Cycling in itself is a very green option, but the industry still causes plenty of carbon footprint, be it from events, packaging or factory running. BikeBiz reached out to the industry to investigate what more we can be doing to protect our planet.
Today, we hear from Tori Fahey, co-founder, Apidura.
When we founded Apidura, we took the view that the most effective way to ensure we would have the lowest possible negative environmental impact was to hardcode it into our DNA. Environmental impact could not be an afterthought or an add-on to our supply chain or some other discrete aspect of our business. With that in mind, we built our business on three core principles:
1. We design products that add value. They must be unique, better or different than what is currently available. Society needs fewer, better-made things; not just newer things.
2. We don’t push impulse consumption through discounts and sales. Our gear is designed to be used and purchasing it should be a considered decision.
3. We reject engineered obsolescence. We don’t do ‘seasons’ and we encourage repairs, both by consumers at home/on tour and by ourselves.
This less orthodox approach sees us concentrating our sustainability efforts on the lifespan of our products themselves. Ultimately, every aspect of a product’s impact on our environment is dramatically reduced if we can keep that product in use for a longer time. This means investing heavily in higher quality materials that are more durable and investing in design. By identifying potential weak points in design and testing, alongside customer feedback, we can employ an evergreen design approach; continuously tweaking and updating products based on real-world experience to enhance their lifespan and utility.
Much like a bike, the lifespan of our gear can also be significantly increased through proper care and repair in the hands of the consumer. We have invested in helping our customers help themselves through a detailed repair and care page and repair guides, alongside working with partner stores to arrange broken gear collections, which facilitates larger scale repairs and reduces the number of parcels being sent back and forth for the same number of repairs. Longer-term, we are continuously working to design products that are easier to repair and that can stay on the road for longer.
This approach stands in stark contrast to the incumbent industry practice (a practice that is reliant on impulse purchases driven through deceptive tactics like discounting to manipulate customers into purchasing poor quality products that don’t perform well and won’t last). We believe this approach is a better way of doing business and we expect others in the industry and the community at large to embrace similar approaches as they wake up to the harm discounting does.
Overcoming entrenched, but unsustainable, expectations like free shipping and returns and the mindset of ‘replace’ rather than ‘repair’ is an uphill struggle, but a necessary one if we are to cycle towards a greener future.
For any company in the cycling industry looking to become more sustainable, we would encourage you to start by joining us on the journey toward B Corp certification, to play your part in a more inclusive and sustainable economy. We would also encourage you to look more closely at the impact we have as an industry, both environmentally and socially. We believe it’s important to look beyond the obvious fixes, such as dropping plastic and reducing single-use packaging and think about structural and cultural behaviours that could and should be reconsidered.