How is Rapala VMC working to be one of the first sustainable fishing tackle companies?
We are focused on the development of plastic-free packaging and using sustainable raw materials. We aim to use more ecological materials and have a lower carbon footprint in the packaging materials. Additionally, there is a focus on lowering the environmental impact of Rapala’s production facilities such as by reducing the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon dioxide (CO2) generated. Beyond those aforementioned efforts there is a spotlight on finding more opportunities for recycling opportunities for our production side streams and byproducts. Optimizing the logistical network is also a critical theme. On top of these things, Rapala VMC is committed to being one of the first fishing tackle brands to put a lot of effort on education and communicating about sustainability – internally and externally.
We are also working on the social and economic aspects. Our target is to update our sustainability report during 2022 to meet the upcoming legal requirements. We also want to make sure that all the team members working in Rapala VMC enjoy their work environment and feel that they are being treated equally regardless of their backgrounds. To do this, we have many internal projects going on.
How is Rapala VMC going to be transparent surrounding sustainability topics?
We readily provide information about the raw materials used in our products along with providing information about the production methods. We know it’s important to also give our customers truthful and fact-based information about sustainability topics and what actions we are taking to overcome the global challenge. A big step in this factor is the creation of our Rapala VMC website. We continually update the website’s sustainability page with information regarding our efforts in sustainability.
What actions has Rapala VMC already taken to become more environmentally friendly?
We have already accomplished a lot, such as reducing the amount of plastic that is used in Rapala lure packaging by around 50 % and creating the world’s first plastic-free fishing lure package. This is only the beginning for our commitment to be the leading sustainable fishing tackle company by 2024. Lately, we have had a massive shift from virgin fossil-based plastics to bio-based and recycled qualities in many different applications. Currently, about 85 % of Rapala’s hard baits are lead-free. We have also been able to reduce Rapala lure and Marttiini production carbon footprint in Europe by shifting to renewable energy. We are dedicated to constantly monitoring our carbon footprint and finding new ways to reduce it.
How can the average consumer see the difference in Rapala VMC’s new approach to sustainability?
We are working towards consistently bringing to life new products with sustainability in the core, especially regarding packaging. To allow our customers to see more, we will be adamant about publishing our efforts in external communication channels.
What are the focus areas in your sustainability strategy?
Our primary focus is on strategic implementation in our business units along with introducing a more sustainable working culture within the company. The primary strategy focuses on products, packaging, production, logistics, and communication.
What is your motivation behind becoming one of the most sustainable fishing tackle companies?
We want to be a part of solving the global environmental challenges that we are facing. We aim to do this by helping anglers everywhere to become more environmentally conscious and more responsible. As a global company, we know it is our responsibility to contribute to enabling people around the world to not only explore and enjoy the outdoors, but to respect it as well.
As a company that is producing a lot of products in Asia, especially with lead-based weights and lures and PVC-based soft baits, do you see the contradiction towards becoming a sustainable fishing tackle company?
Rapala is making a large effort towards finding new substitutes for lead-based weights and plastic-based products. One of the biggest goals is to assess every component used in our products to see if they can be replaced with a more environmentally friendly alternative. There are many changes to be done, and they must be done in a controlled and calculated manner which requires time. Not only our customers, but we also hold ourselves to high standards and have high expectations for quality. Therefore, we must ensure that these important changes do not affect the quality of our products and production methods. Quality itself is an important part of sustainability as designing quality products ensures a long life-term of the product.
Are you accredited according to any environmental management standards, or do you belong to any organizations with sustainability in mind?
At the moment, we are planning to do so whenever feasible. However, Rapala already uses FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified balsa wood in our Rapala hard baits and have begun shifting to using FSC-certified paperboard in the packaging. Actions like this will be done also with other brands – and have been done, on some brands. On top of this, Rapala VMC has created the EcoChoice label and standards to ensure the best possible sustainable practices in lure creation.