Are you snowboarding sustainably?
Here at The Snowboard Asylum, we love supporting snowboarding brands that share our passion for the sport and care for the planet. If you are looking to ramp up your sustainability game this winter, we have compiled a list of our eco-friendly favourites below. These companies are industry-leaders in the quality of snowboard kit that they produce as well as true innovators in the field of sustainable manufacturing and product design.
There is no better company to start with than the one often referred to as the pioneers of snowboarding: Burton. This evergreen brand, founded in 1977, has taken a sharp turn within the last decade or so in hopes of becoming the most sustainable snowboarding company out there. In a nutshell, Burton’s all-encompassing take on sustainability within the company leaves no aspect of the business untouched. For example, they are committed to responsibly sourced down in their clothing, switching to recycled packaging, holding free sessions on sustainable living to their staff, and aiming to fix rather than replace faulty products.
In 2019, Burton became a Certified B Corporation: the first snowboarding company in the world to do so. B Corps are businesses that are committed to pursuing social and environmental objectives while remaining transparent, and all companies have to meet a strict set of standards to be included. Burton has many specific sustainability goals they are working towards currently, such as making 100% of their softgoods Bluesign approved. In true B Corp fashion, they provide a progress tracker for each objective on their website.
Photo credit: Trevor Phillips
Lib Tech are known for their experimental board designs, which are produced in their own ‘dream factory’ located in the state of Washington, US, near the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges. Sustainability has been a core value for Lib Tech since the company was established in the early 1980s, long before eco values were considered a must. They have continued on that same path and pioneered ways to manufacture snowboards without the creation of hazardous waste.
The materials Lib Tech use are also widely recycled, mostly from their own factory scraps, and made from wood that comes from farmed fast-growing trees. At the heart of Lib Tech’s values is also the well-being of their team. This has fuelled their development for the non-toxic production methods that are now in place.
Photo credit: Andrew Miller
Although Jones, founded in 2009, is a younger company than our seasoned veterans above, the brand quickly established a reputation as an innovative and sustainable industry leader. From day one, the company’s founder, professional snowboarder and activist Jeremy Jones wanted to build products that are ‘performance focused, eco conscious’.
Jones is also a member of 1% For The Planet, which means that they give 1% of their sales directly to sustainability-oriented non-profit organisations. Their 1% is split between Community Carbon Trees, who work on reforestation, and Protect Our Winters, Jeremy’s own organisation that encourages the winter sports community to fight against climate change.
Volcom implemented a sustainability program called ‘New Future’ in 2013 and they have not looked back since. The program is based on three pillars: responsible manufacturing, giving back, and impact evaluation. Their current specific targets include optimising their fibre sourcing to include more recycled materials and becoming more vocal about their sustainability goals in customer-facing marketing.
Volcom has also committed to the Responsible Down Standard as well as been accredited by the Fair Labor Association, which commits brands to follow principles of fair labour and responsible sourcing.
Capita’s manufacturing site ‘The Mothership’ in Austria deserves an honourable mention. The factory was completed in 2016 and is powered solely by renewable energy. Also, thanks to their central location in Europe, they can source 98% of their materials locally, further reducing their carbon footprint.
About the Author:
Iida Ruokojärvi - Outdoor Expert
Iida grew up in Finland where she was introduced to the outdoors at a very young age. Snowboarding has become second nature to her despite now living in a less snowy part of the world. Since moving to the UK, she rediscovered her love for hiking and continues to explore the British mountains and beyond.