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Interview with Planetics: How can we make the sports industry more sustainable?

PLANETICS offers sustainable and fair sportswear and equipment. The aim of the young company is to make the sports industry more sustainable. In addition to fair sports fashion, PLANETICS also offers sustainable sports nutrition and accessories. In this interview, PLANETICS founder Fabian tells us why it is necessary to make the sports industry more sustainable and how the company was founded.

Table of contents:
  1. What are the biggest problems facing the sporting goods industry
  2. ? How can we make the sporting goods industry more sustainable? What can I change as an individual?
  3. Are there any products in the sporting goods sector that are difficult or impossible to produce sustainably? Which items are the least sustainable?
  4. How is PLANETICS helping to make the sports industry more sustainable? What makes PLANETICS unique?
  5. What made you decide to start your own company?
  6. What has been your biggest challenge since founding PLANETICS?
  7. What tips would you give to prospective founders?
  8. What goals do you want to achieve with PLANETICS over the next few years?
  9. How do you live the topic of sustainability in your everyday life? How do you keep fit?
  10. What kind of sport would you like to try out?
  11. Which supplements do you take regularly? How do you define success for yourself?

What are the biggest problems in the sporting goods industry?

Generally speaking, the major part of the sporting goods industry, i.e. sportswear, can be assigned to the textile industry above it. This industry is responsible for more than 10% of CO2 emissions worldwide and, at more than 1.2 billion tons, is a bigger climate polluter than air and shipping traffic combined. So we have the problem of enormous CO2 pollution.

In addition to the CO2 problem, there is also the problem of chemicals. Especially in sports, textiles need to be particularly dirt and water repellent. The majority of sporting goods use chemicals that are not only harmful to the environment. They are also not ideal for us. We then wear this clothing bare on our skin - the largest human organ. Crazy, isn't it?

The economic and social factor is also still part of a sustainable sports industry: unfortunately, most sports products are still advertised in the big fast fashion style. This means that it is often the seamstresses - i.e. those who produce the product - who suffer the most. Not only are they not paid appropriately for their work, but the conditions in the workplace are usually extremely disastrous (safety, chemicals, unpaid overtime, etc.).

How can we make the sports industry more sustainable? What can I change as an individual?

Every purchase, whether online or offline, is a vote - a vote for or against more sustainability. This is because the economic logic of the interplay between supply and demand comes into play here. If customers demand more and more sustainable sporting goods, more and more companies will have to adapt if they don't want to lose customers. Therefore, the first step is to always ask yourself whether you really need the item before making a purchase. If yes, then invest another 1-2 minutes and consciously inform yourself about the product. A good example of this is nutrition and, in this case, sports nutrition, where you also take a close look at what you consume.

We start by practicing transparency and only listing products from brands that have nothing to hide or do not hide anything along the value chain. For us, transparency is the key to "real sustainability". At the same time, we want to make sustainability more tangible: With us, you can see where the materials come from or where they are produced and also what CO2 footprint a sports shirt has, for example. This helps consumers to better understand the environmental impact of each purchase. In this way, we can support and promote a sustainable sports industry together with our customers.

Are there any products in the sports sector that are difficult or impossible to produce sustainably? Which items are the least sustainable? The more functional a product is, the more difficult it becomes, but not impossible. As with us humans, sustainability is also a process/journey for these complex products. In other words, the product is developed step by step to become more sustainable. A good example of such a product is shoes, which are particularly technically complex. High-quality vegan and sustainable sports nutrition is also difficult. You are a good example.

How is PLANETICS helping to make the sports industry more sustainable? On the one hand, by taking our customers by the hand and accompanying them on their journey to greater sustainability in sport. We do this by making it as easy as possible to switch to sustainable alternatives - this also includes the customer experience. More sustainable consumption can only succeed if it meets the convenience standards of the masses. Otherwise, it will not be suitable for the masses and will have no real impact on the big picture.

On the other hand, we also take sports brands by the hand and support them in their process of becoming more sustainable. We do this by engaging in an intensive exchange with the brands that would like to become more sustainable or by introducing our brands to each other in order to create synergy effects. We see ourselves in the role of "pacemaker" to promote sustainability in the B2B sector too.

What makes PLANETICS unique? We stand out from others because we really want to make a difference. That's why we founders set up PLANETICS and you can see this spirit in every corner.

I think what sets us apart from others from a customer perspective is our transparency in terms of product and production information - we don't hide behind any labels or green filter settings - we were founded purely for the purpose of sustainability. I think that's what sets us apart from our competitors. It's a standard that no one else can offer.

In addition, we not only offer sustainable sportswear, but also enable our customers to equip themselves in a holistically sustainable way. This also includes sports nutrition. That's why it was important for us to include this category right from the start.

What made you decide to start your own company? I was very lucky to have already worked for two start-ups and two corporations. This made me realize that things weren't moving fast enough for me in the corporation. And the start-up environment was more my style: Changes & impact are quickly visible, significantly fewer guidelines and a steep learning curve.

Sustainability and sport are two absolute passions for me: sport has always played a central role and I have been making my everyday life much more sustainable and conscious for several years now. That's why I wanted to join forces with my two co-founders to bring our shared passions into one company, as I was really keen to do so.

What has been your biggest challenge since founding PLANETICS?

Personally, the biggest challenge has been getting used to the crazy rollercoaster ride quickly and learning to deal with it. If you can't do that, your personal battery runs out pretty quickly. It was also extremely important that I was always able to exchange ideas with other founders. I think our biggest challenge is still that we have to continue to assert ourselves as a platform against the big players on a daily basis.

What tips would you give to prospective founders?

Personally, I would never want to start a business alone. Being able to share your daily experiences with others who are in the same boat is super valuable. At the same time, you should make sure that the founding team is balanced - different characters and experiences are welcome. It is important that everyone is pursuing the same goal. Because when the going gets tough (and it will sooner or later), values and goals are the foundation that ensures nothing falls apart.

What goals do you want to achieve with PLANETICS over the next few years? With PLANETICS, we want to change the sports industry so that it contributes to the preservation of the planet. That's our big goal. Perhaps this will lead to other goals. In general, our plan is to change people's consumer behavior in a sustainable way (pun :D)! Our initial focus is on our online marketplace and bringing together all the right sustainable sports brands in one place. That requires our full attention.

How do you live the topic of sustainability in your everyday life? It manifests itself in different ways: in principle, I always shop consciously. For example, I don't put any food in my shopping cart without reading all the information on the label. Then I eat 85-90% vegan, otherwise vegetarian. While I still had my own car and company car when I was at the company, I now own two bicycles (a classic city bike and a bike for longer trips). When I need new sports equipment, I buy it from PLANETICS ? One thing I would like to work on more is reducing food packaging waste. That's still a bit too much for me personally.

How do you keep fit? Super varied: from tennis and running to cycling, strength training and hiking - it's all there. Each sport discipline is in turn helpful for the others.

Which sport would you like to try out? The sport I most recently wanted to try out was one I started last fall: Tennis. I'd been meaning to do it for a while. Apart from that, I would love to do a proper trail run. I'd like to do that!

What supplements do you take regularly? Vegan protein powder, vitamin B12 and vitamin D (a little too irregularly). Perhaps amino acids will be added here soon. I'm currently looking into this.

How do you define success for yourself? Primarily by the fact that you have put everything into achieving your goals. Secondarily by the result. I'm a super competitive person and like to measure myself against others - not always an advantage. But I've also learned here that you're always successful when you've given it your all, because you can't have put in more than you have at your disposal. That's success for me - and if the result is right, then all the better.