ENVIRONMENTAL & SOCIAL POLICY
At NZSHRED, we are aware of our considerable impact on the environment, both on a professional and personal level. Whether it's us as individuals travelling this beautiful country and further afield, utilising our vehicles, skifield chairlifts, planes, helicopters, or simply the impact of our own personal consumption ... whether it's the food we eat, the clothes we wear or the toys we play with ... whether it's in our business, with the lighting & heating, freighting of product, the bagging of purchases, or down to the actual creation of the product we sell.
We endeavour to address these issues in a number of ways. All are significant, however ranging form the highly measureable to actions which would seem to have little more impact than a raindrop falling:
- Where possible, we try to avoid carbon emissions by cycling and walking to work, as well as chosing to somedays go splitboarding on the ski fields, as a means of transport. When travelling to the ski fields, we offer seats in our wagons, so as to spreading the impact amongst a greater number of humans, and hopefully in the long run, reduce the number of vehicles making the trip.
- With regards to food consumption, we try to eat locally grown and hunted (for the non-vegan staff) produce, as well as working with product seasonality to reduce import pressures. Throughout the summer months, we shop weekly at the local Remarkables Farmers Market, as well as sharing extra product gained from our gardens.
- Individually, we are members of charities such as: Amnesty International, Action Aid, Medicins Sans Frontier, PETA2 andGreenpeace. From a shop aspect, we are members of Surfrider Foundation and Protect Our Winters.
- We carry a small, however eclectic range of Books instore. You will find the selection is quite topical, as well as some that will challenge the mainstream views and educate us regarding the envirnoment, politics and economics.
- Even down to the products we personally purchase ... not just what they are made of, but how they are made. Buying good quality products can be an investment in something that will last longer - just check out Jase's wardrobe (pre-vintage, and screams of his hippie Byron days).
You will notice a number of 'special edition' products in store, from brands such as Spy, NSP, Volcom, 686 and Metal Mulisha; where a special donation will be made to selected charities such as Boarding for Breat Cancer and the Surfrider Foundation, or special social causes, usually aimed at helping the communities that produce these products. If you look carefully (or ask one of us) you will also find an increasing amount of Bluesign Approved products in store, as well as bags and clothing made from sustainable or recycled materials. It is amazing how soft a T-Shirt made from bamboo or recycled bottles can be! Often, it is the details such as organic wax, non-petrol based chemicals or non-animal based glues that can make the difference.
From a community perspective, we regularly support local events and groups, where we often provide prizes for local schools, events and The Youth Booth. We are active in the community sports arena as well; with our own NZSHRED Ice Hockey Team in the local social league, as well as providing support and product for the Queenstown Mountain Bike Club events. Internally, we have been sponsoring a young local snowboarder/skateboarder for the past 2 years. We find this an integral part of our store psyche and look to continue this work supporting youth into the future. When we do use our vehicles, they are fueled using Skeggs Foundation MobilCard account. Using this system sees a contribution go to supporting and furthering elite athletes in Otago, performing on both a regional and national level.
NZSHRED teamed up with I Ride I Recycle, Art of Board and Tuggeranong Arts Centre, to help facilitate the Deck Artworkshop and exhibition in the A.C.T., Australia. As an ongoing project, NZSHRED will have a Recycle Your Deck box instore throughout the year, taking skaters old worn and broken decks, which are then posted over to Australia and distributed to youth in the program, to create into art pieces for the annual exhibition.
We are acutely aware of the impact that packaging has on the environment we live and play in. It may seem like small steps, but these must be taken, before the big ones can be. We try to minimise our waste by getting our takeaway coffees in reuseable thermal mugs. Cardboard boxes arriving at NZSHRED with product in, are first put outside the store, with a sign inviting people to take them and re-use, before what's left is sent off for recycling. It is imperative that we re-use whatever we can, whether it be stuffing backpacks and luggage with excess plastic packaging, posting website purchases away in re-used boxes & post packs, or even down to saving hooks on caps & beanies to re-use.
Our energy footprint is also important to us. We use fluorescent and LED lights wherever possible, and these are turned off every evening. We make a point of only filling the kettle for the amount of water that is needed for the relevant number of beverages and we use refill packs for kitchen detergent and bathroom cleaners.
The obvious problem for any shop is bags! Whilst we support the notion of charging for supermarket bags (as this is a pre-meditated purchase), often for our customers it is not and so it seems justified for them to expect that we supply a way for them to carry their purchase. We do however, always ask if the customer requires a bag ... and have been pleasantly surprised with the increase number of people who's reply is "Nar, let's save the world". In store, we currently have three bag types: we are using up old stock from the previous owner of 'degradable plastic bags'. We also have a good quality 're-use type' bag, that are great for grocery shopping. And finally, we are now moving towards our newest bags, which are recycled paper.
NZSHRED is also aware that quietly doing what we can is just not enough. No-one enjoys being lectured, however from a shop policy point-of-view, purchases will always coincide with the question of "Do you need a bag?". We also question and hassle our suppliers about their impact. Too often boxes arriving with product are half empty and numerous products are over-packaged. Extra packaging, extra boxes, extra freight doesn't make any sense for them or us. We are only small, so our voice is small, however still significant, just as everyone's is. Collectively, people and businesses can have a huge effect. A lot of companies are trying to improve their policies just as we are, sometimes through their personal beliefs, however more often due to consumer pressure. Brands such as Jones, I Ride Sideways, Sanuk, 686 and Burton are leading the way with their environmental and social policies. We are seeing more environmentally friendly materials being used, clothing from recycled bottles and bamboo, giving away products to those in need, and avoiding the sweatshop mentality.
We are aware we are far from perfect, and so are the companies we deal with. However, we are trying to walk this path in the right direction. Given this, we will implement a few new policies:
- 1% of pre-tax or 10% of after-tax profits will be donated to The Surfrider Foundation and/or Protect Our Winters (POW), whichever amount is greater.
- We will only purchase recycled bags designed to be re-used, to supply to customers purchasing from the store.
- We are a member of Protect Our Winters, and will be making an annual donation.
- We are a member of The Surfider Foundation, and will be making an annual donation.
- We will seek out and continue to support the brands and product that reflect our environmental and our social views.
- When possible, we will support 'local' (specifically, New Zealand and Australian) brands, and focus more on core and smaller, fledgling brands. We are already working with brands such as 3CS, Knut, IRS, Ootz, Globe, Ocean & Earth and Huss.
- We will continue to question and press our suppliers to improve their actions and provide us with transparency and updated information regarding their practices.
As we said, NZSHRED is not perfect! We live and work in a very comfortable part of the world. As retailers, we are certainly not hypocritical or trying to commit business suicide by asking people not to consume anything. We are just doing what we can to lessen the impact of ourselves ... and would love everyone to do the same. We definitely welcome any questions and/or suggestions. This is no longer a case of wanting to do the right thing. The human impact on the environment has gone beyond the point where we won't be effected. All we can do now is try to slow this change down. The changes to the environment are casuing more extreme weather, often affecting those who have made little contribution and are not in a position to adapt to the changes as easily as we in the richer, more developed world can. But, even from a selfish perspective, for anyone that loves the outdoors and wants it to still be there for everyones enjoyment in 20, 50, 100 years, whatever your sport: surf, snow, mountains, rivers, forests, all of these will be affected in the future. All we can do now is try to change our actions to lessen our impact.
“What's the use of a fine house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?”
― Henry David Thoreau
Jase John & Jon Wilson
Owners of NZSHRED