Derek Sabori On Volcom’s New Environmental Profit & Loss Reporting & Pipe Pro’s Deep Blue Designation

Volcom, who has long been a leader in the industry in pushing sustainability efforts, is raising the bar for itself and integrating its environmental impacts throughout its operations by creating its first ever Environmental Profit & Loss (EP&L) statement for its 2012 activities.

The EP&L is similar to a traditional P&L statement but it incorporates accounting methods for all the non-economic impacts of its operations in an effort to better undertand the effects of its activities and provide a true measuring stick for the company beyond traditional financial metrics, allowing the company to measure its progress towards its new sustainabily-focused mission statement.

In conjunction with SustainableSurf.org, Volcom has also announced that its Volcom Pipe Pro contest has attained Deep Blue Surfing Event status, making it only the second event to do so after the Volcom Fiji Pro, and has released a new documentary, Volcom Pipe Pro: Sustainable By Design, by Nathan Peracciny, highlighting what makes the event different, and how it will hopefully become the industry standard.

On the eve of these major announcements guiding the company’s progressing mindset in this realm, we caught up with Derek Sabori, Volcom’s senior director of sustainability to learn more.

Your new Environmental Profit & Loss statement sounds like a huge step forward. Is this similar to examining a triple bottom line for the company? How will the findings be used compared to traditional financial metrics to steer the company?

Specifically, the Environmental Profit & Loss (EP&L) is a means of accounting for the "externalities" that our business creates. Things like air pollution, GHG emissions, water use, water waste, and land use…think about it. Businesses don't incorporate these 'free' services into decision-making but it is imperative they start to.  The EP&L will help us assign a monetary value to the impacts our business creates along our entire supply chain and will help us to "internalize" those costs. We can then account for them, recognize where our 'costs' are high, and put plans in place to reduce them and get things in line.

When will the first EP&L be released and how are you going about putting it together?

We're on track with implementing our E P&L which will ultimately be included as part of the Kering Group E P&L across all Kering's Luxury and Sport & Lifestyle brands which is being publishing in 2016. As for mechanics of it: It's a process, and there's a team of about 6 in Paris and 6 here in the US working on it. We're partnering with a core group of our suppliers, digging into their/our supply chain and then assessing what kind of impacts are attributed to our business every step of the way.

The great thing about our relationship with Kering is that they are truly steering this project and providing resources and guidance to get it done. The team there is so sharp and they're doing such great work…this is just one of the many projects we are able to work together with them on.

How do you expect this to affect change at the company from supply chain to end products and how it will be used to set goals? How will it help make Volcom a more efficient and strategic organization?

It's a culture change. It will force us to stop and ask about each material we choose, each supplier we choose, each process we choose…When you list everything out and assess it all, you very quickly realize the opportunities for efficiency gains. Many of the findings are things that we've known and have discussed anecdotally, but to see them in report form – that really causes you to have a second look and then take action.

Tell us a bit about the goals of your three-year environmental plan.

By 2016, we have goals, which include:

  • Reduce the company's carbon emissions, waste and water usage by 25%

  • Ensuring there is no PVC in any of our collections

  • Source paper and packaging items sustainably from recycled sources and/or certified well-managed forests

  • Increase the amount of sustainable materials and processes in all our product mixes

  • Certify our major surf events as Deep Blue Surfing Events

  • Continue Give Backs to community-based programs

We're putting a roadmap in place to help steer us to success, and while these aren't the only things we're tackling, these will be the driving force behind our initiatives. These are well-rounded goals that align with Kering's corporate goals and Group sustainability targets, and are – we feel – achievable.

It sounds like Kering is really helping drive this process and Puma instituted an EP&L in 2010. How are you leveraging ideas across the different brands?

 They are, and we have a great network amongst all the brands. As a sustainability group, we're able to get together to discuss synergies in person in Paris, and over videoconference as well. All the brands have some great initiatives going on so we're all pushing each other. It's inspiring to be a part of such a team.

The film on your efforts on the North Shore is really impressive! What was the primary goal of putting this together?

To tell the story. Plain and simple. A lot of the things you see in Nathan Peracciny's 23-minute film are things we've done in previous years, but to put each of the components together in a single story – that was new. It was so exciting to see the behind the scenes and the passion that everyone has come to life. Nathan's an amazing storyteller and he's made a beautiful piece that we're very proud of.

Is it just about promoting your efforts or getting other brands and people to pick up the torch as well?

It's about both. First, we do hope that by sharing this story, it inspires others to do the same. I wouldn't be doing what I do if others hadn't inspired me, so if the film hits a chord – even for those that ARE already doing things similar to us – and they decide to tell their story a bit louder…then we've succeeded. Secondly, our end goal is to change consumer perceptions, expectations, and thus, their purchasing behaviors so if promoting our efforts can cause any of those things to happen, it's a win-win.

How will it be shared and promoted?

Our first initiative is to push this through all our SM channels. Volcom Pipe Pro 2013: Sustainable by Design will live at our Volcom YouTube channel and we'll be telling the story on our home page and our Facebook page. To support that, Nathan has already held one screening on the North Shore, and some additional strategic screenings with Q&As are being considered. We're also hoping this gets picked up in any number of the surf related, or otherwise, film festivals that have a suitable category.

Tell us about some of your key partners and initiatives over the last four years of the Volcom Pro such as TR3EES, Sustainable Surf, using Biodiesel, waste diversion, etc? There's a lot going on over there!

 This event stands tall on the shoulders of many great & generous partners who believe in the project and help make it happen.

Jen Homcy and her company, TR3EES is our longest running partner. We've been working with her since the beginning and she's become a great friend and collaborator. Her team helps us manage waste, coordinate food, and beverage impacts, farm co-ops, etc, etc. We couldn't do it with out her.

Nathan Peracciny, and Throw to Grow, were great partners this year helping us to document the journey, implement a bokashi system (google it!) and then produce an epic film.

SustainbleSurf.org was on hand running their Waste to Waves program at Tropical Rush, helping us tell the story, and crunching the numbers behind the scenes for our final impact report, which adhered to their Deep Blue Surfing Event guidelines. The final report can be seen at: Sustainable Surf.org/volcom-pipe-pro-2013.

We also teamed with Surf Credits for the 2nd time to raise awareness and funds for our non-profit partners North Shore Community Land Trust and Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii. Surf Credits is a great project that promotes sustainable surf tourism and surf philanthropy.

Additionally, we received generous and key support from: Pacific Biodiesel providing the biodiesel for our generators, World Centric providing compostable wares for the meals and Menehune Water Company providing bulk water on site.

How do these efforts translate at your other events?

 Actually, this was our 2nd Deep Blue Surfing Event – the first was last year's Volcom Fiji Pro. The work, however, that we'd done in previous years' Pipe Pro contests definitely inspired us to run the Fiji Pro in the same manner. It's nice to work with Sustainable Surf now, just to have it audited and certified and to bounce ideas off of those guys…they're doing some great work in the space with Waste to Waves, the Ecoboard Project and now the Deep Blue Surfing Event guidelines.

What does becoming a Deep Blue Surf Event mean? How is this audited and what's the threshold? Are there other events with this designation?

 It means that we took into consideration the five major environmental impacts that Sustainable Surf has outlined in conjunction with ASP North America: Waste, Energy, Transportation, Community Support, and Climate Change. They have minimum targets for each, and when an event meets/exceeds the goals in at least two of the five categories, it achieves Deep Blue status.

Kevin and Michael, the founders of Sustainable Surf, are right there throughout the entire process. They document what we do, how we do it, make recommendations etc. and then help us keep it all in order.

Also, thanks to a cooperative effort with the ASP, we've been able to collect travel data during the event from each of the riders. This allows us to measure the impact of both staff and competitor travels and that allows the boys there at Sustainable Surf to deliver an accurate report of what our carbon footprint is for the collective group.

So far, the only other event to obtain this designation is the Volcom Fiji Pro – we were stoked to be the first ever.

What's the importance of putting together the sustainability report? How is that used to continue to push the bar?

It allows us to quantify what we've done, and set a benchmark for future events. It also helps break down the story in easy to digest, bite-sized pieces.

What are you doing to help educate other event organizers on reducing their impacts?

 I guess by telling the story like this, we're helping. Many event organizers are aware of steps you can take to minimize your footprint, and many of them are doing them. It's just that the story's not always being told. I hope too, that by adopting the Deep Blue standards, we'll create some buzz and more and more events will adopt the guidelines and will also become certified. It'd be great to see the World Tour be certified, Deep Blue!

Events seem like a great way to leverage your influence with the people coming out and showing them how they can make a difference in their everyday lives. Do you have some success stories on that front?

I think time will tell. Plenty of the team here at Volcom have been able to be involved in some way in the efforts that we've put out there. Coco Ho developed a great relationship with the Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii after a co-op boardshort she had and a partnership that launched at the Volcom Pipe Pro 2 years ago. I know our company's co-founder, Richard Woolcott had a great experience being a part of the clean water drinking filters we installed in Fjii homes while there for the Fiji Pro. And when Jen Homcy is busting anyone on site for not recycling or for using a single use plastic water bottle, it becomes contagious. All these things add up and I know they'll make a difference.

You talk about always one-upping yourself at the Pipe Pro. What's on deck for 2014?

Ha! We've got to get through the Fiji contest first, then we'll start talking about Pipe again! I've got a few things on my mind that might add some nice story-telling elements, though.

What's on deck for New Future in general?

 Honestly, I think you're going to see less and less of New Future, and more of just VOLCOM telling it's sustainability story. Moving forward, this is OUR program, OUR initiative…it belongs to the entire company, and everyone plays a role in helping us drive towards those 2016 targets. I still love the concept of building a New Future, day by day with each decision that we make, but I love even more, the fact that it's less about a program that runs independently, and more about a program that's engrained into the DNA of the company. That's exciting. 

Follow the jump for the press releases on Volcom’s new EP&L and Volcom Pipe Pro: 

ACTION SPORTS LEADER VOLCOMLAUNCHES ENVIRONMENTAL PROFIT & LOSS AND COMMITS, ALONG WITH PARENT COMPANY, TO REDUCE EMISSIONS, WASTE AND WATER USAGE

Costa Mesa, CA. – April 8th, 2013 – The turn of the year brought in a lot of new things for Volcom and amid the transition to a new CEO was the re-tooled Company Mission to include an increased focus on sustainability for the 22 year old, Orange County based action sports leader. The commitment, while on the company radar since 2006, has been strengthened in partnership with its parent company Kering* and the Kering Sustainability Team. 

Since 2006, Volcom has offered a range of products under the V.Co-logical Series collection, contributing 1% of the sales to environmentally focused non-profits, thanks to the company's 1% for the Planet membership. These days, however, the company is digging deeper with a very specific strategy and is uncovering what it means to truly offer products and run a business who's environmental impacts are lessened.

"We have a real opportunity to influence change," Jason Steris, Volcom's newly appointed CEO said. "Our investments in a yearly EP&L will help us make better decisions regarding our impact on the environment and will help us better manage long term risks as we grow the company. 

An EP&L or Environmental Profit & Loss, as introduced first by PUMA in 2010 and committed to by Kering, is a means of placing a monetary value on a company's environmental impact along the entire supply chain of a select set of products and as 2013 began, so did Volcom's first forays into their initial EP&L for their apparel products. To aid them in the process, Volcom has retained the services of Steve Richardson at Material STEPS, the former Director of Material Development at Patagonia.

Supply chain scrutiny is one part of the company's comprehensive approach and included in Volcom's 3-year sustainability plan are additional goals to be reached by 2016:

  • Reducing the company's carbon emissions, waste and water usage by 25%
  • Ensuring there is no PVC in any of their collections
  • Sourcing paper and packaging items sustainably from recycled sources and/or certified well-managed forests
  • Increasing the amount of sustainable materials and processes in all product mixes
  • Certifying major surf events as Deep Blue Surfing Events
  • Continuing Give Backs to community-based programs  

Volcom's sustainability strategy is managed by Derek Sabori, the company's Senior Director of Sustainability, who notes that, "There's still so much work to be done, but we've spent a lot of time instilling our sustainability principles into the DNA of the company. The building blocks and the blueprint are there. Now it's time to execute."

Keep up with progress on the company's sustainability commitments at Volcom.com/newfuture.

About Volcom, Inc.
Volcom is a modern global lifestyle brand that embodies the creative spirit of youth culture. The company was founded in 1991 on the principles of liberation, innovation and experimentation, and this is uniquely expressed in its quality clothing, footwear, accessories and related products under the Volcom brand name. For more information, please visit www.volcom.com. Volcom is part of the Kering Group*, a world leader in apparel and accessories which develops an ensemble of powerful Luxury and Sport & Lifestyle brands. http://www.kering.com

VOLCOMPIPE PRO OBTAINS DEEP BLUE SURF EVENT™ STATUS AND SHARES THE STORY IN RELEASED FILM

Costa Mesa, CA. – April 8th, 2013 – The Volcom Pipe Pro is the first ASP Men's World Tour event of the year and is one of the company's premier surfing events, highlighting many of Hawaii's – and the world's – best wave riders.

The Volcom Pipe Pro is an extra special event for the local Hawaiian competitors, being that it is a chance for non-World Tour surfers to gain entry into the prestigious Pipe Masters. Also making this event special for the island of O'ahu, is the sustainable approach that the company takes each year in planning and running the event.

Volcom's retooled Mission Statement has the company more focused than ever on sustainability initiatives and achieving a Deep Blue Surf Event status continues to drive the company towards its recently announced targets. 

To ensure that the contest adhered to its principles, Volcom teamed up with SustainableSurf.org, TR3EES and others to manage the event's impacts and carbon credits with Carbonfund.org were purchased to offset the calculated emissions making the event CarbonFree®. Local non-profits Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii and North Shore Community Land Trust were highlighted and supported as well through the innovative Surf Credits program.

Based on it's attention to Energy, Waste, Carbon, Transportation and Community the event was certified as a Deep Blue Surfing Event™ by SustainableSurf.org whose guidelines are in conjunction with ASP North America. This is Volcom's 2nd Deep Blue Surfing Event, with the Volcom Fiji Pro being the first ever.

"Volcom is a clear leader in producing sustainable surfing contests that benefit local communities and reduce environmental impacts," says Kevin Whilden of Sustainable Surf. "Their commitment to independent evaluation and reporting shows that they walk the talk. It also helps find new opportunities to improve the contest even further." 

To top it off, a great relationship with TR3EES sparked the idea of documenting the journey and the people that are behind the scenes at an event like this and Filmmaker/Director Nathan Peracciny jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the project. His 23-minute film called Volcom Pipe Pro 2013: Sustainable By Design produced by Throw to Grow discusses everything from the locally sourced food, and the bio-diesel run generators to the bokashi system for composting food scraps. The film contains insightful interviews uncovering the passion that's behind creating an event that does more than just get the adrenaline pumping.

The full Sustainability Report for the event published by Sustainable Surf can be viewed at sustainablesurf.org/volcom-pipe-pro-2013 and Nathan Peracciny's film can be accessed at the Volcom YouTube channel.