As a conscious consumer, I do my very best to vote using my dollar. I support small local businesses, as well as services and brands that align with my sustainability criteria. With so much interest from my posts about what I use, and why, I decided share a list of my favorite brands, services and tools with a brief reason why.
* these are not paid endorsements.
About: I first found out about TOMS from a classmate who was painting his shoes, which turned out to be TOMS. What I didn't know then was that TOMS have an amazing One for One business model created by TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie. In said model every purchase made is matched by TOMS in ways that address need and advance health, education and economic opportunity for children and their communities in over 70 countries around the world.
Sustainability: My favorite TOMS initiative is that of their bags. For every TOMS bag purchased, training is provided to create skilled birth attendants and birth kits containing items that help a woman safely deliver her baby are distributed.
Gear: TOMS Canvas trekker bag, and the cross body bag. The Trekker bag is a smallish back pack, its fits my camera with one lens, cell phone and wallet in side zip pocket for easy access, the cross body bag fits my computer and a couple portable hard drives. Both can also double as day packs. My TOMS bags have lasted me years, the fabrics and stitching are great, and muted colors allow me to use them for so many purposes, even going out with whilst Im traveling. When they get dirty I just soak them and put them in the washing machine or hose off and sun dry.
About: Patagonia was founded by climber Yvon Chouinard in the early 1970's
Sustainability: 1% for the planet, the Ironclad Guarantee, certain garments are Fair Trade, they make non-neoprene wetsuits made from Yulex 100% plant-based, ultra-pure natural rubber that is FSC® certified, sustainably sourced, certified and proudly produced in the USA, and Patagonia have a return and repair program known as Worn Wear.
Gear: Ultralight Down Hoody combines 800-fill-power Traceable Down (goose down traced from parent farm to apparel factory to help ensure the birds that supply it are not force-fed or live-plucked) . Yes this light hoody will cost you a small fortune, but if you live in a moderate to cold climate, its a small price to pay for the warmth, ease and comfort this hoody provides. It comes in a small pouch which can double as a pillow if needed, and packs down way smaller then one would think. I have only washed my jacket once in the two years I have had it, and although its been fireside many a time it never holds the smell for more then a few hours to a day at the most. I wear it every time I fly, and layer it with cotton and wool underlays in the winter.
Joel Fitzgerald Surfboards
About: Founded by surfer shaper Joel Fitzgerald in his own backyard
Sustainability: Every board passes though Joel, and the process is a slow and steady one. Joel only purchase what he needs for each board, employs local people to help when ever needed, and purchase his fins from a local fin maker, keeping the production at a human level all boards are hand made by Joel.
Gear: As you can tell its hard for me to choose! To pick one board, I would select the Sea Gypsy, and to be specif, the Wooden version of this board, which is a collaboration project with Wood Surf Co. and Joel Fitzgerald Surfboards. Each wooden board creates less then half of the waste a traditional fiberglass board does, and looks and feels amazing! The great thing about the Sea Gypsy is that you can ride it as a singlefin or 2+1 set up, it has enough volume to float and get waves on the smaller days, as well as heaps of drive for bigger days. I traveled for six months with just my 6'0" Sea Gypsy and surfed it around the world in all kinds of conditions, hands down my favorite board.