Quality Goes Above and Beyond for SustainabilityPosted by Carla Bamesberger | 01.20.2016
Within my first day, I learned about Jax’s dedication to environmental and social sustainability. This dedication goes beyond their extensive recycling program or donations to support communities throughout Fort Collins. Jax also strives to carry products from brands that optimize sustainability in every aspect of their production. It can be difficult to identify these companies. Many of them mention terms such as “ZQ certified” or “featuring the bluesign® system” on their tags without boasting about their efforts. Others don’t mention anything at all unless you visit their websites. Understanding which products come from sustainable companies can help you choose the most responsibly sourced high-quality gear and clothing to outfit yourself with.
What is Sustainability?
The most common use of the word sustainability refers to environmental responsibility. Companies using solar or hydropower, making efforts to recycle and use recycled materials, or other practices that do not harm the environment get this recognition.
Although protecting nature is important, especially for outdoor enthusiasts whose recreation depends on nature, this is not the only aspect of sustainability. Essentially, it refers to thoughtfully using environmental, human, and economic resources without depleting, diminishing, or weakening them.
A company can achieve environmental sustainability a number of different ways. Some outfit their factories with renewable energy sources. Dale of Norway uses hydroelectric power to run part of their production in order to cut down on pollution.
Others use recycled materials, or make sure that they harvest or grow their materials responsibly. Smartwool buys their merino wool from ZQ certified ranchers in New Zealand who take care of their sheep and grazing land following strict guidelines.
Defining social sustainability is a little bit trickier. Social sustainability occurs when procedures support a high quality of life for future generations. Many people consider companies that give back to the community through donations or events, provide benefits to employees, have equality-based policies, and avoid damaging the community as socially responsible. In short, these companies create a positive impact on the people and communities around them.
Life is Good, for example, donates 10% of its net profits to supporting children. Donations go to schools, hospitals, social service agencies, and enrichment programs in order to positively impact the lives of local children.
Economically sustainable companies use their financial resources in a manner that supports continued operation and growth. When it comes to the production of goods, this often refers to paying a fair wage. Corporate companies often build factories overseas for cheaper labor. Because of this, many people consider companies with U.S.-based factories such as DarnTough to be more economically sustainable because they create jobs in the U.S. and pay fair wages.
Off-shore factories does not always mean that a company is not economically sustainable, however. Carhartt built factories in Mexico and China, where they create a majority of their products. They make sure that these people receive fair wages and benefits, making Carharrt economically responsible. Similarly, Osprey has a factory in Vietnam. The owner of the company went to live in Vietnam during the construction and oversaw the first few years of operation to ensure fair wages and working conditions.
Keep an eye on the Jax blog for more blogs detailing the specific companies that Jax carries who work hard to ensure a brighter future. To learn more about the sustainable products that Jax proudly carries, please stop by a Jax location near you.