Eco Challenge Gold Coast 2015

From the organisers:

We are proud to announce that the Eco Challenge Gold Coast 2015 event is locked in for March 15, 2015 at Tugun Surf Life Saving Club 29 O’Connor St, Tugun QLD 4224

Wooden-boards-900x440The event will again be part of the Bleach Festival and is a free family friendly surfing lifestyle community event which will comply with sustainable event management guidelines and promote alternative surfing products & services & the natural & social environment.

Further info here.

Facebook page for the event here.

From the Gold Coast Bulletin:

A SURFING competition with “new” wooden surfboards is coming to the Gold Coast.

The inaugural Surf Rider Foundation Eco Challenge will be held at Tugun Surf Life Saving Club this month as part of Bleach Festival to promote sustainable coastal lifestyles.

The competition is open to surfers wanting to ride surfboards only recently brought out from history books — the ancient Hawaiian alaia.

Despite being used for hundreds of years, the board was forgotten in the 20th century because, at no thicker than 24mm and without fins, it was thought it could not angle across a wave.

It’s all about transparency! Where Great Design and Business Ethics Collide

The following comes from James Williams, the founder of Keebunga.

keebungaA new product, just launched on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform is leading the way in transparent business practices.

The Keebunga hard shell key case, is beautiful to look at, tactile and functional but it’s also completely revolutionary in how it’s being sold.

The small start up company, based in Cornwall, is responding to the growing desire in society for openness and honesty in business.

“We decided to give customers all the information they might want about our product, from where it is made to who it’s made by and a detailed break down of exactly how much it cost us and how much mark up we’re making,” says James Williams, Keebunga’s founder and director.

James, a committed surfer, is keenly interested in sustainability and protecting the environment. He found that in pursuing these ethics within manufacturing he was bombarded with so much conflicting information that the best way was to give customers all the facts about his products.

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Paddy Pallin and the environment

The Paddy Pallin stores fill a particular niche in the Australian outdoor equipment landscape. They are well known and still sell general and technical equipment, rather than just concentrating on ‘adventure wear’. And they stock not only other companies gear, they also have their own brand, giving them the potential of greater control over work place conditions and material sustainability.

The company has recently launched a community blog, which features an updated version of the companies approach to the environment:

The Importance of the Environment to Paddy Pallin

At Paddy Pallin, concern for the environment is not just an important issue; it’s a way of life, a commitment that governs many aspects of the company. It’s an inseparable part of the ethos of Paddy Pallin. It’s one of our core values. As such, we are constantly striving to reduce our environmental impact through innovations in all areas of the company’s operations. Ever since Paddy Pallin was founded in 1930, we have been a strong advocate and practitioner of eco-responsible actions. This commitment is spearheaded by the actions of the founder Paddy Pallin during his long life and today by his family, Robert, Nancy and Tim Pallin.

Why is Green the Colour of Paddy Pallin

Concern for the environment is one of the core values of Paddy Pallin. Ever since Paddy Pallin was established in 1930, Paddy Pallin the company and Paddy Pallin the man have demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainability. This ethic is continued on today by Robert and Nancy Pallin who now own Paddy Pallin. It’s an intrinsic part of our ethical, socially responsible approach to doing business.

Why Green is Much More than a Colour at Paddy Pallin.

Green has always been our company’s official colour. But more importantly, it’s an essential part of how we do business. Here are some examples:
• We have always printed our catalogues on recycled paper in the past
• We print our catalogues on paper that is PEFC accredited. The paper mill and printer are guided by the rules set out in the international standard ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard. This measure, combined with other considerations, led our Winter 11 Handbook to win the Environment and Sustainability Award from the Australian Catalogue Association.
• We have always promoted responsible consumption and respect for nature
• We have supported a number of environmental causes over the past 20 years through our ‘Don’t Bag the Environment’ campaign which encourages customers not to take unnecessary shopping bags
• We use recycled, reclaimed and non-toxic materials in the renovation of our Little Bourke Street store
• We have long shared green tips with our customers and employees
• We actively search for products with an environmental message to present in our stores
• We have a long history of providing prizes for the Nature Conservation Council of NSW’s World Environment Day Awards. Paddy Pallin is proud to be providing the prize for “Rising Star Award”, a new award presented to an outstanding environmentalist under the age of 30.
• We are in the process of switching our stores to energy suppliers with environmentally sustainable credentials
• We encourage our staff to ride or walk to work by providing them with showers in our newer stores
• We have produced paper carry bags sourced from new growth forest and can be recycled
• We have long been a supporter of Bush Heritage Australia and assisted them with their fundraising efforts

Q: Is the environment important to Paddy Pallin?
A: Yes. We consider protecting the environment one of the most critical issues of our time. It is incumbent on every company and individual to act responsibly and to do what they can to minimize their environmental impact. Long before climate change became a household term, Paddy Pallin supported a wide range of conservation organisations and sustainability practices.

Q: How does Paddy Pallin demonstrate its commitment to the environment?
A: In multiple ways, big and small. From purchasing sustainable products to the way we refit our new stores; from financial support of environmental organisations to helping raise awareness among our staff and customers about green issues; from initiating campaigns such as “Don’t Bag the Environment” to encourage the reduction of bag usage to providing showers in our new stores to encourage staff to ride to work; from donations made through the Paddy Pallin foundation to printing our catalogues on PEFC accredited, Paddy Pallin is a proponent and practitioner of responsible, environmentally sustainable policies.

Q: Does Paddy Pallin sell any eco-friendly products?
A: Yes, more and more every season. We are continually working with our suppliers to source products that reduce the impact on the environment. Recycled fabrics in fleece and packs are now available as well as natural sustainable fabrics such as wool and soya. No longer limited to just clothing Paddy Pallin is now stocking packs and footwear which has been made with fabrics and components which are recycled or have a reduced impact on the environment. These products are identified in our catalogue and online store with the Minimising Environmental Impact logo Paddy Pallin introduced in 2007.

Q: Are Paddy Pallin stores green?
A: Not all of them but all the new stores will be, as much as possible. Increasingly, Paddy Pallin integrates sustainable practices in new store fitouts or major renovations, including the use of water soluble paints, biodegradable flooring made from 50% pre-consumer recycled content, energy-efficient lighting powered by a green energy provider. When renovating a store, we always strive to minimise the amount of garbage and waste. That’s why we recycle and reuse existing materials as much as possible. We also provide showers to encourage staff to ride to work reducing pollution and carbon emissions. These principals have been applied for the renovation of our largest store in Little Bourke st, Melbourne.

Q: How does Paddy Pallin handle its suppliers when it comes to the environment?
A: Sustainability is an important criterion in our choice of vendors and brand partners. Although Paddy Pallin cannot control the actions of its suppliers, we clearly favour those who are more eco-responsible.

Q: Is Paddy Pallin involved with any environmental organisations?
A: Yes, many. Here is a partial list of organisations that Paddy Pallin has supported over the years through the Don’t Bag the Environment Campaign and other programs: Save the Bilby Fund, Save the Grey Nurse Shark Fund, The WA Toad Muster, Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease research, the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, Bush Heritage Australia, Save the Blue Gum High Forest campaign, Save the Southern Brown Bandicoot campaign. In addition the Paddy Pallin Foundation annually provides grants to land holders to help preserve natural ecosystems and supports a scientific grant to aid research into environmental conservation and sustainability.

Q: What is the Paddy Pallin Foundation?
A: The Paddy Pallin Foundation is a charitable organisation established by the Pallin family. The objective of the foundation is to enable Paddy Pallin and its customers and friends to contribute to better conservation of the natural environment for future generations and the animals and plants that inhabit them. To find out more about the Paddy Pallin Foundation and its programs visit

Q: Can Paddy Pallin do more for the environment?
A: Yes, and we will. While we are proud of our actions in the environmental area, we are well aware there is much more to be done. We can never do enough when it comes to reducing our eco-footprint and supporting those working to protect our planet. When it comes to the environment, we are not yet where we would like to be but every effort counts. Each one of us must take responsibility and make a difference as there is no alternative if our earth, as we know it, is to be saved for future generations.

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Patagonia introduces ‘traceable down’.

traceable_down_videoIn Melbourne, the minute the temperature drops below about 15 degrees, it seems like half the town’s population pulls out their Katmandu puffy jacket. Down jackets seem to have made a come back in recent years. As a backcountry skier who spends a fair amount of time camping in our sometimes damp mountain conditions, I’m a big fan of my synthetic insulated jacket. It’s the layer you put on when you’ve built the platform and snow walls, put up the tent, and are just starting to cool down ahead of a long night huddling around a camp stove …

But a few years ago I bought a down jacket, and it’s a fantastic option for staying warm without adding much weight to your pack. I asked around at the time and was assured that Mountain Hardware had ‘ethical’ down. That is, it was produced as a side product of food production, and was not live picked. As a life long vegetarian, I’ll just quietly side step around the obvious dilemma of buying any kind of down jacket or sleeping bag …

I recently spotted the new social media campaign from Patagonia about their ‘traceable down’. There is a short animation that makes the issue clear, that traditional down can be cruel in that animals can be ‘live plucked’ and force feed. Patagonia has established a chain-of-custody supply chain so they can track the source of down they use in their products. They promise that the down produced is ‘Never Live-Plucked. Never Force-Fed’. They have introduced a code of conduct for producers they use, and have third party audits to ensure compliance.

If the down is then used in products such as jackets, it is marked with ‘Patagonia® 100% Traceable Down’. Patagonia says that from (northern hemisphere) autumn of 2014, all of the companies down products will only contain only 100% Traceable Down.

You can read about the process here.

You can see the Standard here.

And you can see the products here.

You can find a list of Patagonia stores in Australia here.



Change starts with a (Fair Trade) T-shirt

indexI haven’t as yet got around to doing a profile on Prana. Given that their clothing is becoming more available in Australia, it’s probably time to do a write up.

But until then, check this short piece about one person’s journey to understand what the notion of Fair Trade actually means. Following a tshirt to the very factory in the country that it was made in opened up a new world to Kelsey Timmerman.

He says:

“I believe there is a longing in our culture to connect things with people. It used to be that we knew the butcher, the baker, and the garment maker, but now our clothes, our food, and many of the other things we consume may come from countries we can’t even place on a map.

There are a lot of reasons more of us are shopping at farmers markets, but one of them is that we like our sweet corn to have a story. We serve the sweet corn to our guests alongside a story: “That’s from Bill’s off of 28. His farm has been in the family for three generations.”

Things with a good story are easier to consume”.

You can read his post here.

Patagonia Uses Reclaimed Cotton, Down and Wool for “Truth to Materials” Collection

Patagonia-Truth-Materials-01-630x420Patagonia gets featured on this site on a regular basis. This is simply because there are a lot of sustainability initiatives happening within the company.

The following is lifted directly from the Selectism website and was written by Jeff Carvalho.

Patagonia is taking the reclamation road, “reimagining the first stage of a product’s life” by thinking about how and where they source fabrics and textiles. The first steps into this reconsideration come in the form of “Truth to Materials,” a new collection by the outdoor maker. The initiative goes back to the factory floors across the globe to reclaim remnant textiles for repurposing: wools from Calamai mill in Italy, cotton TAL Group factories in China and Malaysia, and repurposed down from Alabama are just three examples of resourcing textiles back into Patagonia wears.

Patagonia “Truth to Materials” collection features an assortment of garments including undyed cashmere pullovers, wool jackets and many more. You can shop the new collection online.


Patagonia selling Fair Trade Certified clothing

The following update comes from Patagonia. Check their site for extra details.

1105X622_Fair-TradeIn an attempt to improve the lives of the workers who make our products, in May 2014 we began selling Fair Trade Certified™ apparel. Though we started small with 10 women’s sportswear styles sewn in three factories in India owned by Pratibha, this is a big move for our company.

Garment workers are paid some of the world’s lowest industrial wages and in many cases have little hope of getting ahead. Fair Trade can make a difference.

You’ve probably seen the Fair Trade label on some of the products you buy, but may be unclear as to what it actually stands for. With clothing, Fair Trade means apparel workers can improve their livelihoods and you get great products sewn with care.

Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit organization, is the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in North America. The organization first started working with coffee growers in Latin America 15 years ago to help them secure a fair price for their harvests. It has since expanded its program to include a variety of food products, body-care items, spirits and apparel.

Fair Trade USA works to improve the lives of farmers and factory workers around the world through trade, not aid. It uses a market-based approach that ensures workers receive fair compensation for their labor, helps create safe working conditions and safeguards against the use of child labor.

For every Fair Trade Certified item Patagonia buys from Pratibha, we pay a Community Development Premium determined by Fair Trade USA. The money goes into an account that is controlled by the workers who decide how best to use it. The funds are specifically designated for social, economic and environmental development projects. Workers may choose to use the money to distribute as a bonus, help build a school or a health clinic, create a scholarship or invest in some other aspect of their community.

All 4,000 workers in the factories that make our Fair Trade Certified clothing benefit from the funds, whether they work on Patagonia orders or not. The clothes are certified by Fair Trade USA for the sewing factory only – not the cotton growing or manufacture of the fabric. We intend to add 33 more styles in spring 2015, and also begin using Fair Trade Certified cotton. We hope to add more factories and farms in future seasons.

Today we have joined the ranks along with more than 800 brands that have returned some $155 million in premiums to producers through Fair Trade Certified products.

This initiative is one of several we’re taking to improve the lives of all people who make Patagonia products. As a first step, in early 2013, we also strengthened our code of conduct – which outlines responsible practices for our supply chain – to include a living-wage component and have implemented policies to consider the living-wage rate in our costing formulas. These efforts are part of short-, medium- and long-term strategies to address fair wages in our supply chain.

All of these programs begin to turn our commitment to workers into tangible action, enabling them to choose how they want to improve their lives. We have a long way to go and much to learn. Patagonia is proud to partner with Fair Trade USA and Pratibha in a program we hope we can build on.