Volcom’s corporate mantra, “Youth Against Establishment,” screams “I don’t give a f-ck” loud and clear. But all this rebellious noise muffles the reality that Volcom actually does give a f-ck, especially about other people and the environment. Coined as Volcom’s New Future, Derek Sabori, Director of Sustainability & CSR at Volcom shows us how sustainability starts from within.
At Volcom, New Future does not mean new brand. “The goal is never to change what Volcom is all about, it’s to make sure that behind the scenes and under the hood we are doing things right,” says Sabori. “My goal is to manage our environmental footprint in our products, operations, and in the events we run, as well as with our employees, within the community, and the industry as a whole.”
On the ground level, Volcom retail stores are taking responsibility for their core way of being, a clothing manufacturer. This is a trend we are seeing in many industries right now. Preserve/Wholefoods will take back your used yogurt and hummus tubs, Best Buy will take back your expired electronics, and now Volcom Stone will take back your unwanted and worn out clothes. The program began six months ago with collection bins at retail stores nationwide and according to Sabori, “people have been stoked on it, filling up bins” with their old clothes of any brand, not just Volcom. The clothing recycling program is a real victory for the environment, giving a second life to unwanted clothes that would otherwise likely end up in the landfill. In addition, the move supports the greater concept that manufacturers across all industries have to design around the full lifecycle of their products, from raw materials, to end of life, and beyond.
Sabori’s sustainability story at Volcom is as important as the campaigns he is working on. At Volcom for over 15 years, he has been Director of Sustainability & CSR for just a year and a half. He started small, spearheading sustainability programs on the side. Making sure there was a recycling program, putting a ban on single use plastic water bottles, writing newsletters, putting on environmental film screenings, and just engaging employees. Sustainability begins with the people and culture within an organization. That is you, me, and every single one of us. It is a daunting mission to take on. “Everywhere you turn there’s something you could be doing better,” says Sabori. “Whether you’re talking water, toxicity, waste, recycling, carbon footprint, fair labor, fair trade, or fair wages. Either way, you’re going to have to have a deep, in depth conversation about one of these topics.”
Sustainability is a serious challenge, but Volcom is taking it on.
For more on Volcom’s sustainability and CSR initiatives, check out Derek’s blog, volcom.com/newfuture. If you’re ready to take on sustainability in your line of work, tune in to Harvard’s Green Office Checklist as a place to start. Who knows, it may go from 0 to 100 mph like it did at Volcom and you might just be the next Director of Sustainability.