Smartwool was founded out of a deep love for the outdoors. We’re happiest when we’re pedaling through aspens, skiing fresh pow, hiking along ridgelines or casting lines. We’re nature nuts; how can you blame us? Our planet is second to none when it comes to stunning landscapes to explore: rugged mountains, dense forests, winding rivers, red rock deserts, white sand beaches…
We want to protect the incredible places we play. There’s no better way to show our love than with a few simple daily habits for a healthier planet—not just on Earth Day, but every day. Read on for a few of our favorite ways to make a positive environmental impact.
Studies show that exercising makes you happier, by reducing stress, improving memory and relieving anxiety. We’re all for more joy in life, and what better way to boost your mood than biking to work?
Ken Benesh, Smartwool Sourcing Manager, rides his bike 17 miles each way to our Steamboat Springs, CO headquarters. He makes this commute 3 or 4 times a week from May through November. It’s almost entirely on rural gravel roads, which is great for the summer and fall months before snowflakes begin to fall.
“Biking to work, I get to kill two birds with one stone,” shares Ken. “I get my workout in while eliminating driving. Plus, there’s the reward of being outdoors and getting more fit!”
At Smartwool, we track and incentivize efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, be it human-powered (biking, walking, running) or vehicle-powered (carpooling, public transportation). Carpooled to work? That’s one entry. Biked to work? That’ll get you two entries. We draw names to win sweet prizes each week. We highly recommend implementing a program like this at your office!
Whether we’re riding our bikes 250 miles to Outdoor Retailer in Denver or piling 12 co-workers in a van and driving to an event—these alternative modes of transportation are not only more sustainable, they’re a fun way to get to know your fellow co-workers. There’s a unique bond that forms after pedaling through 6,000 feet of vertical or sitting 6 hours in a vehicle.
When we moved our headquarters to a space that previously served as a commercial airport, there was opportunity to bring more sustainable practices to the building. The lawn out front received a significant amount of sunlight, making it ideal for a company garden to provide access to and highlight the importance of fresh, locally-grown food.
Growing vegetables in the mountains where winter sometimes spans 6 or 7 months requires a bit of a green thumb. Planting typically begins in early or mid-June, but summer nighttime temperatures can still dip into the 30s. Hearty root vegetables, leafy greens, a variety of wildflowers and herbs prosper in this climate.
Not only does growing our own food taste better, it brings a sense of pride and accomplishment to the office.
“I am super passionate about our garden,” shares Jen Wilkinson, Smartwool Digital Merchandising Manager. “I love dirt, growing things and caring for things—like the earth. Nothing is better than going out in the garden on a Friday at 3:30 in the afternoon and weeding until 5:15.”
A garden is just one way to incorporate local food into your life. Whether it’s supporting your local farmers market or signing up for a CSA, it’s more accessible than ever to make local, sustainable food choices. If we can do it at 7,000 feet, you can do it in your neck of the woods!
Support Organizations that Protect Our Planet:
Whether you’re lending a hand to restore a local streambank or donating your dollars to save our public lands—supporting organizations that protect the Earth is one of the most powerful actions you can take. Two of the Advocacy groups we support are The Conservation Alliance and Protect Our Winters, who are fighting the good fight to safeguard our most treasured places—where we experience solitude, wonder and joy.
The Conservation Alliance works to protect and restore our country’s wild and iconic landscapes. A membership-based organization, like-minded companies that care about our planet donate a portion of their profits to be distributed to various grassroots environmental organizations. Funding is directed to community-based campaigns that protect threatened habitat and outdoor recreation.
Protect Our Winters tackles climate change head on. A passionate crew of nature enthusiasts, professional athletes and industry brands are mobilizing the outdoor sports community to lead the charge toward positive climate action. Educational initiatives, political advocacy and community-based activism are at the forefront.
Find your local nonprofit making a difference in your community or support one of our national organizations to ensure the places we love stay that way for future generations to enjoy!
Wear Merino Wool:
It almost sounds too simple, but wearing Merino wool helps reduce your environmental impact! As a natural performance fiber, Merino works with your body, so you feel your best adventuring in the great outdoors.
Laundry has a huge environmental impact, requiring a lot of energy and water. Merino wool works to effectively manages moisture, helping you feel drier longer. That means odor-causing bacteria don’t have the moisture needed to get cozy—helping your socks, tank or bottoms smell less gnarly. Less stink means you don’t have to throw your clothing in the wash as often. You can spend less time doing laundry and more time outside.
Our Merino sheep get a haircut once a year and spend the rest of their 12 months roaming dramatic mountain landscapes—growing that fleece back. Merino wool is a natural fiber that’s renewable. As long as there are Merino sheep, there will be Merino wool. After you’ve gotten all the use out of your well-loved base layer, Merino wool also breaks down more efficiently than synthetic fibers.
Repurposing Your Socks
We love finding creative, new uses for old items. After years of miles on the trail or turns on the slopes, your socks may show some signs of wear. Once your socks have reached the end of their lifespan, you can incorporate a little upcycling and turn them into a fun and cozy way to keep your beverages warm or cold! Simply take some scissors, cut the sock above the heel and use that top part around your favorite water bottle, coffee mug or pint glass.