We’re proud of the steps we’ve taken to make our products more sustainable, but our commitment to the environment doesn’t end there. We’re also working to increase sustainability company-wide through targeted strategies and by forming alliances with other businesses and environmental organizations.
In 2019, we began the process of measuring our scope 1 and 2 baseline emissions. Having this information helps us target our reduction strategies and measure our progress, so we can more effectively drive those emissions down. And we’re already using that information in some exciting ways.
To move us a step closer to achieving our emissions reduction goals, we’ve begun the process of measuring our scope 3 baseline emissions and understanding the environmental effects of our supply chain. This will give us our best picture yet of the impact we have on the planet, both internally and through all of our external partners. Once the process is complete, we’ll have the hard numbers we need to set ambitious short and medium term sustainability targets.
Right from the start, our products are designed for longevity. We use high-quality materials, and each new design goes through numerous rounds of prototyping and testing to make sure it will stand the test of time. Keeping our testing and prototyping in house allows us to monitor the process every step of the way, which results in a longer lasting product, because we’re able to ensure all materials and construction meet our high standards for quality and durability. To reduce waste, we partner with our manufacturers to take back and reuse leftover materials. We also use material-efficient prototyping methods like 3D printing and assembling many of our prototypes by hand.
Product packaging and transportation account for large amounts of waste and greenhouse gas emissions, so we’ve committed to reducing our environmental impact in both of these areas. Our new paper-based product packaging is 100% recyclable, and made from at least 70% recycled materials. We’ve also recently reduced the size and weight of our packaging, so that more can be packed into a single shipping container—reducing transportation emissions. And when we ship directly to our customers, we use UPS’s carbon neutral shipping program whenever possible.
Measuring our baseline emissions has shown us the impact our Flagstaff, Arizona headquarters has on the environment and we’re taking steps to reduce that impact. In early 2017, we installed a roof-mounted solar array that offsets 100% of the electricity we use. And, as part of a recent remodel, we had a daylight analysis done on our building and placed skylights in recommended areas, allowing us to use less lighting during daylight hours. Inside our headquarters, environmental awareness is built into every conversation and meeting we have. And our Associates make sustainability a daily practice through recycling, reusing as much as possible, and by working from home part time.
Events & Marketing
We’re also taking steps toward making our events more sustainable. In 2020, we made our popular Kahtoola Uphill run carbon neutral by purchasing offsets through CarbonFund.org. And we’ve recently pledged to go plastic free at all of the trade shows we attend. In addition, most of our promotional materials, such as t-shirts and stickers are made using recycled materials.
Part of our emissions reduction strategy involves forming alliances with environmental organizations so we can accurately measure our footprint and help support other organizations that are working toward lowering our industry’s footprint as a whole.
For example, in 2020, we were the first business in Flagstaff to be certified as an Innovator/Silver Level sustainable business by Arizona’s own Sustainability Alliance. This certification gives us a baseline to compare against future sustainability efforts, helps us find areas for improvements and gives us an avenue for collaborating on sustainability issues with other local businesses.
To be successful, improving sustainability needs to be a group effort, so in addition to local partnerships, we work with organizations around the world. We’re a member of 1% for the planet, which means we’ve committed to directing one percent of our revenues to environmental causes. We’re also a member of the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA), and along with other members, have the opportunity to vote for the conservation initiatives our memberships fees fund. Closer to home, we’re a member of the Conservation Alliance (CA). The CA “harnesses the collective power of business and outdoor communities to fund and advocate for the protection of North America’s wild places”. And to help keep us in line with best practices, we’re a member of the Climate Action Corps (CAC)—an organization that is working toward making the outdoor industry climate positive.