It is no question that climate change and global warming has been a serious threat in the last couple of years. As the threat grows, more surf, skate, and other board companies attempt to become eco-friendly. With the warmer temperatures come melting ice caps, plummeting wave heights, and the potential destruction of coastal cities, which can obliterate the sports of surfing, snowboarding, and even skateboarding altogether. Orange County boasts some of the most prominent sports apparel companies in these sports, and a lot have joined the effort to preserve the planet. A lot have implemented more eco-friendly processes and materials into their businesses, and some have even taken initiative in reporting.
Many critics, however, claim that these steps toward becoming more sustainable are mere publicity tricks. Consumers are becoming more conscious of the things they buy–and that steps have been taken to produce them in more sustainable ways. At the same time, in order for businesses to move several steps forward in becoming more eco-friendly, even more steps are needed to be taken backwards financially. As appealing as having a completely zero-waste facility or using only recyclable materials may sound, it also costs a lot; and only few buyers are willing to shell out extra for such products. Thus, many companies have taken shortcuts–creating EP&Ls, Higgs Index, and other tools that report how much is being taken away, but not necessarily addressing or solving any problems. They have all entered an experimental stage, trying to see how to accurately balance pleasing their customers, helping the environment, while still making money. Perhaps, with a little more integrity, some leadership, and a lot of courage, the road to becoming fully eco-friendly will prove to be short, after all.
Andrew Asch explores all of this in an extremely informative piece in this week’s OC Weekly: http://www.ocweekly.com/2013-07-18/news/eco-surf-skate-companies/