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The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

Archive for June, 2011

Between the Threads: Jamie talks Eco Index

Posted by leighann | June 21st, 2011 | Filed under Design Eye, Positive Change, Sustainability, Who We Are

ecoindex_imageThis week in The Thought Kitchen, we sit down with Jamie, our Director of Textile Development and Sustainability, to get the inside scoop on her collaborative efforts on the Eco Index, a new tool that will take the BS out of “green” and set an industry-wide standard in sustainability. For Nau, it will give us—and many other companies—a deeper understanding of our environmental impact and how we can make it better. Sounds too good to be true, but it’s already happening.

There’s lots of buzz about the Eco Index, but I’m still not sure what it is or how it works.
Jamie Bainbridge: Basically, it’s a grassroots effort that was started about three-and-a-half years ago by the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) to help create a tool that would give companies a deeper understanding of the environmental impact of their products. About 100 member companies of OIA, Nau being one of them, came together in an industry-wide collaborative effort to build an open source, business-to-business tool that would evaluate a product’s overall environmental impact.

Wow. That sounds like a lot of work.
It is. But that’s not all. Last year, the world’s largest apparel companies—like Walmart and Target and others representing up to 50% of the apparel world—formed the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and approached OIA to join efforts in building a larger, more comprehensive tool that would be scalable for both small and large companies. So, ultimately, we had to find consensus from a long list of participants.

But, keep in mind, we are creating an industry-wide tool based on shared values of sustainability and conservation, the same values that have driven the outdoor industry since the beginning. And we are creating a common language across supply chains and manufacturing so that everyone is judged by the same standards.

It’s great in theory, but how does it work?
A product will be evaluated across its product lifecycles using the lenses of land use, water, waste, greenhouse gases and energy. Of course, this is a lot to think about, especially for companies just beginning the process, so we suggest starting with one aspect of your business, like packaging and integrating these small changes into your everyday business.

Makes sense, but what’s Nau got to do with this massive undertaking? And how is it going to affect the way things are run around here?
Well, I’ve been deep in the trenches of developing the content of the tool alongside my colleagues from REI, Patagonia, Timberland, Columbia, North Face and Mountain Equipment Co-op. And, essentially, it will allow us to have a deeper level of understanding of our products so that we’re always improving, progressing and evaluating the way thing are done. It’s going to allow us to make forward progress with our goals in sustainability, goals that we had no way to quantify before.

So we’re all going to be on the same playing field? Nau, Nike, REI and Walmart?
Yep, we will all be asking the same questions.

But this is a B2B tool, so what does it mean for the consumer?
For businesses, it will allow transparency in the way products are designed and built. For consumers, it’s a building block that allows them to trust our brand. And who knows, in time, it might just become a consumer-facing label.

And when is the debut of this ground-breaking tool?
Hopefully, we will pilot the tool in September using some of our own key products to evaluate the tool and give feedback before its official launch.

So this is really happening?
Oh yeah. You better believe it.

Next month, in part two of our three-part-series, we’ll take a deeper dive into the Eco Index and find out how a few of our key styles size up when put to the test.

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Weekend Wisdom

Posted by Rick | June 17th, 2011 | Filed under Design, Who We Are

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A few quotes we stumbled upon—or should we say tumbled upon—on our Tumblr travels this week. Lovely words to live by. Have a nice weekend!

The Camera Steals the Soul, Part 2: Surf in Cinema

Posted by Rick | June 13th, 2011 | Filed under Art, Who We Are

Well, it’s about time we picked this theme back up again: Hollywood’s ability to suck the stoke out of a sport by making a cheesy movie about it. When we first conceived this idea for a blog series, it was winter (a few years ago) and we focused on skiing. Now that summer is almost here and the beaches are filling up again with weekend warriors, it seems like the right time to tackle the surf movie genre.

We picked the first movies that came to mind (we’re sure a few are missing), and the hardest part was determining if the flick was actually good or bad—or so bad it was good. So we came up categories that leave room for interpretation. Click on each title for a totally radical clip!

THE GNARLY
Gidget
Beach Blanket Bingo
Ride the Wild Surf
Point Break
Blue Crush
Blue Crush 2
Blue Juice
In God’s Hands
Surfer, Dude

THE SICK
Surf Nazi’s Must Die
Surf’s Up
The North Shore
Big Wednesday

What are we missing? Let us know in the comments below!

KEEP CALM & STAY OUT OF THE BIKE LANE

Posted by Rick | June 10th, 2011 | Filed under Bikes, Outdoor Sport

In New York City, a cyclist got a ticket for riding outside of the bike lane and decided to make a movie showing why it’s often necessary to do so. He was fined $50 for his infraction and he really, really wants his money back, so much so that he decided to smash into anything blocking the bike lane to prove his point. This guy has got to be a stuntman because there is no way that anybody in their right mind would pull these kinds of shenanigans without wearing a helmet.

As a side-note, according to the video, it’s not even illegal to ride outside the bike lane anyway. Did he prove his point or simply trash his body and beach cruiser for internet views?

Weigh in!

SEE THE LIGHT: TOMS EYEWEAR

Posted by Rick | June 8th, 2011 | Filed under Compassionate Capitalism, Positive Change, Sustainability


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Toms revealed their new One for One™ product yesterday: Sunglasses. We’ve always been big supporters of the Toms mission and the aesthetic of their simple shoes, so the idea of buying a pair of shades and helping a person with a vision disability sounds great to us. The models are as versatile and classic as the footwear line, and we really love the simple brand identifier on the arm of the glasses—painted lines, which almost bring to mind resin-dip paint jobs on surfboards. The design, according to company founder Blake Mycoskie, will remind the wearer that she has help a person in need to be able to see. Our favorite pair is the Classic 101, shown above.

Well done, Toms!