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2020 Sustainability Report - text only

2020 Sustainability Report - Text Only 

Link to PDF version

A Message from Our Co-Founders

2020 was certainly a strange year for everyone, but on a positive note, it was also a year that introduced a lot of new anglers to the sport of fly fishing. Conservation has always been a big part of who we are as a company, and we love donating a minimum of 3% of our sales to our conservation partners, but we also wanted to do more. That’s why we decided to calculate our entire carbon footprint, which included everything from heating our HQ/warehouse to purchased electricity to the embodied carbon of our products and even shipping our products to our customers and more.  We are a so proud to not only be zero waste in our operations, but we are now officially carbon neutral (more on this in the Report)!

That said, we want to make clear that there is no such thing as a perfectly “sustainable” product or company. We know and understand that every product we make has an environmental impact, but we also feel strongly that the world needs a lot of imperfect companies working to solve the problems like climate change, poverty, biodiversity loss & deforestation. We recognize there is still much room for improvement in the products we offer, and we will continue to incorporate recycled materials, organic cotton and ethically sourced products while we focus on ways to reduce our carbon footprint & support our nonprofit conservation partners. We are stoked to share our 2020 Sustainability Report with you, and we hope you will continue to follow us on our sustainability journey!

We are grateful for your business and continued support. Thank you!

Who We Are

MISSION: RepYourWater is an apparel brand dedicated to providing uniquely designed, top quality gear for anglers and hunters while increasing support of local conservation and inspiring exploration.

We are a Colorado company that was co-founded by Corinne and Garrison Doctor in 2011. Over the last 10 years, RepYourWater has grown from just having one hat design that donated a percentage of sales to a local chapter of Trout Unlimited, to a premiere brand in the fly fishing industry that now donates a minimum of 3% of sales to 17 different nonprofit conservation partners, is a Zero Waste operation and is officially Carbon Neutral. We are now focused on improving the environmental and social impact of our products and supply chain and have begun by utilizing polyester from recycled plastic bottles into our hoodies & fishmasks, organic cotton into our hoodies and some of our hats are ethically sourced.

 

Our Why

Our business is dependent upon natural resources, and we understand that no fish = no customers, but we also want to simply protect what we love because fishing enriches our lives in innumerable and immeasurable ways. As human population grows, so does our collective demand on natural resources, and we are all sharing and living on the same planet so that is why we give back to our nonprofit conservation partners and why we are proud to be Zero Waste and Carbon Neutral.

Our Impact:

We have been on a sustainability journey since our inception in 2011 and we are proud of the accomplishments we have made along the way. Here are some of the highlights over the last nine years:

2011: RepYourWater is co-founded by Corinne & Garrison Doctor and the decision is made to donate a percentage of sales back to their state chapter of Trout Unlimited.

2016: We created baselines of our environmental and social bottom lines, such as Scope 1 & 2 greenhouse gas emissions, waste diverted from the landfill, volunteer hours and amount donated to our nonprofit conservation partners and established our 2020 Sustainability Goals, which were: Carbon Neutral, Zero Waste, Donate $250K to Nonprofit Conservation Partners and Volunteer 200 Hours.

2017: RepYourWater officially goes Zero Waste in our operations through recycling, composting and reducing the amount of waste through being more mindful and began purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (REC’s) for our purchased electricity. We donated $54K to our conservation partners in a single year and volunteered a total of 65 hours.

2018: RepYourWater maintains Zero Waste status while continuing to purchase REC’s for purchased electricity while executing strategies to reduce the carbon footprint of our warehouse/HQ. We donated $53.7K to our nonprofit conservation partners and volunteered a total of 52 hours.

2019: RepYourWater continues on its Zero Waste path, as well as purchasing REC’s for purchased electricity, but takes our first step with our products by introducing organic cotton and ethically-sources flannels. We also donated $55.8K to our nonprofit conservation partners in 2019 and volunteered a total of 41.5 hours.

2020: We are stoked to have surpassed all of our 2020 Sustainability Goals, which included: Donating over $250K total to our nonprofit conservation partners since 2011; Volunteering over 200 hours, going carbon neutral and going zero waste. We will dive in more detail in the following Sustainability Report, but we also became a founding member of the Fly Fishing Climate Alliance and we calculated our entire carbon footprint (Scope 1, 2, & 3 greenhouse gas emissions) for 2019 and are officially Carbon Neutral!

2020 Social & Environmental Impact

Monetary Donation - $49, 388 donated to 17 nonprofit conservation partners

Volunteer Hours – 79 hours donated to nonprofit conservation partners

Environmental Impacts

Carton Footprint:

Scope 1 greenhouse gas emissions: .035 metric tons of CO2

Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions: 10.6 metric tons of CO2

Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions: work in progress

 

Waste Diverted from Landfill: 95.13% by weight

 

2020 Social Impact

RepYourWater measures the success of our business not by how much money we can make, but how much we can give back. We are delighted to give back to our nonprofit conservation partners by donating 3% of our annual sales. We are also proud to donate our time to our local chapter of Trout Unlimited, AFFTA Fisheries Fund and our nonprofit conservation partners.

  • 2020: Donated $49,388 to 17 Nonprofit Conservation Partners
  • 2020: Volunteered 79 Hours to Several Nonprofits

We are thrilled to be able to donate 3% of our annual sales to the following nonprofit conservation partners: Trout Unlimited Chapters of Colorado, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Southeastern Conservation Project, and New Mexico; Backcountry Hunters & Angler Chapters  in the Southeast US, Utah, Alaska and Montana; the Wild Steelhead Coalition; Idaho Wildlife Federation; Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters; the Billfish Foundation; Bonefish & Tarpon Trust; Great Lakes Regional Center for National Wildlife Federation; and Beyond the Pond.

Conservation at Work: Citron Creek, Wisconsin

By: Ryan Roberts from National Fish Habitat Partnership (Beyond the Pond)

The Driftless Area Restoration Effort (DARE) is one of 20 partnerships under the National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP). DARE is also a Conservation Partner of RepYourWater, through their support of Beyond the Pond, the 501c3 Organization established to benefit the National Fish Habitat Partnership. 

 In September 2020, DARE utilized a $3,500 donation from RepYourWater through their inclusion in the 3% for Conservation Partners Program. This funding went directly to fund an on-the-ground habitat conservation project in Citron Creek, Wisconsin.    

Project Background:  Historic flooding events have caused severe streambank erosion on the Donald Dudenbostel farm located on Citron creek, near Steuben, Wisconsin. An estimated 1192 tons of soil is lost per year from 8 streambank sites. The Citron Creek project will stabilize 2975 ft. of eroding streambank by installing habitat structures, including; cross-channel logs, random boulders, log deflectors, and rootwads. These structures will benefit brook trout and provide some non-game species habitat. This project can also expand the brook trout population into this improved stream section since they are present in the watershed tributaries. This project could potentially spur some additional similar projects in the area that would reduce stream sediment, increase the amount of quality fish habitat, and provide additional public fishing access to streams. 

Project Challenges: Parts of Citron Creek have suffered from severe flooding over the past 10+ years, causing streams and tributaries to be flushed of woody instream habitat, eliminating good over-head cover, and creating unstable high sediment yielding streambanks. Due to this flooding, the only protection provided to fish in some parts of the stream is in the Creek's deep pools.

Long Term Benefits:  This project will install more stable woody structures with habitat niches increasing fish survival. Sediment loads to the stream and spawning areas will be reduced. An estimated 1,000 tons of soil loss occurs annually from these sites. Stabilizing these sites will prevent 1,000 lbs. of phosphorous from being discharged into the stream long-term.

Proposed Project Accomplishments:

  • Improved through streambank stabilization (rock riprap and streambank shaping and seeding) 2,600 ft. of the stream. 
  • Created just over 1 mile of perpetual public fishing access on a class III trout stream. Stream habitat installed; 24 random boulders, 1 rock weir, 1 cross-channel log, and 32 root wads.
  • Removed over 3000 cubic yards of soil from the floodplain allowing reconnection to the floodplain. 
  • Increased flood-carrying capacity by sloping streambanks and hauling spoil off-site. 
  • Non-game species such as shorebirds, turtles, and frogs will also benefit from the habitat structures installed. 
  • Improvements to the stream are expected to increase significantly stream carrying capacity since the overhead cover has been created.
  • Training new young contractors on how to install rock riprap and trout stream habitat structures.

About the National Fish Habitat Partnership: Since 2006, the National Fish Habitat Partnership has supported over 1,000 projects benefiting fish habitat in all 50 states. The National Fish Habitat Partnership works to conserve fish habitat nationwide, leveraging federal, state, tribal, and private funding resources to achieve the greatest impact on fish populations through priority conservation projects of 20 regionally-based Fish Habitat Partnerships. For more information, visit: http://fishhabitat.org/

2020 Environmental Impact

RepYourWater has spent the last five years mindfully working to clean up our own operation’s environmental impact, and are now beginning to work on cleaning up our supply chain. We know and understand that every product we make and use has an environmental impact, and as humans we have an impact on our planet.  We know there is much room for improvement and we hope you will continue to follow us on our sustainability journey. That said, we are proud of what we accomplished in 2020:

  • Scope 1 Greenhouse Gas Emissions: 0.035 mtCO2e
  • Scope 2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions: 10.6 mtCO2e
  • Scope 3 Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Work in Progress

We did purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from a wind farm for all of our Scope 1 & 2 greenhouse gas emissions which helps to support renewable energy development and offsets our Scope 1 & 2 GHG emissions. We are extremely proud to have gone Carbon Neutral for 2019, and we will continue to do the same for 2020. However, pulling data for Scope 3 GHG emissions takes time, so our Scope 3 is still a work in progress at the time of publication. Please stay tuned for our 2020 Carbon Footprint Report down the line.

RepYourWater has spent the last few years measuring our waste and diverting it from the landfill and are stoked to be Zero Waste at our headquarters/warehouse for the fourth year in a row. Going Zero Waste not only reduces our carbon footprint, but it has also helped us to make changes in our suppliers that have improved our environmental performance. We even sent plastic bags and non-sellable returned products to the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) located in Boulder, CO.  Here’s our 2020 Waste data:

  • 2020 Waste Recycled: 3,831.47 pounds
  • 2020 Plastic Bags Recycled: 58.5 pounds
  • 2020 Waste Composted: 35.45 pounds
  • 2020 Waste to Landfill: 200.8
  • 2020 Total Waste: 4,126.22
  • 2020 Waste Diverted from Landfill: 95.13%

As will be demonstrated below in our 2019 Carbon Footprint, the vast majority of our carbon footprint comes from our Scope 3 GHG emissions and we will now begin executing strategies to reduce our supply chain emissions, as well as working to improve the social and environmental performance of our products, such as our Sunshirts, which are made from recycled plastic bottles (Repreve fabrics) and our flannels that are made with organic bio cotton (Global Organic Textile Standard) and are ethically sourced (SA8000 Standard).

Our 2019 Carbon Footprint & How We Went Carbon Neutral

We are still working on finalizing our 2020 Carbon Footprint, but we wanted to share with you how we went Carbon Neutral for 2019. You may be wondering, what does it mean to go carbon neutral? Well, according to the World Resources Institute, carbon neutrality is defined as “annual zero net anthropogenic (human caused or influenced CO2 emissions by a certain date. By definition, carbon neutrality means every ton of anthropogenic CO2 emitted is compensated with an equivalent amount of CO2 removed (e.g. via carbon sequestration)….”

RepYourWater’s carbon footprint is based in the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting Standard and is created as a reference for what we are included in our carbon footprint, which provides you with relevant, complete, consistent, transparent and accurate GHG inventory.

Spend-based method – Estimate emissions for goods and services by collecting data on the economic value of goods and services purchased and multiplying it by relevant secondary (e.g., industry average) emission factors (e.g., average emissions per monetary value of goods).

Organizational Boundary: We are taking a financial control approach, which assumes that our business has financial control over its operations and the ability to direct the financial and operating policies over these activities.

Operational Boundary: In order to set our operational boundaries, we must report our Scope 1 (direct emissions) and Scope 2 (indirect emissions) and are voluntarily reporting our Scope 3 (indirect emissions). Below is a list of what we included in our Carbon Footprint:

  • 1.1 Heating: We accounted for the GHG emissions associated with burning natural gas for heat at our headquarters/warehouse in Erie, CO.
  • 2.1 Electricity: We accounted for the GHG emissions associated with our electricity use at our headquarters/warehouse.
  • 3.1 Manufacturing/Product Embodied Carbon: Like all businesses who sell products, the large majority of our carbon footprint comes from manufacturing our products. For example, from growing cotton to manufacturing a final product, producing our shirts, hats and other apparel has an environmental impact, so we accounted for our products’ embodied carbon footprint.
  • 3.4 Inbound Shipments: Our products are made all over the world, including made in USA, but also in Asia, so we accounted for the GHG emissions associated with shipping our products to our headquarters/warehouse in Erie, CO.
  • 3.5 Waste Generated in Operations: We are very proud to be a Zero Waste operation at our headquarters/warehouse, but there are emissions associated with hauling our waste to the landfill and recycling center, so we accounted for those GHG emissions. Employee Commuting: We are a small company, so we took into account both Corinne and Garrison’s daily commute, and we estimated the commute of one employee’s commute due to the fact that we had a couple of employees in 2019 who didn’t work the entire year with us.
  • 3.6 Business Travel: We travel quite a bit regarding trade shows, photo shoots and fly fishing travel around the world. We accounted for the GHG emissions associated with business travel in 2019 for traveling to IFTD and The Fly Fishing Show, as well as traveling to Argentina and Chile to fish, which also doubled as photo shoots.
  • 3.7 Employee Commuting: We accounted for all of our employee’s roundtrip commute to our headquarters/warehouse in Erie, CO.
  • 3.9 Shipments to Customers: We ship a large number of packages directly to our customers and to our dealers, so we accounted for the GHG emissions associated with shipping our products to our customers.

 

Before we explain how we went carbon neutral, we feel it’s also important to define renewable energy credits (RECs) and carbon offsets:

Renewable Energy Credits (RECs): “A renewable energy certificate, or REC (pronounced: rěk), is a market-based instrument that represents the property rights to the environmental, social and other non-power attributes of renewable electricity generation. RECs are issued when one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity is generated and delivered to the electricity grid from a renewable energy resource.”

Carbon Offsets: “An offset project is “a specific activity or set of activities intended to reduce GHG emissions, increase the storage of carbon, or enhance GHG removals from the atmosphere.”3 The project must be deemed additional4; the resulting emissions reductions must be real, permanent, and verified; and credits (i.e., offsets) issued for verified emissions reductions must be enforceable.”

So, you are also probably wondering, how did we go carbon neutral if our carbon footprint is 220.1 mtCO2e? We first started with cleaning up our own act by upgrading to LED lights at our headquarters/warehouse, in addition to some other energy efficiency projects. We also decided to go Zero Waste in our operations, which helped to reduce our carbon footprint by sending less waste (by weight) to the landfill by composting, for example. We are a small business and we lease our warehouse space, so since installing renewable energy to reduce our footprint isn’t an option, we decided to purchase renewable energy credits (RECs). Through purchasing 100% renewable electricity from a zero-emission wind farm, we were able to eliminate GHG emissions associated with our electricity use.

For the remaining balance of our carbon footprint, which included our GHG emissions from heating, waste generated in operations, employee commuting, business travel, inbound shipments, shipments to customers, and product embodied carbon, we made the decision to purchase carbon offsets to achieve carbon neutrality. We decided to select carbon offset projects that were meaningful to our business purchased offsets from: Audubon Birds’ Sanctuary in South CarolinaNative Alaskans Saving Lands and May Ranch Grasslands Protection in our home state of Colorado through the nonprofit, Cool Effect. Below is a brief description of each project:

Audubon Birds Sanctuary in South Carolina: “Over the 100-year life of the project, this primeval swamp forest will sequester about 475,000 tonnes of CO₂ while serving as a wildlife sanctuary. It consists of 16,000 acres with approximately 1,800 acres of old-growth forest and is the world’s largest forest of virgin bald cypress and tupelo gum hardwood trees and swamp left in the world. Some trees in this 4 Holes Swamp forest are estimated to be more than 1,000 years old.”

Native Alaskans Saving Lands: “This 8,618-acre forest project located in the Southeast Alaska panhandle on the Prince of Wales Island will sequester 650,000 tonnes of emissions over the first 20 years of its 40-year life. Klawock Heenya consists of coastal rainforest of conifer, western hemlock-Sitka spruce and western redcedar-hemlock forests in Southeast Alaska.”

May Ranch Grasslands Protection in Colorado: “This project protects 14,546 acres of native grasslands across the Great Plains. Millions of tonnes of CO₂ are stored in plants and in the soil. By protecting this land from conversion to agricultural, a rich ecological habitat is maintained.”

While we are thrilled to have taken this step to better understand our carbon footprint, the real work now begins. Going forward, we will be working diligently on reducing the carbon footprint associated with the transportation of our products, as well as their embodied carbon. We will also continue to calculate our carbon footprint, execute carbon footprint reduction strategies and purchase REC’s and carbon offsets annually to maintain our carbon neutral status and will provide all of our shareholders with updates via an Annual Sustainability Report and our upcoming 2020 Carbon Footprint Report.

2025 Sustainability Goals

As we look towards the future, we will continue down our carbon neutral and zero waste path and begin to focus on improving the social and environmental performance of our products. We are not perfect, but we will continue to strive to protect what we love by using our business as a way to solve the climate crisis. Here are our 2025 Sustainability Goals:

  • Donate $500,000 to our Nonprofit Conservation Partners
  • Volunteer 500 hours to nonprofits
  • Maintain Carbon Neutral Status
  • Maintain Zero Waste Status
  • 100% of our products will be packaged using recycled materials or have no packaging
  • 50% of our apparel will contain recycled or organic materials
  • 25% of our headwear will contain recycled or organic materials

We look forward to continuing to measure the success of our business in large part by how much we can give back and by reducing our carbon footprint, while improving the livelihoods of the people who are making our products. Thank you for your support as we work to protect what we love!