3 questions for… Antje von Dewitz

3 questions for… Antje von Dewitz

Managing Director of VAUDE and Board Member of the Federal Association for Sustainable Economy

Portrait Antje von Dewitz

1. You’ve been the Managing Director of VAUDE Sport GmbH since 2009 and have been driving the company’s sustainable transformation ever since, with the result that VAUDE is now a pioneer with regard to sustainable management. What did you see as the greatest challenges in switching to a sustainable business model?

The first major challenge was getting the whole team to buy in. Transformation means a lot of additional expense, lots of trade-offs and complexity. At the same time, we had to demonstrate a sense of purpose and make it clear that it’s possible and that it brings added value to each individual. Establishing a basis of trust and team members who really can and want to offer their support.

We also needed this in order to face the second major challenge: the entire supply chains. This means converting standards and materials to fair working conditions. It was a massive undertaking because we’re just one employer among many. And if you want to initiate something, you need staying power and good strategies.

2. VAUDE is strongly focused on the circular economy. As a result, you offer your customers, for example, leasing and repair services, and thus promote a more frugal lifestyle. This doesn’t conform to the principle of traditional economic/company growth. So why did you choose this business model, and what opportunities and risks do you see?

Our choice of this business model came out of a total sense of purpose. On the one hand, we have tremendous problems in the textile industry. Once every second, a truckload of old textiles is deposited in landfill or burned because there is still no textile-to-textile recycling. This means that we consume an insane amount of resources in the textile industry. In 2023, Overshoot Day in Germany already came in May and Germany is one of the largest consumers of textiles.

We have to change our behaviour, otherwise we’ll eat up our planet, so to speak, or we’ll destroy it with our textiles. This means that the only reasonable solution is to become circular. And yes, that’s difficult from an economic point of view because our system operates on the basis of growth. But we’re gradually getting there. And we’re confident because now even the EU is signalling that this is politically desirable, which means it’s both encouraged and supported.

3. What’s your personal motivation?

Specifically, the wish to make my contribution. I have four children and I want Earth to be a good place for them to live. And I’m motivated by a fantastic team. We’ve succeeded in creating a great culture of mutual encouragement with an emphasis on innovation and the future. That motivates me every day.


Anna Frede

Anna Frede

Junior PR Consultant | modem conclusa gmbh