If you’ve taken a good look at our bottle range, you may have noticed that we like to partner with exceptional brands. With noteworthy companies from Burton Snowboards to up and coming brands such as Roark and Civilware, we are honored to collaborate on good looking, quality products with brands we love and respect.
But there is more to our partnerships than simply awesome graphics. Who we collaborate with speaks volumes about our own values here at Mizu, so we don’t take those decisions lightly. In our mission to make a dent in the amount of single use products being used and protect where we play, we work with companies who have similar visions of sustainability and enriched futures for the generations to follow.
This post is the first in a series where we shine the spotlight on some of these fabulous companies and delve deeper in to the higher-level work they have going on behind the scenes; work that makes us proud to call them our partners.
Where better to start than with the legendary brand Volcom, a company that is continually raising the bar in their efforts for sustainability? Derek Sabori, Volcom’s Senior Director of Sustainability, answers our questions and shows there is a lot more going on behind the scenes there than you probably knew about…
MIZU: Volcom has been a leader in actions sports in terms of going green…When did this move start and why?
DEREK: Our process started back in 2005-2006 with a line that we called Verde. It eventually went to market as the V.Co-logical Series and parlayed our partnership with 1% for the Planet. At the time, we were learning about better fibers and the impacts that our products have on the environment and we wanted to begin to remedy that. It’s been a long journey since, with many things developing, but it’s early roots really stemmed from a few of us here being keen on making a change in the way we did business.
MIZU: You’ve been setting some serious goals recently through your sustainability program – what are the key elements of it?
DEREK: We’ve aligned with Kering on our Sustainability Targets for 2016. That said, we’re challenging ourselves with the task of:
• Participating in the groupwide EP&L, measuring the environmental footprint of our products through the entire supply chain and then placing a monetary value on those impacts
• Reducing our Emissions, Waste and Water Use by -25%
• Eliminating PVC from our collections
• Packaging & Paper sourced sustainably from certified well-managed forests and recycled content
• Continue to certify our major surf events as Deep Blue Surfing Event™
• Increase the amount of sustainable materials and processes in all our product mixes
• Continue Give Backs to community-based programs
• Evaluation of our key suppliers every two years to meet best practices and to adhere to our code of conduct
MIZU: We think the way you are working on producing more sustainable surfing events — (the Volcom Fiji Pro was the first global surf contest to attain the Deep Blue Surfing Event status and the Volcom Pipe Pro followed shortly after) – is awesome! Do you see signs of this approach to surf contests becoming adopted on a wider scale?
DEREK: We do. This has been a great journey for us, and we’re glad to have captured the story in the Sustainable by Design films done by Nathan Peracciny. It’s been a series of learning lessons for us and a series of awesome partnerships – starting with Jen Homcy and TR3EES, then Sustainable Surf and their guidelines and now Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii to help manage things on the ground…it’s all been awesome (visit www.volcom.com/sbd to see the movies).
We see things now at the ASP events that we really like. Things like Waves for Water and the recent visit to the Chipembere Rhino Foundation during lay days at the J-Bay contest. Great give backs, great community engagement.
We would love, of course for other events to adopt the Deep Bllue Surf Events guidelines and issue environmental reports. The more we can all expose each other to what works, what needs to get better, etc., the better progress we can make.
MIZU: Volcom is definitely a step ahead of the game in terms of looking internally at these issues, but are you feeling like there is an evolution within the action sports industry towards more environmentally conscious company management in general?
DEREK: Hmmm…it’s hard to say. Until you’re on the inside, working with all the managers, the execs, and the team on the ground, making material, supplier, and process decisions, it’s really hard to say. I’d like to think there’s an evolution, but with all the support I have here at Volcom, with all the support we have from Kering, it’s still a long road, and one that takes constant maintenance. My hope is that the work we are doing and talking about is at least on the radar of other brands as they build their competitive platforms. I’ve learned too, that just because a brand doesn’t talk much about sustainability, doesn’t mean they’re not doing anything. So, it’s really hard to get a gauge. I would love to see more Action Sports brands, however, at the next Sustainable Apparel Coalition meeting, or at the next Textile Exchange meeting (wink, wink.)!
MIZU: Are you noticing a change in the way Volcom’s athlete’s view issues of sustainability?
DEREK: Yes! I love talking with the athletes at the Pipe Pro, and I engage with the team/program managers here to keep the conversation top of mind. Our athletes are such strong ambassadors so if I can get them on board, it’s on!
MIZU: What was it that led you to partnering up with Mizu?
DEREK: Years, ago when we first started our ban on single-use plastic water bottles here at the office, we knew we wanted that to extend over to the event at Pipe and with Mizu we were able to make it happen. You guys have been our water vessel partner since!
MIZU: And finally, why did Volcom choose Give Clean Water as the non-profit it supports?
DEREK: During the years we hosted the Volcom Fiji Pro, we were honored to work with Give Clean Water. Darrel Larson and his crew at their non-profit are doing such awesome things in Fiji. They’ve got a thorough, and sustainable program, that provides education, engagement, and sustainable clean drinking water for villages in Fiji. The experiences that our team gained from going into the villages, and kicking off those installation cmpaigns during the lay days were so memorable. When it comes to water issues, Give Clean Water was a great Give Back partner for us (we miss Fiji!) and it made perfect sense to give back to them, and to thank them for the work they did for the people of Fiji during our events.
To find out more, head on over to http://newfuture.volcom.com/
Get your own Volcom/Mizu bottle at https://www.mizulife.com/volcom