December 25, 2008

Sustainable Retail Therapy: the Arbor Bamboo Snowboard.

Winter got you down? Feeling left out in the cold while the world dines happily inside, all cozy and romantic and warm? Do therapy American-style: go buy something. But, this being elephant journal, the home of giving-a-shiite-about-our-effect-on-the-planet, make your consumerism ‘conscious.’ Sustainable. Responsible. And so, get your snowboard and fight global warming, too.

The above is Alex, our video master’s new board: “The company is Arbor and they were at Eco Gift in 2007 which my sister shot and interviewed [for elephant journal]. Sorta a funny little thing. Eco sustainable bamboo!”


What’s eco about Arbor? According to the horse’s mouth, their web site:

January 22nd, 2008 – Since 1995, Arbor’s designs have been ecologically based, and for most of that time, the only environmentally friendly alternative available. Through the years, a lot of people have looked at what we do and thought – “tree-huggers.” We never fought the label too much – after all, the goal from the start was to do right by the planet. Yet, anyone who expected us fit the stereotype, was in for a surprise. This company is about riding – and a modern approach to environmental thinking; an approach that, today, is being embraced by the surf/skate/snow industry as a whole. Funny how times have changed. 

Many of us who snowboard, skate, or surf are helping change the face of environmentalism. The hardest kid you know might be eco-minded to his core. You don’t have to broadcast it to live it – It’s not about identity, it’s about choice. A lot of companies have realized this and are finally looking past the mold and seeing just how many environmentally aware customers are out here. As a result, they’ve decided it’s time to get “green.” Good – whatever the motivation, their efforts are positive. 

For us though, you can’t just be green for green’s sake. If that were the case, we’d all be wearing hemp underwear. People expect style and performance. Arbor’s job is to find the environmentally friendly, natural materials that can be developed into “eco-technologies” that deliver value. It is possible to replace harmful, man-made components with natural materials and create better made, better looking, better performing products. That’s what we do. 

In the end, if all the green “hype” turns out to be just another trend – Arbor will still be here doing our thing. Why? Like most of our customers, time spent riding gives us a direct understanding of what’s at stake. Protecting the planet is not about some place you see on TV – it’s about the environments we utilize everyday. We all need clean air to skate, clean water to surf, and snow to ride. 
To that end, we will continue to source our eco-technologies in a sustainable manner; donate to groups working to protect and restore the planet (we gave 5% of our profits last year to the Nature Conservancy for their efforts in Hawaii); and develop future products using the same conscious approach to design that has defined the Arbor tradition.

Arbor’s long-standing assertion is that solutions to many of today’s most difficult snow, skate, and apparel design challenges exist in the natural world. Since 1995, we’ve built Arbor around this belief – replacing, environmentally harmful materials with ecologically based, natural alternatives. The goal is to create a higher level of function and relevance, in the most responsible way possible. The result has been improved style and performance, with significantly reduced environmental impact. Through it all, Arbor has remained a rider owned and operated company. After 12 years of hard work developing and distributing the greener option – we’re proud to be known as the pioneer of ecologically-driven, rider-oriented design. In the end, it is our unique approach that has allowed Arbor to develop an independent voice and arrive at today’s fusion of green innovation and expanded environmental awareness. As we look to the future – a commitment to the original mission will continue to drive the brand: develop products using the conscious approach to design that has defined the Arbor tradition; always source the most sustainable materials, improving our products without damaging the environment; donate to groups working to protect and restore the planet.
We donate to groups working to protect and restore the planet. Last year we gave 5% of our profits to the Nature Conservancy’s Hawaiian-based efforts. We’ve also supported: The Surfrider Foundation, Rainforest Action Network, & American Forests.
Catalogs, Dealer Kits, Mailers, Posters We print exclusively on recycled paper stock that is made from 50% pre-consumer fiber and 25% post-consumer fiber.
Catalogs, Dealer Kits, Mailers, Posters Soy inks are much more sustainable to produce. Compared to petroleum based inks, soy inks are better for the environment, especially the air. Soy inks also make our catalogs more biodegradable and easier to recycle.
Arbor buys wind credits to completely offset our fossil fuel based electrical needs at our headquarters in Venice, CA.
Retail Shop Offices, POP Racks Built with as much sustainable materials as possible including: bamboo, recycled wood, and reclaimed materials from snowboard and skate production.
All the trash generated at Arbor is collected by a company that sorts and recycles anything that is recyclable

There’s plenty of other options out there. Here’s another, with thanks for the tip to our virtual friends over at GreenUpgrader.

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