By Shelly Severinghaus, LTS Senior Consultant
Continuing to blaze the path on industry sustainability standards, on July 23, 2018, the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) published its first State of Sustainability in the Outdoor Industry report, establishing a baseline for the outdoor industry’s sustainability performance and highlighting examples of best practices including some by LTS clients:
- Klean Kanteen installed 216 high-efficiency solar panels at their headquarters, joining 63% of surveyed companies in investing in renewable energy.
We conducted screening Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) on Klean’s Classic Bottle and Vacuum Insulated Kanteen and a full, critically reviewed LCA on their event pint cup compared to single-use plastic cups. In addition, we implemented their LCA models in SimaPro Share, an interactive online tool allowing Klean to see the impact of design changes and other what-if questions like transportation distances and modes.
- Burton has implemented the Higg Tools and had all of their suppliers complete the Higg Environmental and Social Facilities Modules. This helped to inform their 2020 Sustainability Goals.
Burton also uses SimaPro to assess the environmental impacts of their boards, bindings and apparel and received introductory and advanced LCA and SimaPro training from us.
- The North Face participates in the Renewal Workshop to upcycle discarded clothing and textiles.
We worked with The North Face and their yarn supplier Unifi in their efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of the Denali jacket, a staple in the TNF product line. Learn more by watching their informative promotional video, “Behind the Seams” and reading our project report here.
- Burton and The North Face have partnered with Protect Our Winters (POW), a leading climate advocacy group for the winter sports community.
At LTS, we are always happy to highlight the good work our clients are doing!
A great baseline!
“This report provides a wonderful opportunity to recognize the outdoor industry’s progress toward a standard practice of responsible, sustainable business,” said Danielle Cresswell, senior sustainability manager for Klean Kanteen. “That said, it is imperative that we continue building on the 10-plus years of advances led by the Sustainability Working Group to broaden our industry’s participation and deepen our innovation for lasting solutions.”(Source: PR Newswire press release).
How can others learn from this baseline?
According to the report overview, a key takeaway identified that a sustainable materials and product design program is important, regardless of the size of the company. A whopping 69% of respondents prioritized their sustainable product design efforts. These companies are looking at the whole life cycle of their products, starting with materials and design, through the product’s manufacturing and use, and identifying best end-of-life strategies.
A vital step for a company to create a successful product design program is to create a baseline of their own, with a screening LCA of one of their products. From our experience at LTS, and our clients, this overarching look at a product’s impacts could unveil previously unrecognized sustainability hotspots, as well as inspire innovation.
Next steps for the industry.
The outdoor industry isn’t stopping there. Companies are preparing to implement REI Product Sustainability Standards, which specify brand expectations and preferred attributes for fair and safe supply chains, chemicals management, land stewardship, animal welfare and environmental management.
Learn how we can help you assess the environmental impacts of your products by contacting us today.