Keep The North Cold isn’t a slogan – it’s our mission as a company, and a commitment we make to our customers. To make good on that commitment, we hold ourselves accountable for our carbon footprint and invest more money in climate solutions each year than our business costs the planet. But we want you to hold us accountable, too. This report is an annual opportunity for us to share our progress, as well as our challenges, and give you an opportunity to check our math.
What does it mean to help Keep The North Cold? We believe it means being part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. We call this way of doing business “Climate Positive” and our definition is simple: as a company, we’re committed to doing more good than harm. We won’t solve the climate crisis by reducing our environmental footprint alone, although we look for opportunities to do so every step of the way. To have a net-positive impact, we must make sure our investments in creating a sustainable future outweigh our carbon footprint and we use a simple three-step formula to do it.
- Each year, we measure our full carbon footprint as a company, from raw materials through production and shipping, even having the lights on in Askov HQ and our employees commuting to and from work.
- Then we use the Social Cost of Carbon to convert our carbon footprint into a dollar amount – more on that in a bit.
- Lastly, we invest 110% of our annual climate cost in organizations working to create solutions to the climate crisis across three key areas: Education, Activation, and Innovation.
Warmth Without The Fluff
Achieving climate positive impact starts with making our footprint as small as possible. This effort is led by the members of our design team, who work to identify the leading recycled and sustainable materials for use in our products. We were proud to achieve a material innovation breakthrough in 2019 thanks to our partnership with 3M. When we introduced the Winter Parka, it was the first piece of outerwear in the world to use Thinsulate 100% Recycled Featherless Insulation. This sustainable choice of insulation led to a 43% reduction in environmental impact when compared to conventional goose down.
In addition, our parka’s shell is made from 100% recycled fabric and our knit hats are made from 100% recycled yarn and recycled wool, further reducing carbon emissions. Over the past year we also implemented a plastic-free shipping program for all customers.
Accountability Requires Transparency
In 2019, we emitted 353.7 tonnes of carbon, an increase from 126.4 tonnes in 2018 as our business grew during that time. Here is a breakdown of those emissions by source:
In 2020, we’ll be transitioning another important fabric – the lining of our parkas – to 100% recycled material. We also have a plan to reduce the footprint of transporting finished goods by transitioning from air to sea this year, which our 2019 production calendar did not allow.
Setting A Higher Bar
So what is the social cost of carbon? If it sounds wonky, that’s because it is. The social cost of a metric ton of emitted carbon is the result of a complex calculation that incorporates the human cost of climate change: extreme weather, sea level rise, food insecurity, and impact on health. When you add up those factors, the result is more than four times the average cost of a carbon credit.
Purchasing carbon credits is a great place to start for any business that wants to hold itself accountable, but they don’t capture the full amount of a company’s impact. Using the social cost of carbon as our benchmark comes at a greater expense to our business, but we believe it’s the right number to use for true climate accountability.
Empowering Others To Lead
The start of this new year marks the beginning of our final decade of opportunity to act on climate change, so our investments in climate solutions reflect that urgency. We’re proud to support the scientists, activists, artists, and educators who are making the transformative impact this challenge requires.
Three core strategies inform our investments:
- Education — Informing students, teachers, community members, and elected officials about the foundational science of climate change empowers everyone to be a leader on this issue.
- Activation — Championing those who push for systemic change, whether they’re gathering in the streets of our cities or within the halls of power.
- Innovation — Supporting breakthrough ideas that create a brighter future, from advancements in textile sustainability to decarbonizing the electric grid.
In 2019, we donated nearly $200,000 to leading local and national organizations as part of our five-year, million dollar pledge: Climate Generation, Fresh Energy, Climate Reality Project, Minneapolis Climate Action & Racial Equity Fund, Climate Central, and The Minnesota Youth Climate Strike. We’re excited and inspired to continue our support of the climate movement in 2020 and beyond.
Despite the challenges we’re all now facing, we remain optimistic about our collective ability to overcome adversity and solve big problems. We’re grateful for your continued support, and working together, let’s Keep The North Cold for generations to come.
P.S. To learn more about how we calculated our impact over the past year, you can find our 2019 Greenhouse Gas Footprinting Methodology and Disclosure Report here. You’ll find the details and data that inform and validate our Climate Positive business model. And if you have any questions, please just let us know – we’re always available at email@example.com (and we love this stuff).