Their development of Bioprene and Oysterprene wetsuit technologies, the creation of their Ocean Protect Label, their repurposing of scrap materials and their constant striving to continue innovating are why Soöruz has been awarded the Eurosima and the OSV Award for Innovation.
SOÖRUZ REWARDED FOR ITS INNOVATIVE AND ECO-RESPONSIBLE APPROACH
This year, the 2020 Call for Innovative projects launched by EUROSIMA and Outdoor Sports Valley (OSV), has rewarded the French company Soöruz for its innovative and eco-responsible approach to manufacturing wetsuits.
Despite the exceptional situation of Covid-19, Outdoor and Action Sports businesses have once again demonstrated how creative they are as well as a genuine desire to innovate. 13 companies and project carriers submitted applications to the 2020 Call for Innovative Projects launched by EUROSIMA an OSV. These companies come from a variety of fields from product innovation, to services and rentals as well as safety or eco-responsible innovation.
Reading the various applications, the jury, which includes representatives of EUROSIMA and OSV cluster partners as well as innovation and sustainability experts, shortlisted 4 promising companies who then pitched their project. In the end, it was the French company Soorüz, which was selected as the winner for its innovative and eco-responsible approach to manufacturing neoprene wetsuits, thus winning the 5000 € prize reward.
Since its creation in 1999, “the company has always viewed innovation as part of its DNA” says Soöruz founder Yann Dalibot. But it was only in 2013 that the company, which specialises in creating and selling neoprene wetsuits and technical gear, that they began to focus on eco-responsibility. “At the time, we had developed Yulex with Patagonia and we used everything that was available on the market to make our wetsuits greener.”
While the brand has put significant effort into research to be able to produce without mineral or oil-based materials, it has also recently created the Soöruz Ocean Protect to reduce its environmental footprint. “We worked on improving the entire organisation within the company as well as the full life-cycle of our products; that includes looking closely at how we select our factories and which materials
we use by opting for organic or recycled materials. It also involves recycling and providing new life for production scraps and the wetsuits at the end of their life.”
“That’s when we got the idea to introduce oyster shells, which is renewable limestone, into our wetsuits. We tried replacing limestone from mines, which is far from energy-efficient during the extraction and transformation phases, by a renewable equivalent we source from waste.” It took two years of research to create two new wetsuit models: the Green Line using Bioprene foam (a combination of oyster limestone, rubber tree, waste from organic sugar cane and non-edible grains), the most environmental-friendly option on the market; and the Guru Pro, with a base of Oysterprene foam. It is a high range and very flexible wetsuit, which includes oyster shells, Limestone, recycled tires…
In order to contribute to the effort of reducing the footprint of wetsuits on a global scale, Soöruz offers these two innovative materials as an open source to all manufacturers on the market.
But that’s not all. Wetsuit production scraps on production sites are turned into goodies (key chains, wax pouches, isothermal bottle holders…) and the smaller scraps are used for filling and padding for local businesses.
The brand also ensures collecting used wetsuits to give them a second life. The company invested in a shredding machine to produce neoprene grain, which can then be used as padding materials. The target is to reach 20 000 recycled wetsuits in 2021 and to double that figure by 2022.
With the repair workshop, which will be operational by the end of this year, the brand encourages customers to come have their damaged wetsuits fixed or to donate them to associations that offer surfing courses for the underprivileged.
Soöruz invites other brands and market players to join them in their approach in order to offer a responsible alternative to an industry that boasts its “nature-friendly”.
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