Initiators of Change | 
Six Companies Driving Sustainability

Kelsey Smith, Kailee Bradstreet


EcoSeas Wetsuit & Coconut Boardshorts


How it’s sustainable…

1. Naturalprene | Replacing neoprene with an all-natural rubber foam harvested from rubber trees. 

2. AquaA  | Water-based solvent-free, lamination glue free from harmful chemicals.

3. Upcycled Ultraspan | A water repellent, fast-drying jersey made from recycled plastic bottles. The recycled jersey replaces your normal, petroleum-based fabrics found in your average wetsuit. 


Vissla came out with their coconut boardshort in 2015. They used a process called Cocotex, transferring excess coconut husk waste into fabric. The fabrication blend – coconut husk and polyester – turns out to have the same durability, stretch, breath, and odor control properties as any other boardshort on the market, but the result is an activated carbon fabric that eliminates excess waste on the environment. They also used Repreve certified yarns on this product making it one sustainable boardshort! 


Bloom Foam’s Algae-Made Traction Pads 


Firewire worked with Bloom Foam to create a sustainable alternative to the average flexible, petrochemical foam that’s currently on the market. The result is an algae foam for Firewire’s traction pads. Bloom Foam is made from pond scum algae sourced from freshwater habitats in high-risk of negative algal blooms – a process that helps to equalize the ecosystem and protect the animal and plant life in the area. 

“This is in line with a consistent theme for us, developing quality products in friendlier forms. The traction feels insane and is also a small but simple solution for seemingly unconnected industries to utilize byproduct. I’m stoked on this initiative because surfers use so many traction pads throughout their lives. ” —Kelly Slater

“I think you’ve got to be committed to ‘doing the right thing’ today and believing that the bulk of the economic rewards will happen down the road. Whereas if you wait until the economic rewards are without risk, you won’t be able to pivot fast enough.” —Firewire CEO Mark Price on sustainable innovation


Fair Trade Manufacturing & Plant-Based, Yulex Wetsuits

“Neoprene is nasty stuff, but for a long time
we had no alternative. With Yulex we’ve invested in a plant-based game-changer and built it into our entire wetsuit line – saying goodbye to neoprene forever.” – Hub Hubbard, Product Line Manager, Wetsuits 

new plant-based material pioneered by Yulex is sourced from a hevea plantation that is independently certified to the FSC standard by the Rainforest Alliance, ensuring that products are produced using environmentally responsible practices.

Patagonia sources Fair Trade certified garments. By Fall 2017, more than 30% of Patagonia’s styles will be Fair Trade certified. 

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100% Sustainable Surf Resort, Nadroga-Navosa Fiji

Matanivusi has five levels of approved sustainability through their STOKE Certification – ranging from management to social, cultural, environmental, and economic impacts on the community. 

In 2014, Matanivusi became the first surf resort in the world to have STOKE Certification. Their efforts to gain this STOKE Certification

required Matanivusi to take a deeper look at the details, evaluating what, exactly, it took to make every aspect of the resort sustainable.

Matanivusi worked with an architect to create what’s called a Passive Solar Design to avoid AC and excessive lighting indoors; they strategically set up rainwater collection tanks throughout the resort to collect fresh water, as well as burying Biolytix Wastewater systems underground that covert wastewater to use as irrigation and natural fertilizer for the gardens. The crew setup over 120 rooftop solar panels and additional battery support to power the resort as well as their neighbors. In the first year, the solar panels reduced Matanivusi’s CO2 emissions by 69% and saved the resort nearly $60,000.  

The resort goes by the mantra “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” and, year-over-year, strives to build upon their environmental and socio-economic projects.   


Kering Creates an EP&L: Environmental Profit & Loss Statement

Volcom’s Repreve Mod-Tech Boardshort

“Kering [Volcom’s parent company] has really set an extremely high bar for environmental issues. They created an EP+L (Environmental Profit and Loss) for us [Volcom] to really gauge how we’re doing and where the impacts are to the environment at every stage in the manufacturing process. Through our EP+L, we found the largest portions of the environment that are affected are further back in the manufacturing process. This is where the potentially dangerous chemicals are used, the largest amount of land use gets used, etc. We’ve identified the areas that are affecting the environmental footprint and now we’re able to properly vet our partners in the manufacturing process and the production of the raw materials according to those findings. Kering has a goal to not use harmful chemicals in any of the manufacturing of our products by 2020. We’re doing a lot of experimentation with removing all those chemicals from the process and manufacturing really quality and more environmentally friendly products.” – Oren Tanzer, Volcom’s Global Snow Marketing Director 

| Bureo Skateboards |

Net Positiva Recycling 

Bureo partners with fishing villages in Chile to collect excess fishing nets that are polluting the coastline. Those nets are the raw materials used to create skateboard decks. 

The Story Teller Series: Sustainability