More than ten years ago, iPath was started with a focus on becoming an environmentally conscious shoe company. Today the brand continues to work hard to minimize its environmental footprint as much as possible from creating all hemp vegan models to using leather from silver rated tanneries, which make leather goods under strict environmental standards.
Besides making environmentally friendly products, iPath also works with several environmental organizations to help conserve and protect the environment while also educating others about how to reduce their environmental impact.
Contributing Writer Michael Sudmeier caught up with iPath President Nate Smith to find out what challenges the company has overcome in pursuing its commitment to the planet and what future developments are in store.
What has the company accomplished through working with environmental organizations such as SaveNature.org?
Besides financially supporting efforts to conserve and protect the environment through groups such as Save Nature, we’re also about education. For example, last year we helped redesign a bathroom at Mike DeLuca’s Progressive Skatepark in Georgia. The new bathroom features low-flush toilets, eco-friendly designs and information on the walls about how to lessen your personal footprint.
What role does iPath’s environmental commitment serve in the company’s brand identity and marketing efforts?
IPATH has been about being “humbly green” since 1999. It’s not a trend for us, it’s part of the brand’s DNA.
What are the biggest challenges iPath faces in refining its commitment to the environment?
Right now, going green can raise your prices and that’s something no one wants to hear. It’s hard convincing consumers that a particular item costs X percent more than something nearly identical because it’s more environmentally friendly. As more companies look for more eco-friendly options though, the overall costs should come down.
What do you feel have been some of the most meaningful developments in the action sports industry regarding environmental stewardship?
The most meaningful thing I’m seeing is the progression many brands are taking towards being more environmentally friendly. They may not be including it front and center in their marketing materials, but they’re making steps on their own and that’s important.