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This ‘Climate-Positive’ Parka Employs Never-Before-Used Featherless Insulation

No feathers? No problem.

Minneapolis startup Askov Finlayson says it has created the world’s first winter parka to incorporate 3M’s “never-before-used” 100 percent recycled and recyclable featherless insulation technology, “which locks down heat even when wet.”

The loose-fill material, which is part of 3M’s Thinsulate family, accomplishes this by featuring microfibers that trap and hold air molecules. The result: A “kinder alternative to feathers” that performs like down when dry and is warmer than down when wet, Ken Cox, lead specialist in application engineering at 3M, told Sourcing Journal.

Each parka contains the equivalent 17 plastic bottles of 3M Thinsulate insulation, “helping to drive the circular economy,” where no resource is wasted, Cox said.

But its sustainable attributes don’t end there.

To make up the parka, Askov Finlayson employed a weather-resistant, 100 percent recycled polyester plain-weave shell, which it “peached” using abrasive rollers to give it a softer, fuzzier hand. For extra durability and a “subtle texture,” the company patched high-wear areas with a a 100 percent recycled polyester secondary twill shell fabric. Both the shell and the detachable liner are 100 percent recyclable at the end of their lives, according to Devin O’Brien, Askov Finlayson’s vice president of marketing.

Equally important, the parka is built for the harsh extremes of northern winters. Askov Finlayson worked with polar explorer Will Steger, who led the first confirmed dogsled journey to the North Pole without resupply in 1986, to test-drive the parka at his wilderness center in Ely, Minnesota, where temperatures can plunge to as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit in the dead of winter.

“We’re so confident in our parka, we guarantee it through its first winter, no questions asked,” O’Brien told Sourcing Journal. “After that, it’s warrantied for life—because to be as sustainable as possible, we believe gear should last for many winters to come.”

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Askov Finlayson describes itself as a “climate positive” company, meaning it invests more to mitigate carbon emissions than it generates. Since early 2018, the startup has been offsetting 110 percent of its supply-chain impact by purchasing certified carbon credits and donating part of its proceeds to environmental organizations, including those “that are on the cutting edge of solving the climate crisis,” O’Brien said.

The idea is to contribute meaningfully to tackling the climate crisis, he said, “not just doing less and less harm.”

Available on Askov Finalyson’s website, the winter parka comes in both men’s and women’s versions and retails for $495.