Tuesday, 19 June 2007

NEWS: Ethical socks

As Al Gore plans his Live Earth gigs, and asks the world to respond to climate change, the outdoor industry is beginning to look at self and respond. While Patagonia still lead the way, and few other companies appear to be making a big commitment, there are some bright lights if inspiration that may start to change the carbon footprint of the outdoor industry.
Teko socks are not yet available in the UK, but they are already being talked about across the waters and may soon appear on this side of the pond. Jim Heiden, founder of Teko, has over 35 years of Outdoor Industry experience in marketing, product development, and company management. His experience and knowledge made him certain that making high performance outdoor products didn't have to leave a heavy ecological impact.

Using only quality fibers, sound manufacturing processes, and recycled materials for packaging, Jim wanted to ensure that his products were safe for the environment. With that, Teko™ was born. Sustainability is one of the core values of Teko. In terms of products and manufacturing, sustainability means a product can be assembled, taken apart, and put together again without needing extra parts or sacrificing quality and purity. A great example of their focus is using Ecopoly recycled polyester in their socks. Using recycled material is essential to sustainability. The more we use Ecopoly to replace fresh, more toxic materials, the lower the environmental impact.

It is Teko's belief that by heading in this direction that they will set a positive example that our ecosystem doesn't have to be compromised for high performance apparel. In fact, nothing would thrill Teko more than if "the least environment impact" became an essential part of product competition. This would be the start of transforming the industry into a more sustainable trade.

Teko recognizes that our #1 contributor to green house gases in the atmosphere is the way the electricity we use gets produced. So they've purchased enough wind energy credits to ensure that 100% of the electricity used in manufacturing and operations get put back into the energy grid from clean, sustainable American Wind. They also strive to Reduce, recycle, reuse and are minimizing the amount of packaging needed for our products. They use chipboard, which is a unique product made from recycled materials. In a previous life, chipboard may have been a cardboard box, newspaper, paper bags or any other general paper product. Teko packaging is 100% recyclable.

Teko are a welcomed addition to the outdoor industry and indicate the way forward as companies look to have the edge, where the edge may be determined by how green a brand is rather than purely how well their gear performs.

For more information go to Tekosocks

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Reviewed by Graham Thompson