When working on this article I had a hard time figuring out how I wanted to present this subject; no-one wants to read yet another article about how their company is helping “save” the environment. We as consumers are inundated with companies trying to tell us they are more environmentally responsible than their competitors and that they can do no wrong. Well aware of this challenge and, with writers block firmly established, I decided to just jump in and see what came of it.
My first instinct was to start the article acknowledging Board and Bolt’s own contribution to deforestation as a company. Despite doing our due diligence to ensure our materials come from suppliers that source materials sustainably, almost all of our furniture is made out of wood, wood comes from trees and the trees on our planet are fast disappearing. I consulted with several people to get a gut check and see what their thoughts were on this approach. Most, if not all, said it was a bad idea. “Stick with the positive” they would say, or, “it’s best to not acknowledge your contribution to the problem”.
When I thought about it, it certainly made sense: Are people not going to not buy a desk from a company that acknowledges a negative impact on the environment? The answer was: It’s entirely possible. But then I thought about Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia who recently announced he was giving his company away to fight climate change. Yvon regularly admits that his company has an impact on the environment. The difference is that Patagonia owns up to it and goes above and beyond by offsetting those impacts to make the world a better place.
In order to do our part, Board & Bolt has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation, the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees. With 50 years and 500 million trees under their belt, it seemed like a logical choice for us. With our donations, we not only offset the number of trees we use but our donations go to the planting of an additional 5 trees per week.
So, yes, we make our desks out of a finite resource. But because of this, we are compelled not to just say that we are environmentally responsible but BE environmentally responsible. Thanks for the leadership, Yvon!