WHEN IT COMES TO SUSTAINABILITY IT'S NOT SUFFICIENT TO JUST IMPLEMENT NATURAL MATERIALS AND MAKE OUR BOARDS LOOK MORE GREEN.

From the idea to you

Our Process

when it comes to sustainability it's not sufficient to just implement natural materials and make our boards look more green. Sustainability touches all areas: R&D, Materials, Production, Packaging, Shipping and last but not least the Staff of our partners and our company. sometimes it's even more sustainable to use recreational materials over natural resources. To explain what we're doing and why we do things the way we do it, we'd like to GO THROUGH ALL STEPS mentioned above to give you an idea on the challenges we're facing to offer you an affordable product you'll love and one that's as eco-friendly as possible.

As efficient as it gets

R&D

With a wide range of products and different disciplines we have a vast variety of conditions to cover. From flatwater blasting on freshwater lakes to wave sailing, Stand Up Paddling and Foiling in the ocean. Most of our R&D happens right between our customer to make sure we hit the needs perfectly and deliver products which satisfy our customer for a long time.

For Windsurfing we have our custom board facility with Sebastian Wenzel in Portugal. That's a very efficient way for us to develop and progress highly effectively and with short ways to our test teams based in Europe. Most of the prototype boards are tested in Europe and can be sent to our test teams by truck leaving a relatively small carbon footprint. With a huge database of shapes and our very experienced development team the process from a first idea to a finished production board master shape happens within a very small amount of prototypes. One secret behind our efficiency is, that every single teamrider custom board is developed by our R&D team and built by Sebastian Wenzel - all the knowledge stays in-house and a lot of this flows straight into the next line of production boards.

For Foiling and part of our Stand Up Paddling range, our R&D Team is based on Maui/Hawaii, with it's own custom facilities with Sky Solbach and Ken Winner. From the workshop to the beach it's just a couple of minutes.

All Natural?

Materials

Sourcing the right materials is a task which goes beyond just trying to find the ingredients which grow rather than being based on fossil fuels. A major factor for sustainability is quality and longevity. No one wants to buy a board that looks like a tree but also rides like a log or breaks like a match. Once a board has a reduced life span due to being made from natural elements its much less sustainable compared to traditional boards. It's most likely going to be returned for warranty, which results in a new board being produced, packed and shipped around the world. 

There are a few materials we've made very positive experience with, such as flax fibres, cork, certain type of wood and also Sicomin's Bio Resin, which contains a certain degree of natural elements. Some of these are found throughout the Fanatic range, some others are used for specific boards and their field of use. The Gecko and Fly Eco models are our flagships in this direction, with a beautiful flax-cork sandwich in the deck and a wooden bottom. No PVC has been used for these boards.

We're constantly sourcing and testing more eco-friendly materials and layups, but we're just at the beginning and still quite far away from a board being 100% compostable.

A very important point to consider is - where do these materials come from? Which other effects does it have when we use them and when they are being grown and prepared for production? How much transportation is involved?

Last but not least our customer needs to buy these more eco-friendly products without being scared of any downsides. If we produce them for the shelf without being bought and used, then that's not very sustainable on the business side. So don't be scared to go eco! If we bring it - it's being well tested, it's going to work and it will deliver you tons of fun!

Exceeding the standard

Production

It's not a secret - we're producing the large majority of our composite products at Cobra International in Thailand. Cobra is the leading production of the industry - not only in terms of quality, but also in terms of social responsiveness and sustainability. In their code of conduct Cobra states:

“COBRA will do business in a socially and globally responsible way. We will strive for standardized, clean and safe working environment, provide secure jobs for employees, and build products that promote happiness and enhance quality of life. We will develop products to be environmentally-friendly using natural resources in a sustainable manner. Apart from this, COBRA will organize further social activities that will create a happy society around us.”

As one of the market leading brands we’re in close collaboration with Cobra to further push social responsibility and sustainability in all fields. Cobra believes – as well as we do – in the concept of Cradle-to-Cradle products. There are still a lot of hurdles to overcome to produce truly sustainable boards with fully sustainable production processes, with the separation of technical and biological nutrients being one of the greatest challenges in the recycling process, but the vision to create truly C-2-C composite products is there – and we’re supporting that vision to make it reality one day. Cobra is reporting their efforts and activities frequently, next to many social initiatives, here are just some achievements regarding sustainability between 2015 to 2018:

  • Electricity consumption reduced by 26.5%
  • Water consumption reduced by 50%
  • Gasoline consumption reduced by 38,6%
  • Waste reduction reduced by 37%
  • Fuel Oil was replaced by Biomass
  • Green spaces with almost 2000 trees planted within the premises

Take a closer look at all what’s been achieved up to date in Cobra’s

SUSTAINABILITY REPORT

 

Working with a partner like Cobra we’re not only securing the quality you expect – which is ultimately a key factor for sustainable products – also that we can push sustainability on a much higher scale together with them and other brands producing at Cobra believing in the same values as we do.

Greener, smarter, better

Packaging

Not long ago our shops have received their boards wrapped in plastic bubble wrap, hold together by plastic tape and securely packed with extra styrofoam – offcuts from the production. Generally a good idea to re-use these offcut blocks, but the problem is: Further recycling is out of our control, it’s handed to our customer. Between all Boards&More brands we’ve created a task force to improve packaging with the followings goals:

  • Reduce unnecessary packing material
  • Minimize single-use plastics and replace by paper/cardboard
  • Use recycled plastic if at all needed
  • Minimize weight and size of packaging to safe space and fuel for transportation
  • Pack in a way to make recycling convenient for our customer

Our smaller Sky Wing boards come in a unique protection called Flexi-Hex, which is made from cardboard that’s redisigned in a cool and clever way to add strength and durability. The unique Flexi-Hex packaging is the future of packaging surfboards, but also of protective packaging as a whole – that saves time when unpacking and can even be re-used for traveling when unpacked carefully.

 

With public awareness around single-use plastics and the devastating effect on the marine environment at an all-time high, all these efforts help us and you to actively reduce our environmental footprint.

Here’s a little Video showing you the packaging of a SUP from a few years back vs. our current packaging.

B&M Synergies

Shipping & Transport

 

Let’s be honest. If we all look at our personal carbon footprint, we’ll be shocked by the amount of CO2 we all contribute by our travel behavior. Most of us drive to the spot by car to have fun in the ocean or the nearest lake, some of us take planes frequently. The carbon emissions of air travel is significant. Shipping and general transportation is a factor of the carbon footprint of our boards too.

You might wonder – why are we producing far east when the main market is in Europe? Why not produce closer to our customer? That’s a legitimate question and if we’d have good options to produce closer to you – our customer, we’d surely look into these. The truth is, the options for a sustainable business with a production in Europe with the quality and standards we’ve accomplished with our partners in Asia aren’t available at this point, so we have to find ways to economize the shipping of our products as much as we can.

Our task force for shipping and transport between all Boards&More brands is constantly improving ways to combine shipping from our production lines to our centralized warehouse in Europe and to other key locations like our warehouse in the USA or other partners of our worldwide distribution. From these hubs we further combine shipments with our partner brands ION, Duotone Windsurfing and Duotone Kiteboarding to our shops. With our network of agents in key markets we’re very efficient and realistic in forecasting the markets needs. This allows us to plan way ahead and reduce air shipments to a bare minimum. All of this makes sure our products come to you with the smallest fuel consumption possible.

“Good things come to those who wait”

 

Even our professional planning can be slightly off the markets demands at times, so if one of our products isn’t on stock, keep in mind that we try to avoid air freight for a greener planet.