How do we define sustainability?
Sustainable development has been defined in many ways, and the most frequently quoted definition is from the Brundtland Report, presented by the United Nations in 1987:
''Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs''
A sustainable development includes a wide range of aspects that are usually put into three categories: the social, ecological, and economic aspects.
To simplify a bit: The planet has its ecological boundaries – we only have one planet with limited resources. The people have basic physical human needs (food and shelter, etc.) and the right to be respected and treated fairly. A sustainable business needs to respect both the planet’s ecological boundaries and the people’s social boundaries. When doing so, the economic profit takes both the ecological costs and the social costs into account.
For Icebug, this means that we need to know how our business is impacting the social aspects and the ecological (environmental) aspects in all parts of our value chain. Then, we take action to reduce the negative impacts that our business causes and boost the positive impacts.
As for the economic aspects, like most companies, Icebug has good control of the traditional financial aspects as this is what gives us the ability to survive, innovate, and grow. Profit is not an end-target by itself, but it is a necessary means for activity. An unprofitable company is not sustainable.
However, we aim to take it further. One way to pay the ecological costs that the Icebug business causes is to climate offset for all parts of our business. READ MORE about Icebug offsetting here.
We have added our understanding of the economic aspects for a sustainable business, acting within the described boundaries. One of the aspects, transparency and sharing, we believe is key to achieve the needed change in time. READ MORE about Transparency and traceability here.
In our Sustainability Report, we mapped the most significant and relevant sustainability aspects of Icebug’s total activity. Health and well-being was clearly the highest prioritized aspect, followed by hazardous chemicals, energy and climate, working conditions, transparency and sharing, and waste and circularity.
To determine how much of a real sustainability gain something is, it’s useful to apply the perspectives:
Is it really a solution to a problem or is it just something which has a better impact? Or even a “less bad” impact – when it comes to products, they will realistically always use resources of some type, which means we can’t say that they’re environmentally friendly.
If it’s not scalable and replicable, it means that it will have very little effect. For example, a small-scale special project (that is not scalable) will have less effect than changing the main materials used in the production in the majority of your products.
In 2015, all United Nations Member States agreed upon The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are widely used all over the world, by companies, organizations, and countries to communicate sustainability work and progress.
SDG 3 Good Health and wellbeing. In action: Promote healthy lifestyles by empowering and inspiring outdoor activities all year-round. Reduce slipping related accidents and injuries.
SDG 6 Clean water and sanitation. In action: Using dyeing and leather tanning techniques with less water consumption, using materials with environmental certifications such as bluesign®.
SDG 8 Decent work and economic growth. In action: Close and long-term collaboration with our assembly factories, following up on social conditions for workers. Developing an operative system and culture at Icebug where people grow by learning new things.
SDG 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure. In action: Replacing standard materials with innovative, sustainable materials and processes, creating new ways of collaboration and sharing between industries, and measuring of climate impact to find improvement possibilities.
SDG 12 Responsible consumption and production. In action: Giving our customers the choice of more sustainable shoes than the standard shoe, and encouraging to only buy what you need, to repair and care for a long lifetime of the products. Utilize natural resources responsibly and consume within what the planet can provide. Learn how to use and produce in sustainable ways that will reverse the harm that we have inflicted on the planet.
SDG 13 Climate action. In action: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions at least in line with the science-based targets cut (50% of emissions by 2030 to have a chance to stay within 1,5 degrees). Offset all remaining unavoidable emissions with a surplus. Net zero now and forever.
SDG 14 Life below water. In action: Replacing some of the fossil foams with algae harvested from overgrown lakes.
SDG 15 Life on land. In action: Searching for (climate efficient) bio-based materials with lowest possible impact on the eco systems, for instance organic textile fibers from sustainable farming or forestry, sustainable animal breading for leather and wool.
SDG17 Partnerships for the goals. In action: Share all sustainability wins we make for other that want to use them. Actively seek cooperation and participating in several networks.
Outside of what we do ourselves, we channel support for working towards the global goals through being a member in 1% for the Planet.
Sustainability is a difficult topic and there will always be a lot more to learn. It remains unclear if it will be possible to become a fully sustainable company, so we don’t claim to be a sustainable company. However, we do commit to being a company that does our utmost to take responsibility.