The Boot Lab

Small Business, Big Changes

Over the last few years repair, re-use and recycle has become the mantra for The Boot Lab. We have a passion for making sure products are used to their full potential and that they last. This focus we placed on products led us down the pathway of something bigger and we began to analyse our entire business, looking carefully at all the parts we could adapt to reduce our environmental impact.

We started to create a list of areas we could focus on as a business and this led us to the idea of creating a pledge system. And in turn this lead us to create “One Tree at a Time”. The idea is to provide the industry with a set of ever adjusting pledges, which drive us to improve our impact on the world.

“What started out as a project at The Boot Lab is developing into an industry standard, and as a business we’re determined to change every aspect of the way we operate. Through leadership we’re encouraging others to follow.”

The Pledge System

We decided to enlist the support of others that are more qualified in this area. Sam Mackenzie with a Masters in Environmental Studies, Dan Jones with a Masters in Sustainable Environmental management and Niccolò Primo a renewable energy engineer helped us put together our pledge.

We broke our impact down into three key sections to focus on. Greenhouse gas reduction, plastic/waste reduction and sustainability and education. Each section then consisted of a list of improvements we could strive to make. We then awarded each target with a point grade and over the last two years we have been making these changes to our business.

The Pledge is reviewed each year to see how we’re doing and it is upgraded to drive us towards making further changes.

What is the most positive environmental impact that you have made?

The “Fix It” tour was an event that we ran last winter. It encouraged people to repair, reuse and recycle their ski equipment. It was a huge success and through the event we fundraised enough to plant over 50,000 trees. The most positive outcome though was to see people start to change their habits, we have received regular updates on how we’ve changed the way people think about their ski equipment.

Which pledge are you focused on delivering in the future?

We really want to ensure that our business is run on carbon neutral electricity. We’re currently researching where our energy comes from, and it’s a bit of a mine field. France consistently generates over 90% of its electricity from low carbon sources. If you want to see how your country is doing there is a fantastic website called electricity map that delivers live electricity supply information for each individual country.

We have looked into changing supplier but we’re still trying to find out if our electricity in resort is supplied by the local hydro electric dams. If this is the case then by changing supplier we’re having very little effect. So we’ve decided to take a different approach, we’re now researching into investing in solar panels for schools in the UK. Take a look at Ethex to see various social/environmental projects looking for funding.