starboard 2024 inflatable sup paddle boards

Sustainability Insights with Red Paddle Co

In this insightful video, the Rueben from SUPboarder sits down with Phil Hawthorne from Red Paddle Co, who oversees design and production. Phil discusses the significance of being a B Corp, which stands for Benefit Corporation. This American accreditation, now spreading globally, evaluates companies on various criteria such as community impact, environmental practices, governance, and employee welfare. Achieving B Corp status requires a minimum of 80 points out of 200, with most companies initially scoring around 40-50. Red Paddle Co scored well on their first attempt, reflecting their longstanding commitment to ethical practices.

Phil emphasizes the importance of businesses being beneficial to the planet, not just in environmental terms but also in how they treat employees and the broader community. He explains that B Corp status is a mark of accountability and continuous improvement, with companies needing to recertify every three years and aiming for ongoing improvement.

The conversation shifts to the circular economy, where Phil highlights the importance of using resources sustainably. He advocates for product designs that promote repairability and longevity, reducing waste by ensuring products can be easily recycled or repurposed at the end of their lifecycle. This approach aligns with Red Paddle Co’s commitment to minimizing their environmental impact, despite the challenges posed by the composite materials used in inflatable paddle boards.

Phil details the company’s use of product lifecycle strategies, such as designing for disassembly and selecting low-impact materials. They avoid using mixed materials like fiberglass, which are difficult to recycle, opting instead for pure plastics that can be reprocessed and reused. This commitment to sustainability is further reinforced by rigorous testing and analysis to ensure their products are durable and long-lasting.

The discussion touches on the broader implications of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) principles, which have evolved from the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). ESG provides a framework for businesses to evaluate their impact on the environment and society, and B Corp certification serves as a badge of honor within this context.

Phil acknowledges the challenges in recycling inflatable paddle boards due to their composite nature but stresses the importance of continuous innovation and collaboration with other industries to find solutions. He underscores the role of businesses in leading by example and pushing for positive change, even if larger industries are slower to adopt sustainable practices.

The video concludes with Phil encouraging consumers to support B Corp-certified companies, as these businesses are held accountable for their practices and are committed to making a positive impact. He also invites other companies, especially in the paddleboarding industry, to pursue B Corp certification and join the movement towards more sustainable and responsible business practices.

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About the author: Julian Kidd
I have been an avid stand up paddle boarder since 2009. I retired from a decade of professional kiteboarding to focus on SUP. Green Water Sports grew from this love of all things SUP. As well as being a keen paddle boarder, I'm a football fan, closet petrol head, web tinkerer, husband and father.