We are a young company and we are constantly learning. Something that’s been on our minds right from day one is how we can consistently and measurably do good things, better and a massive part of that is our commitment to sustainability and all that it entails.
There’s loads for us to improve on and we are so excited to begin sharing some of the changes we are making as a company and the commitments we’ve made to ourselves + our community as we head into 2020. What’s outlined here isn’t an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination, but we hope it gives you a bit of a base to spring from and answers some of your G+C sustainability questions as we move into a new decade.
The launch of our first sustainable range of athleisure, The Amárach Collection is one of the biggest, most exciting steps we've taken on our sustainability journey. To date we have launched for both men and women, the Amarách Fleece and the Wilde Ringer Tee in 9 colourways.
The garments are made from up to 100% recycled polyester or rPET, which consists mainly of recycled plastic materials. Our goal is to ensure that at least 30% of our athleisure range in 2021 consists of sustainable items and we are unbelievably proud of the work our team and partners have done to create this collection.
Our new ‘I Used to be a Fridge’ bags are part of a solution to a global problem and we are the first and only company in Ireland to offer these now award-winning bags! Each bag is made using a recycled polypropylene (RPP) fabric, and in our case, each bag was originally a fridge! Manufactured by Waste2Wear, the bags were recently awarded the ‘Outstanding Environmental and Climate Performance’ Sustainable Business Award by the European Union Chamber of Commerce.
As we grow in size, we continue to seek partners and suppliers who match our values and who are committed to doing better, just the same as us. And this is becoming a greater and more steadfast part of our business as it relates to everything from the people we use for our store fit-outs (for example, committing to using recycled wood for display units and rails) through to partnering with artisans who share our passion for locally-made and designed products. We aim to do more and more of this in the future. The last few months have actually been spent working alongside our main partners and thoroughly reviewing them so we are happy with the strong relationships we have.
Part of our commitment to sustainability measures centres around the UN’s sustainable development goals relating to the natural environment. Early in 2020, we launched a program in partnership with One Tree Planted, a non-profit committed to reforesting our planet, one tree at a time. We are integrating their One For One program with our online platform and in our stores, so with every purchase made, a tree will be planted!
Currently, our products are manufactured with partners based in Ireland, China and Singapore. Over the last year, we have begun researching other manufacturers in places like Portugal, where the commitment to sustainable practices (particularly in the production of clothing) is exemplary, not to mention, it’s a little closer to home than Asia, meaning our environmental footprint can be significantly reduced. We are also looking for partners in Vietnam who have expertise in different areas and different fabrics.
The most important evolution now with our manufacturers is increasing the network we have and also increasing the size of the partners we are working with. Going from a standing start just three years ago, we could only work with a certain size partner dependent on unit prices and minimum order quantities. We worked hard to develop the relationships we have with our manufacturers and we want to continue to build on this strong foundation.
We work with internationally-renowned quality assurance company, SGS to make sure we are meeting global standards in the quality of our products, manufacturer’s working conditions and overall regulatory compliance in respective countries. SGS tests our products during the production process and before they leave the factory and provides us with independent, comprehensive reports identifying any existing or potential issues. This work helps us to identify inefficiencies or potential red flags so we know that the products we produce and the environments they’re produced in are the best they can be. Some faults can still occur and we always welcome so we can continue to improve but this process really does minimise them.
Re-use + Recycle
We have amended the way we package our products and now utilise reusable bags and canvas totes wherever we can. In our 2019 community survey, packaging was something you guys raised as being important to you from a sustainability perspective and it’s feedback like that, that is incredibly useful to us. As we expand, we will continue to look for ways we can reduce or even eliminate excess or unnecessary packaging.
In addition to this, later this year we will launch our first sustainable collection using recycled materials reclaimed from the ocean. This has been a focus of ours for a long time now and a project we have been working hard on in the background. Addressing sustainability measures is no easy task but we know it is not just worthwhile but necessary for ourselves, our community and the environment. Together with initiatives like One Tree Planted mentioned above, we believe everyone can really impact the UN’s sustainable development goals.
From day one, woven into our company ethos is a commitment to give back to our community (and beyond) and one of the key ways we do this is through our free program of health+wellbeing events. Sustainable practices extend to improving the physical and mental health of humans; offering open, free and inclusive classes, events, talks and workshops is very important to us as both a business and as individual staff members and we look forward to adding to this aspect of our company sustainability goals as we grow. In 2020, we once again commit to providing at least 25 free health, wellness and fitness events for our community to enjoy.
As each of these initiatives are rolled out over the course of this year, we will be able to share a lot more information about the details of each. We will also share our thinking behind each of them and our targets and objectives for the year. We try and incorporate this into everything we do - it holds us accountable to ourselves, to our community and ensures we are making progress with everything we are doing here at Gym+Coffee.
We have massive dreams of where we can take G+C and so we always want to improve in every aspect of the business to ensure we are having a positive impact on the world and continuing to Make Life Richer.