At the latest SIMA Speaker Series event held in San Clemente, California, in mid April, members of the Surf Industry Members Association took a hard look in the mirror as they assessed their progress as an industry when it comes to sustainability.
The unanimous verdict among the esteemed panelist was there's a long way to go, but also some low hanging fruit.
Atlantic Packaging president Wes Carter was invited by Vipe Desai, SIMA's new Executive Director, to discuss the opportunities he sees within the packaging space alone.
Carter was joined by Dr. Marcus Eriksen, research director and co-founder of the Five Gyres Institute, who has sailed around the world researching the global distribution and ecological impacts of plastic pollution; Chris Evans, vice president of sustainability at Stoke House, who has also worked with the likes of Patagonia, Billabong, and Save the Waves. And Amanda King, a designer from Italy who now resides in San Clemente, California, where she surfs and runs her sustainable swimsuit brand SEEA.
The discussion was moderated by Derek Sabori, founder of The Underswell, which operates sustainability courses for brands that cover everything from top environmental concerns, and life cycle thinking, to tracking and reporting.
When asked about obstacles to progress, panel members chimed in on the most pressing hurdles. Evans talked about the need for the industry to get better at collaborating and sharing resources to reduce costs. King agreed, pointing to the industry's need to partner up to close recycling loops on the raw materials side.
As for Carter and Eriksen, they shared this interesting exchange about narratives surrounding fiber-based packaging vs plastic. They also had interesting things to say about where and when recycling makes sense and where and when it doesn't.
To listen to the entire conversation, check out SIMA's coverage on their new site, surfindustry.org