Our Director of Innovation and sustainability, Brad Boren runs us through it.
Being transparent about our goals and achievements, not only provides our partners and consumers with a greater confidence in our work but also ensures that sustainability is present in everything we do.
As cliché as it may be, actions do speak louder than words. That’s why we invited everyone to see our CSR-processes through our 2020 roadmap.
Now that the 2020 road map’s journey has been completed, it is only fitting to start our 2029 Road map with far more ambitious goals to drive us through to Norrøna’s 100th birthday.
Why did we do the 2020 roadmap?
While we were using organic cotton and some recycled Polyester in 2008, we did not have a consistent plan for impact reduction. If the material was available in a more preferred version and it was fit for use, we used it. It wasn’t however that we put down in writing a plan for measurable improvement that we were able to sit down with our material suppliers and make a solid plan for improvement. The roadmap was not only developed as a guide for our in-house development team, it also provided our suppliers a five year plan to shift toward 100% recycled fiber that was fit to use, so it did not sacrifice quality. Before 2014, the belief was also that if we invest in recycled and organic materials, it was not necessary to have all these verifications. It was better to put the money into more sustainable fibers rather than to auditors. However, as we developed measurables for the roadmap, we found that we would also need proof so that we could trust the data we used to measure. So we decided that 100% of our products should be 3rd party verified through Bluesign, Oeko-Tex, GOTS, RDS, RWS or a number of other approved independent verifiers. The Road Map should also help us improve internally. Zero waste from the headquarters, 100% green commute to work, only use of renewable energy at headquarters, and improved planning.
Better production planning could help us strive for a goal of a maximum of 1% of the products could be flown in to the warehouse using air freight which has a high climate emission or a higher percentage of our products being produced in low season providing more stable work throughout the year for the factory and material workers, and reduction of a high amount of overtime during the peak season. The road map provided key yearly goals, and allowed us to create individual key performance indicators (KPI’s). These KPI’s let our employees prioritize tasks and see the accomplishments of their work.
What did we accomplish?
We found early on that we needed to work directly with our suppliers of materials and our employees to explain what we were trying to do with these goals. What were the reasons and why they were so important to us. We were able to get material suppliers to commit to using recycled yarns, even before the market was pushing hard for them due to our relationships with those suppliers.
We went from 2% of our products using Nylon in 2014 being recycled to 84% of our Nylon products being from recycled materials and over 80% of our Polyester products are also from recycled materials. In 2014, Flurocarbon free DWR’s made up just 11% of our product range, and five years later they account for 72%. These actions take time and focus. Especially when each material and finish must be both laboratory and field tested to ensure they are fit for use. I am convinced that without a measurable roadmap to help lead the way, we would not have made the strives we have.
Our road map achievements are equally representative of the amazing material partners that we work with. We have worked through many challenges together, all trying to stay focused on achieving these goals. We have also gone out and spoke to other members of our industry telling them how important the road map with its incentive based KPI’s are to creating significant change. We have a long way to go to help improve the environmental crisis facing our planet. But having measurable goals on which to push for allows creativity and planning to far surpass anything we could have imagined six years ago.
What can we do better?
Everything. We are on a journey. The path goes up and down, right and left. While we need to be as effective as possible because the planet doesn’t have time for patience, we also need to take bold steps and make some mistakes along the way. While these mistakes can never make it all the way to the consumer as they are identified in our testing, they need to happen if we are to push new more sustainable materials that can even provide an enhanced user experience. We can make materials that are carbon neutral or negative, waste no water, use no hazardous chemicals, enhance the carbon entrapment of the soil through better farming practices and through more efficient use of our resources. We can rebuild biodiversity back on the planet rather than robbing it and using monocultural practices, We can ensure even more people rise from poverty, and live in a healthy and safe environment. What we can do better is reinvent the industrial revolution to move from vertical production to more of a closed loop. The reality is we can do so much better and be more innovative in a positive way, while also encouraging consumers to engage in new buying patterns with less waste. The mission of what we can do better is a lifelong endeavor, but it always needs to have a beginning and goals to guide us. “Goals – are like magnets that attract us to higher ground and new horizons. They give our eyes a focus, our mind an aim, and our strength a purpose … A goal is a possibility that fulfills a dream” (Lessin, Now that the 2020 road map’s journey has been completed, it is only fitting to start our 2029 Road map with far more ambitious goals to drive us through to Norrøna’s 100th birthday.
Without nature, there’s no us. We believe the only way to run a company is with a sustainable platform and every day we strive to improve, explore and inspire to protect our home.