It’s been just over one year since PEARL iZUMi officially introduced its Social Purpose pledge: Ride more, do more. The company-wide effort is a homegrown initiative inspired by our team’s desire to leverage the power of the bike and our global business to create positive change worldwide. And it is already reshaping our company in big ways.
Now that we’re at the one-year mark, we’re happy to report that we’re ahead of schedule, though we still have a lot of work to do. Across the board, we’ve surpassed our targeted goals. Here are some highlights in terms of the initial challenges and how we overcame them.
Challenge: Create more sustainable products
Year One Goal: In mid-2018, we committed to making 30% of the entire product line from recycled, renewable or organic materials by 2020.
2019 Status: Accomplished!
How We’re Doing It: This was a big push over the past year. We developed over 70 new fabrics and redesigned more than 100 styles. Heading into 2020, PEARL iZUMi’s Road, Mountain, and BikeStyle® collections will all feature significant use of recycled materials. It’s important to note that although the source of the material is different, the final fabrics are identical in feel and performance to fabrics made from virgin material. We’re especially excited to introduce an update to our best-selling Attack jerseys and shorts, which not only have improved design and fit but are now made with recycled content. We’re also incorporating more natural fibers like Merino wool and organic cotton where they can deliver real benefits to the rider.
Challenge: Incorporate more sustainable business practices
Year One Goal: Minimize resource use across all operations.
2019 Status: Big strides! By the end of 2019, we’re on track to have reduced annual paper use by 19,400 pounds (that’s 206 trees!). We will have used 84,882 fewer gallons of water and eliminated the need for 5,614 gallons of oil. We’re repurposing warranty products, and we’re optimizing our energy-efficient headquarters.
How We’re Doing It: We can attribute the permanent resource reduction to re-thinking our packaging and seasonal catalogs. We redesigned and radically limited our product hangtags, one area where the outdoor industry tends to go overboard. For our dealers, we transitioned to a digital merchandising platform and eliminated paper catalogs. (We’re not immune to the charms of Marie Kondo!)
All PEARL iZUMi products have a lifetime warranty and we expect them to have a long and adventurous life, but sometimes something goes wrong with a stitch or a zipper. We’ve partnered with The Renewal Workshop to repair warranty returns, and these items are now “renewed” and sold at incredible deals.
We’re proud to have been recognized in late 2018 by our hometown of Louisville, CO for our commitment to environmentally sustainable practices as a business. We earned a gold-level Green Business Award, which confirmed that we are moving in the right direction.
On a global scale, we were the first cycling apparel or footwear brand to utilize the Higg Index for environmental reporting, a sustainability index. This is an industry tool that measures the comprehensive social and environmental impacts of making apparel and footwear. By transparently sharing processes with other brands worldwide, we have the opportunity to accelerate the widespread adoption of the most sustainable practices.
Challenge: Empower and Encourage the PEARL iZUMi Team to Ride More
Year One Goal: Expand our ride to work program.
2019 Status: Improved the bike to work incentive program and removed some of the friction of bike commuting.
How We’re Doing It: We strengthened our “Go carless” initiative by rewarding employees with credits redeemable for gear or as a contribution to our “Go grants” program (see below). Every mile we commute earns a credit that can be spent on purchasing gear or donating to the program. Our choice.
It doesn’t matter how bike crazy an office is, commuting has enough challenges that it can be hard to convince people to give it a try – or stick with it. So we’ve instituted a Commuter Ride Assistance Program, which allows employees to expense rideshare services when a family emergency, severe weather, or catastrophic breakdown blows up a bike commute. It removes one of the worries of committing to ride.
Year One Goal: This kick-off year was about learning what our community needs, listening to our colleagues, and prioritizing how we could best be of service under the “Ride more, do more” mantra.
2019 Status: Launched the Go grants program and introduced Advocacy Time Off.
How We’re Doing It: Locally, we will empower grassroots bike organizations aligned with our Social Purpose with money and volunteers, through the new Go grants program. A key part of this effort is getting our team personally involved, so to support our employees drive to further the work of these partner organizations, we’ve introduced Advocacy Time-Off, which encourages employees to take two days of paid leave per year to volunteer with the Go grant recipients.
Challenge: The Year Ahead
We’re one year in and continuing to innovate with product, business practices, and advocacy. We believe how we live today affects how future generations ride, so we will continue to ride more, do more. We hope you join us on the road ahead!