Patagonia are known as a pioneering environmental outdoor company; from their 1% for the planet, personal activism, financial support of environmental causes, use of recycled and organic materials, the list goes on and on (read more). They've been green since Yvon Chouinard started the company in 1972.
Another Californian company, prAna (website) are also leading the way with efforts to reduce their impact on soils, water supplies and other natural resources by their use of organic materials, they are a member of the Organic Trade Association, and the off-setting of their business (and personal) carbon footprint by their support of wind power, what they call their Natural Power Initiative that they introduced in 2005. This year prAna has added 100 European and 50 Canadian retailers to the 250 US retailers already participating, and they also support wind farms in China and India. They claim that this will prevent the emission of 22,112 metric tons of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere (the equivalent of removing 4,787 cars from the road for one year).
Sure, the above efforts are good for marketing and the image of a company (everyone it seems is jumping on the environmental bandwagon) but they do make a real difference to the world.
It must be difficult for the manufacturers of the climbing hardware that we use, there's no escaping mining metals and using lots of energy to fashion a karabiner or a cam. But there are others ways of helping the environment one step at a time and Wild Country (website), the UK-based 'cam company' have made a stride in that direction; you will now no longer be able to find their print catalogue, like many companies they have now gone totally online, with a product website, and have replaced their print catalogue with a downloadable version.
As well as the actual cost saving, Marketing Manager Richie Patterson explains the other benefits, "Print catalogues can be so wasteful, in time, money and environmental resources. Often people who want them don't get them and they can sit in stores getting trashed to nobody's benefit. In this way, online, whoever wants it can download it quickly and easily, and then it's their choice to print it or not."
Martin Atkinson, Managing Director of Wild Country calls this downloadable catalogue a Webalogue, "It is tempting to try and put a glossy brochure in peoples hands to show our gear; overall it doesn't stack up. In the end a 'Webalogue' is more efficient, adaptable, updatable and much more environmentally friendly. Our Webalogue allows climbers to get a flavour of our gear and then, if they wish, view it and try it 'in the flesh' at a climbing shop."
Do you know of any other environmental efforts by climbing companies? Get in touch or add to the discussion.