Sustainability Spotlight | Elan

We chat to Melanja Korošec, Global Brand Director at Elan Skis

What does sustainability mean to Elan? 

In short – it is the only way we know how to exist. We are proud to have switched to 100% green energy and are focussed on the development of more environmentally friendly technologies and materials.  One example is digital printing, which Elan developed and is now also used by other ski manufacturers, significantly reducing the emission of volatile organic substances. 

What are the main challenges? 

While skiing is growing in popularity, it is happening at a time when the future of winters is becoming insecure. Our industry is also affected by global energy and supply chain challenges and changing consumer habits. 

We cooperate with suppliers to improve the production process and build in recycled components. However, a major obstacle is the simple fact that recycled materials don’t offer the equivalent mechanical or visual properties needed for proper functionality.

One of the most important changes we’ve made was switching to 100% electricity sourced from renewables. We’ve installed a solar power plant on our company’s rooftops, which will provide up to 15% of our electricity requirements. We can now proudly state that all our skis are 100% handcrafted with the use of clean energy. 

Elan has also developed an efficient supply, with roughly 99% of raw materials originating from the EU. Nearly 70% of all materials come from partners 400km away from our headquarters.  

We’ve also launched a content hub named – ‘Sustainable by nature’ – to raise awareness on climate emergency and educate our customers.

How sustainable is Elan?

Elan is unique in terms of manufacturing its goods in a single location. Paired with a highly efficient supply chain and clean energy, we are also pioneers when it comes to how our skis are made.  

By introducing digital printing  and reducing the weight of compound waste, we haven’t just transformed our skis, but the ski industry as well. The biggest challenge is to find or develop environmentally friendly methods of recycling. To this end we have joined a working group where the industry,  institutes and universities are looking for the most environmentally friendly solutions for the destruction or re-use of materials incorporated in skis. 

Elan reforesting. Director of Elan’s Winter Division Leon Korošec (L) with and Andrej Avsenek of the Forestry Institute

How do you measure progress? 

Elan draws inspiration for a sustainable future from the environment, the local Slovenian Alps and the people: the multi-generational employees committed to designing skis of the future, while protecting the planet. 

In addition, we have carried out a company-wide screening process, which will now serve as a yearly benchmark focusing on all levels of operation, including our sustainability practices. This gives us an understanding of the levels of our emissions, identifying which we can address quickly and which processes will take a longer time to turn around. The company’s actions have been recognised by CER Institution, awarding us a Green Star: the first recognition of its kind for contribution to climate neutrality and a greener future. which we can address quickly and which processes will take a longer time to turn around. The Slovenian-based third-party assessment uses science-based data to set strategic priorities and highlight areas of improvement on the road to net zero.  

How important is it to you to work with ambassadors who are committed to sustainability? 

It is essential. If we wish to address a global problem, we want ambassadors who don’t have just have a global reach, but also relevance in those areas, as they are a true source of inspiration to us. Working with those who share our values, we have a team of pro athletes who are vocal about the environment. Their experience and expertise helps us when developing new generations of skis and skiing equipment.  

What are your goals?

We are passionate about the places we ski and want to do everything we can to protect and save them for generations to come. 

pile of skiers sit on snow dressed in colourful clothes all holding their Elan skis, laughing in a set up brand photo