Önling was born out of a concern for our planet. For our environment. For our climate. And for the future of our children. If we don't have a planet we can call our home, then nothing else really matters.
We work with the mindset that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something – and that's why we decided to start with what we know and are most passionate about - namely to ensure that our products are as environmentally friendly as possible.
We make decisions with consideration for our environment and climate.
Image by jannoon028 on Freepik
We only work with suppliers where we have mutual trust
Because the raw materials for our yarn are not something we can grow in our backyard, we work very closely with select suppliers around the world. Just as the Nordic climate is not ideal for cotton production, the sheep that can live up here have coarse wool with a rustic feel - not the soft feel that Önling is so known for. That is why we depend on trusted partnerships with our yarn producers, whom we have met personally to review all stages of production - and look each other in the eye and shake hands on our common focus on doing things the right way.
We are getting there...
Our overall objective is that you always shop sustainably when you shop at Önling – regardless of which product you end up putting in your basket. And without you having to closely read a myriad of labels and certification schemes. You should be able to trust that we only stock our shelves with yarn that is produced with respect for our shared planet.
We are well on our way, but of course there areas where we are not quite there yet. We chose to be absolutely honest about this – as we don't want to oversell our efforts nor keep all the sub-goals we have actually achieved secret. Honesty is a necessity if we want our customers to trust our sustainability commitments.
It has been a long time since humans grew cotton and produced yarns and textiles in the belief that it is not harmful for the nature around us.
Today, we know that the environment pays the price for our urge to purchase new items for our wardrobe - and we know that we have to give back, if we want future generations to be able to live on planet Earth.
Önling is part of an industry, that has one of the greatest impacts on nature, and we are very much aware that we must be at the very forefront and fight for the climate and making the right choices. Both out in the fields and inside the production halls. For Önling, it is therefore important that our suppliers have the same respect for the environment as we – and our customers – have. The vast majority of our suppliers work intensely on reducing the environmental impact of their production, and several of them certifiy their efforts under various certification schemes.
Image by: Freepik
At Önling, we are well aware that, as a very small customer in a very large industry, we do not have much say when it comes to positively influencing those of our suppliers, who do not pay the same attention to sustainability as we do.
What we can do is continue to ask questions and encourage, while at the same time always choosing the sustainable alternative if it is available in the same quality and price range. In addition, we pledge to annually ensure that our manufacturers and suppliers have updated certifications from the labeling schemes they are part of. It is our – and your – assurance that they continuously focus on the right areas and that their efforts are checked and controlled by an impartial third party.
The international standard for responsible wool also embraces the land on which the sheep graze. Here, the farmers must live up to a number of requirements for environmental protection through a more progressive and sustainable use of the land areas, which - amongst other things - must ensure healthy soils, greater biodiversity and good living conditions for the species that live there.
Roadmap to Zero is ZDHC's initiative to reduce and manage the use and discharge of chemicals in the textile industry. The goal is safer products, cleaner water and better air using harmonized guidelines. At the same time, ZDHC develops tools and techniques that can help the participating companies to both limit the use of harmful chemicals and clean the wastewater before discharge.
Our Italian yarn manufacturers all participate in Roadmap to Zero. This scheme is based on self-reporting and therefore not checked by an impartial third party. During our own visits to our manufacturers plants, however, we have seen the measures they are taking to make production more environmentally friendly – for example dyeing methods and closed water systems that recycle water.
We are committed to making sure that we have an up-to-date certificate from each of our manufacturers - every year.
We have a handful of yarns that are spun with cotton, and cotton is – as you may know – one of the sinners of the textile and yarn industry.
Of course, cotton is soft and durable, but it is also a material that requires a lot of water, while pesticides have traditionally been used on cotton fields. And although all our cotton is certified according to Oeko-Tex Standard 100, that scheme does not embrace the growing of cotton itself.
Therefore, we have a goal to phase out yarn made from new cotton fibers in favor of recycled cotton or a material that has a more sustainable footprint. Bamboo can be an option, because it is a plant that grows wild, just like, for example, flax, and therefore it does not have the same need for watering, and at the same time the bamboo plants help clean the air of CO2. We have not found our perfect bamboo yarn yet - but the hunt continues
Anyone who knows how a T-shirt sometimes travels from one continent to another on its way from the cotton field in Africa, to the textile factory in Asia, to the clothing store in Europe / US, knows how unsustainable our international textile production can be. This doesn't even take into consideration how many pieces of fast fashion end up in a big bond fire.
Önling has opted out of the continuous clothes grinder a long time ago - but that does not change the fact that we are still a company that needs to move raw materials and products.
However, when you choose to pick up the knitting needles and knit a piece of clothing from our yarns, you have helped cutting an expensive link out of our climate chain - knitting your own clothes is undoubtedly one of the best things you can do for your wardrobe and for the environment.
Several of our raw materials come from Europe but there are stille journeys we cannot avoid for our raw materials to take.
Image by: Caleb Ruiter on Unsplash
For example, all of Önling's wool comes from sheep and goats in Australia, New Zealand or Asia - and it does so because we use wool from breeds that simply cannot live in Europe. They have the best lives in the vast open spaces and in the climate in that part of the world. That's they way it should be.
The finished wool is shipped from Oceania or Asia to Europe – specifically Italy, where our yarn is spun, and from there it is packed in trucks and transported to our warehouse here in Denmark. Of course, the entire journey takes significantly longer than if it was all just loaded into the belly of a cargo plane and flown around the world, but with ship and truck we make it as environmentally friendly as possible. And we also think it reflects the idea of a slower wardrobe very nicely. Slow fashion begins at the beginning.
In its own way, the internet plays a big part of why we have fast fashion to begin with. It has become very easy to shop on your mobile or laptop. Maybe too easy. With one click, you can buy whatever you want - from exactly the place in the world you want. Delivered to your door by one of the thousands of trucks that fill up our roads every day. And afterwards you can drag cardboard, plastic, wrapping paper and all other packaging down to the recycling containers. If not, you pack up half the clothes again and send them back exactly the same way they came. And tomorrow the shopping circus starts again.
At Önling, we are fully aware of the consumption cycle we are part of as a webshop. On the other hand, having an online presence is our only option if we want a business that can pay us a salary. After all, there aren't that many Önling knitters living in our little neighborhood here in Søborg.
Thats why we have made sure to make the most environmentally friendly choices in even small aspects of our business. And with the fast paced development, new opportunities for making better and more sustainable decisions are constantly emerging.
As you may know, surfing the Internet is something that contributes a lot to our CO2 emissions. That's one of the reasions why we use Shopify as the platform for our webshop.
Shopify is a 100% CO2-neutral platform, and the company uses renewable energy to varying degrees to run offices and home workplaces. As a business that conducts online business via Shopify, we compensate for our shipments, and when you pay with Shop Pay, Shopify make further compensations for the CO2 emissions.
Storage and packing
All our inventory is kept at an external warehouse, which also handles and takes care of the packaging of all our webshop orders. This saves our products from one step in the journey to you – and we do not have to use resources and money for extra square meters to act as an intermediate station.
One of the biggest climate sinners of online shopping is the packaging used for shipping. It must be solid enough to ensure that your purchase survives a sometimes rough journey, and on the inside it must be pretty so you get an aesthetic experience when you unpack your order. But unfortunately this is often the recipe for massive overpackaging. At Önling, we use a bit of silk paper wrapping to give you a nice unwrapping experience, but never more than makes sense.
Also, you can choose to have your goods sent in RE-ZIP packaging. RE-ZIP is a sustainable Danish product that works almost like a deposit system for packaging. You pay DKK 10 for the packaging, which you send back to us afterwards - and as a thank you for your efforts, you get a free Önling knitting pattern of your choice. The goal is to ensure that the packaging is used again and again - so that we can save the planet from an ocean of newly produced cardboard, plastic and paper. A circular RE-ZIP bag, for example, is used an average of 30 times, which saves the environment for 67% CO2.
Re-zip is working on making their concept available to other markets than the Nordics.
➡️ 87% reduction i CO2 emissions
➡️ 89% reduction in water usage
➡️ 93% reduction in wood consumption
Because Önling is built on the desire to create a sustainable company that gives more to the world than we take, we have built many environmentally friendly choices into our daily operations. Walk the talk, as they say. In other words – if we don't do our part in all the little everyday decisions, why demand certifications from our suppliers?
Some of our efforts here at the office in Søborg may seem insignificant, but we believe that every little thing breeds greater awareness – and we regularly find new areas that we can take in a more sustainable direction.
This is what we do:
# We reuse all packaging that enters our offices
# All labels on our yarn is undyed, climate neutral and cradle to cradle certified
# All our patterns are digital instead of printed – the only exception is Petiteknit's patterns, which we are only allowed to sell in print.
# We work actively to limit the use of newly produced plastic in our company.
# We get our energy from SEF Energy, which guarantees to purchase the same amount of wind energy as their customers consume.
# All our furniture are pre-owned
# A large part of our computers and other IT equipment is recycled.