Monday, April 25, 2011

Volcom Combines Environmental & Social Initiatives Under The New Future Program

Building on past programs such as the V.Co-logical Series, being a 1% for the Planet member, and the Volcom Give Back Series, Volcom is combining its efforts under its New Future program, headed by its Department of Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility. The New Future Program will be included in all aspects of Volcom, to progress its environmental awareness and social consciousness.
Volcom has also been a part of creating The Sustainability Collective (TSC+), working with other environmental leaders such as Sole Technology and Quiksilver to empower action sports leaders to be environmentally aware. TSC+ is an independent advisory and resource group founded around the growing need for industry-relevant education and resources about sustainability.
Contributor Michael Sudmeier caught up with the Director of Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility Derek Sabori to find out how these initiatives are being integrated.
Check out Sabori at last year’s SIMA Green Boot camp.
How does Volcom’s commitment to the environment and social issues fit with its New Future program?
The New Future program is the commitment. In the past, we’ve had our V.Co-logical Series where we’re a 1% for the Planet member and, more recently, our Volcom Give Back Series where we team up with people-focused non-profit organizations to help spread awareness about their causes and raise funds for them through the sale of select products. The idea of New Future is to tie these two programs together, and put them under one roof.
Additionally, the New Future aim is to continuously lower our global, ecological impact when compared to previous years and to maintain and strengthen the momentum of our building corporate social responsibility (CSR) program.
In fact, we’ve defined it like this:
The New Future looks a lot different than today’s future. It is Cleaner, more Conscious, more Renewable, more Efficient, more Regenerative, more Sustainable, and Less Impactful. We’ll continue to work towards incorporating New Future thinking into all aspects of our business and we ask that you do your part in helping us build a future that we can proudly pass on to all generations to come.
Our New Future begins today.
Whether it’s better recycling, and product sourcing or a ban on single use plastic water bottles, and conscious event planning, it’s all a part of the long term, New Future plan.
How would you define an ecologically friendly product?
Honestly, I wouldn’t. I don’t think it exists. I think we can make product that’s better, less impactful, smarter, and less resource intense than what we’re doing now, but I’m pretty skeptical about us making a product any time soon that is truly “friendly” to the environment; one that is giving back nutrients to the environment.
What are some of the company’s latest initiatives to minimize its environmental footprint?
We’re continuing to broaden our V.Co-logical Series and are continuously challenging ourselves to learn more about what goes into the products we make.
Currently, we are working with a 3rd party team to build our 2010 Corporate Sustainability Report which will allow us to clearly define our strategy, measure our regional footprint, set some goals for improvement and then proceed to build programs to achieve those goals.
Additionally, we’ve helped in the formation of The Sustainability Collective (TSC+) with the goal of building some best management practices that we can all, collectively adhere to in order to lower our footprint.
There’s quite a bit in the pipes, but also, quite the road to travel.
What are the goals of TSC+?
Our Mission:
Empower the Action Sports Industry to be sustainability leaders and to forge a clear path to truly sustainable and responsible business.
Our Vision Statement: “We are an independent advisory and resource group that, through advocacy and education, empowers the Action Sports business community to collectively be sustainability leaders in this new economy.”
Our Year One Goals:
· Education – Sustainability Focused TSC+ Events and 3rd Party Seminars, Workshops, and Presentations
· Communication – Website for messaging, Webinars and Print Outreach to tell the TSC+ story
· Practices – BMPs, Industry Standards, and Education suited to the Action Sports Industry
To what degree is the organization industry-facing and to what degree is it consumer-facing?
At this time, we are 100% industry facing, focusing almost completely on Action Sports Brands/Manufacturers, Retailers, and Distributors.
From the organization’s standpoint, what are the biggest barriers to reducing the environmental impact of the action sports industry?
Understanding our supply chain and the inputs that are utilized at each step of the way in everything we make. As soon as you start digging in and asking questions, you often realize how little you actually know. Getting us all to stop, and design with consideration of impacts at every stage of a product’s life-cycle is a considerable challenge that will take time, but must be done.
What organizations has Volcom’s V.Co-Logical line supported through its involvement in 1% for the Planet?
Our 2010 Contributions are still being compiled, but here’s who we contributed to for our 2009 sales:
For our US operations:
-Alaska Wilderness League
-Save the Waves Coalition
-The Ecology Center
-Protect our Winters (POW)
-Orange County Coastkeeper
-North Shore Community Land Trust
-Newport Bay Naturalist and Friends
-Stratford Ecological Center
-Action Sports Environmental Coalition (ASEC)
-Algalita Marine Research Foundation
-Bolsa Chica Land Trust
Our International Contributions:
-Amane (Brazil)
-Surfrider Foundation Europe (France)
-Sumatran Orangutan Society (Indonesia)
-Reef Check Australia (Australia)
-Surfbreak Protection Society  (Australia)
-WetlandCare Australia (Australia)
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