At Rock/Creek, part of our mission is to reduce the environmental impact of our business operations. 100% of the energy we use is offset with wind power through the prAna Natural Power Initiative, and we worked with The North Face to offset 100% of the CO2 footprint from construction of our LEED-certified retail store at 2 North Shore. We also strive to reduce our impact by eliminating waste in our daily operations. We donate money to green organizations, and participate in cleanup efforts in our local area. We feel that Earth Day should serve as a reminder that environmental responsibility is a year-round process.
Part of this process is working with vendors who are also environmentally responsible, and who produce with recycled materials and small manufacturing footprints. In celebration of Earth Day, here is Rock/Creek’s list of the top 10 greenest outdoor products!
- The entire Patagonia product line
Picking the greenest Patagonia product is like picking the prettiest sunset; it’s impossible. Patagonia donates 1% of its annual sales to green causes, every single year, and they maintain a Common Threads program which allows you to recycle old Patagonia gear when you finally wear it out. Patagonia’s environmentalism is inseparable from its product philosophies. Check out Patagonia’s Footprint Chronicles series, which exhaustively details the impact of each product they make…including where they see room for improvement.
- Chaco Z/1 Vibram Yampa sandal
Chaco is a leader in the industry with their reChaco program, which re-soles and repairs old, worn-out Chaco sandals at a reasonable price in order to keep them out of landfills. This January, Chaco announced that it had recently reChaco-ed its 20,000th pair. That’s a lot of waste prevented! We’ve chosen to highlight the new Yampa-sole versions, because they’re totally vegan, but any purchase you make from Chaco can be with confidence that you’re supporting one of the greenest companies out there. Also available in Z/2 Yampa and ZX/1 Yampa versions… as well as Men’s Z/1 Yampa and Z/2 Yampa!
- prAna Quinn Dress
Manufactured with 45% recycled polyester, the Quinn Dress is one of many environmentally-friendly products available from prAna. Through the prAna Natural Power Initiative — Rock/Creek is a member — prAna is committed to lowering their own greenhouse gas emissions as well as those of partner retailers while helping to develop renewable energy. prAna was a 2006 recipient of the EPA Green Power Leadership award, and the vast majority of prAna clothing features organic cotton, recycled polyester or both.
- The North Face Venture Jacket
Winner of the Backpacker Magazine Editor’s Choice Green Award for 2011, the popular Venture Jacket from The North Face now features the HyVent DT EC fabric, an eco-friendly version of the original HyVent membrane. By utilizing a natural castor oil instead of a petroleum product in the lining, The North Face has eliminated the need for 50,000 pounds of petroleum-based material this year without sacrificing performance.
- Marmot DriClime Catalyst Jacket
Another repeat award-winner, and an update to the classic Marmot DriClime Windshirt, Marmot‘s DriClime Catalyst uses a UpCycle 100% recycled fabric in the lining, an 88% recycled polyester face fabric (88%) and an eco-friendly version of DWR. It even features a recycled zipper! This jacket also won an Editor’s Choice Green Award from Backpacker, back in 2008.
- SmartWool socks
SmartWool socks are made from New Zealand merino wool, a natural and renewable resource. SmartWool has put a ton of effort into making sure that its sources — a network of small sheep farms — are sustainable and the processing is environmentally friendly. SmartWool’s website proclaims: “SmartWool sheep produce our luxurious fiber each spring on one of our many Smart Stations. Once they are sheared, they spend the remaining 364 days roaming thousands of pristine alpine acres while grazing on lush grass!”
- CamelBak water bottles
One of CamelBak’s core company values is “we give a _____.” No, seriously, it is! From working to eliminate disposable plastic water bottles from the workplace (or doing the same for an entire city in Australia) to seeking out retailers who work just as hard to reduce their own carbon footprints (like Rock/Creek), CamelBak strives for a world with clean water and less waste.
- Keen Newport H2
Keen uses recycled rubber in the soles of the Newport, and other products among Keen’s offerings utilize recycled aluminum buckles, natural cork cushioning and unique, repurposed materials. Similar to Patagonia, Keen works very hard to examine the footprint of all of its products, and determine how best to maintain an environmentally-responsible approach. Since 2004, Keen has donated $4.5 million to green organizations through its hybrid.care program, including Leave no Trace the Conservation Alliance; Keen was also the recipient of our 2009 Environmental Stewardship award.
- Mountain Hardwear Keeley short-sleeved shirt
Mountain Hardwear takes an eco-conscious approach to this poly-cotton blended shirt, using 100% certified organic cotton and 100% recycled polyester. Organic cotton, unlike conventional cotton, uses no chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Mountain Hardwear also uses OutDry waterproofing technology in its other products — a new and highly-waterproof technology made entirely from recycled, non-toxic materials — and the company’s headquarters in Richmond, CA utilizes solar panels to provide 100% of its electricity.
- Mountainsmith recycled bags
How cool is this? Mountainsmith makes a line of packs that use 100% recycled body fabrics. One hundred percent! While some companies trot out a single recycled product to show off how “green” they are, Mountainsmith puts their money where their mouth is with this whole series of packs, using a recycled PET, and proves that sourcing recycled fabrics can indeed be economically-viable.
When you purchase products made with recycled and organic content, manufactured by companies who are environmentally responsible, your dollars make a difference in reducing waste. If Patagonia donates 1% of their sales per year to green causes, that means 1% of your own Patagonia purchases are helping to make a difference; that’s your consumer influence at work. This Earth Day, let’s all think about not only the ways we can reduce waste in our own lives, but how the purchasing decisions we make influence the environment as well.