable act; using far less energy and money than replacing equipment, and for us, it all counts.”

Nikwax’s stringent restricted chemicals policy sets them apart from other aftercare manufacturers. They prohibit the use of flammable and aromatic solvents and potentially persistent materials like PFCs – chemicals widely used by other brands in the waterproofing of outdoor clothing. In contrast to the industry norm, Nikwax is the only established aftercare business in the world never to have used PFCs, knowing that they persist in the environment and can bioaccumulate, building up at higher ends of the food chain.

Nikwax is fast becoming the go-to brand for environmentally safe waterproofing technology for leading outdoor gear manufacturers worldwide, as tighter legislation kicks in and environmental awareness heightens. Nikwax was selected by Rab, leading British manufacturer of technical outdoor gear, to produce a PFC-free water repellent treatment that is applied to down before garment production. The latest Nikwax innovation – Nikwax Hydrophobic Down – is about to hit the high street in Rab’s new range of down-filled sleeping bags and jackets.

Delivering sustainable processes is a fundamental part of Nikwax’s day-to-day rhythm. The company harvests rainwater for use in the manufacture of core products, has invested in a solar generation system that virtually provides the entire electrical usage of its main office unit, and is carbon balanced though the World Land Trust. Nikwax’s waste reduction initiative has already seen the company’s proportion of waste recycled go from 16% in 2006 to 71% in 2013, and with an 80% target for 2014, the company aims to become waste and landfill free in five years.