I admire Burton’s clear goals and actions in their sustainability efforts. It is easy for companies to gloss over their plans and release goals simply for the sake of having them, but it is clear that Burton has genuinely put thought into what they can do as a company to make a difference. Their plan is also personal, not only addressing their products but also the community they are included in, especially in the issues they are passionate about, such as women’s empowerment. Though they still have some aspects to work on, such as their carbon reduction efforts and applying their transparency to more hard goods, the brand is showing significant progress in all they are doing. I am curious to see how their improvements continue leading into the. future, and I believe customers can buy the Instigator with confidence that their money is going to a company set on reducing their impact on the mountain.
The description of the snowboard gives an in-depth explanation of the multiple elements that make up the snowboard, from the wooden core, to the fiberglass top sheet, to the steel edging. However, this description lacks any mention of sustainability and where the materials are sourced from specifically. The sustainability section of their website is more catered toward their materials in soft goods, such as how they are replacing PFCs and utilizing recycled materials. In their hard goods, they stress durability and how their products are meant to last as long as possible. As an improvement, I would like to see more information on their hard goods, since they are a significant portion of the products they sell. Even just knowing that their wood was sourced sustainability or that their top sheet is partially made of recycled material would be helpful to boosting their moral and ensuring customers that buying their snowboard is not only a good move for performance, but for the environment as well.
Burton offers excellent transparency on its website regarding its sustainability initiatives in its manufacturing process. Some of their goals in terms of hard goods includes a 20% reduction on carbon emissions, 100% recycled packaging, and 75% waste diversion. As far as their progress is concerned, their carbon emissions have actually increased 7%, which the company acknowledges as their biggest challenge in their plan so far. I am impressed that they included this number plainly in their progress, for it would be easy to hide it and avoid discussion in order to seem like they are doing great in all categories. So, though the number is not great, it gives the company some credibility, and verifies that they are not leaving consumers in the dark regarding their plans.
The company has also instilled multiple methods to ensure that their snowboards and other products last as long as possible. Their soft goods have a lifetime warranty, and their hard goods also feature a warranty, though it tends to be only a couple years. In this warranty, they guarantee you will hear back within 48 hours, which proves their commitment to their customers and aiding them in getting back on the mountain as fast as possible. They also offer the Burton Pass Along program, through which shoppers can trade in their old gear for in-store credit. The incentive of store credit is one that I think is very strategic, for it allows them to continue to have business while also encouraging a circular system of production.
Burton was founded by snowboarder Jake Burton Carpenter in 1977 and since has become a leading name in crafting a wide variety of products geared toward the snowboarding community. The company has remained privately held by Jake and his wife, who is now the CEO, and features a specific sustainability team dedicated to finding ways to protect the planet and their community in their production of both hardgoods and clothing products. Keeping the company privately held is something that sets Burton apart, for it is a very large company to remain under the same ownership since the beginning. This allows for a closer connection between the company now and Burton’s original goal in its creation of allowing people to experience the outdoors. The company’s website offers outstanding transparency on their initiatives and specific goals. It is one of the first websites I’ve encountered that both states its specific goals and presents the progress on these goals in a visually engaging way. In. this sense, it is clear that Burton does not intend to fool its consumers on its initiatives, and genuinely cares about sharing their initiatives and progress.
One of the goals that Burton has is 100% Fair Labor in their factories by their Fall 2022 line, which is currently placed at being 83% complete. This indicates that Burton is equitable in their treatment of workers and conditions in their factories. The company also has a special focus on gender equity throughout their company, which is backed by their Women's Leadership initiative started in 2004 by CEO Donna Carpenter. The group is centered around providing opportunities for. women in their community, both on the corporate side and the manufacturing side. It shows the personal care that Burton provides for those that work for them, which I believe is extremely indicative to their sustainability efforts as a company outside of just resources.