More than 100 million people worldwide run outside. In a very basic sense, these runners need access to four things: great gear, fresh water to hydrate, clean air to breathe, and roads and trails to explore. We often say at Brooks that this planet is our playground, so it’s critical we help care for the world we share. Central to what we do every day is the belief that we live, work and run as part of a global community. So as we create gear and operate our global business, we are mindful of ways to minimize our environmental and social impacts and own up to the areas where we can do better.
On the environmental side, this week we launched the Brooks National Parks Collection with REI to celebrate and help protect the national parks runners love to explore and inspire people to get out and enjoy them. The collection includes a series of limited-edition Cascadia 12 shoes and Brooks shirts exclusive to REI that pay homage to national parks across the U.S. and benefit the National Park Foundation, which conserves outdoor spaces for use and enjoyment today and for future generations. The products look great and perform even better, but what I’m most excited about is that for every Brooks National Parks Collection T-shirt or pair of shoes purchased, Brooks will donate 5 percent of its revenue to the National Park Foundation (up to $50,000).
From a broader corporate responsibility perspective, in late July we issued our most recent “Running Responsibly” report that shares our annual environmental and social impacts from areas such as product design, materials, and manufacturing to community support and fair labor programs. While we have work to do in some areas, I’m pleased we’ve made progress in most. Just two examples:
- From 2015 to 2016, we dropped our greenhouse gas emissions by 44 percent. One way we achieved that was through a concerted effort to use shipping methods with a smaller greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint. We extended that initiative to our customers by giving them the option of choosing ground shipping from our distribution center when they purchase products on brooksrunning.com. Even though our online direct orders increased in 2016, total GHG emissions from those shipments decreased year over year by approximately 5 percent—or 94 metric tons of CO2e—thanks to consumers’ decisions to ship ground more often. Way to go!
- In 2016 our global headquarters building in Seattle became the first commercial development to achieve rigorous requirements of the city’s progressive Deep Green Pilot Program. Among other sustainable building goals, the program requires curbing energy and water usage by 75 percent and reusing 50 percent of captured rainwater compared to an average office building. A LEED Platinum and Energy Star certified building almost by default, employees used 79 percent less energy and 82 percent less water thanks to smart lighting and temperature control systems as well as behavioral changes like taking shorter showers and using stairs instead of the elevator.
Lastly, on behalf of Brooks I recently signed the Outdoor Industry Association’s open letter to our government in support of preserving the hundreds of thousands of acres conserved over the last two decades as National Monuments. According to preliminary reports issued by the Interior Department, these national public lands may be at risk of losing their Monument status and protection. We strongly believe it’s important to use our voice to help preserve the places where runners run.
So what’s our corporate responsibility end game? There isn’t one. Sure, we have focus areas and goals, but doing what’s right for people and the planet requires informed choices in a lifelong race. We’re running it, and we hope you’ll join us.