Last fall, we wrote about sustainability in tennis, and how to play tennis more sustainably. We are also committed to doing things sustainably ourselves as a brand. In light of Earth Day, we wanted to give you an update on our goals and progress towards those goals. We continue to believe moving in the right direction is important and by communicating our progress with you all, it keeps us and other brands honest about the progress we are making.
We’ve made good progress on converting our fabrics to recycled materials
We now make all of our performance products with the green leaf, meaning made with over 50% recycled or organic material. In fact, over 85% of our SP ’22 and SU ’22 performance products (made from synthetic materials such as polyester or nylon) are made from GRS® certified recycled fibers with the balance primarily spandex (elastane).
For our lifestyle apparel, we continue to use 100% responsibly sourced American (SUPIMA®) or Australian grown cotton. We are also using organic or recycled natural materials where possible in our accessories, which are made from GOTS® organic cotton and RWS merino wool.
In addition to fabric content, all of our fabrics (excluding trims, which account for a small fraction of our overall product content) are now made in OEKO-TEX® certified mills with certified finishes or applications (such as anti-odor applications).
We focus on premium quality for better products that last longer
All of our performance products are made with anti-odor applications such as Polygiene® and ionic+™ that prevent odor and bacteria growth, meaning these products will last longer and require less washing, saving energy, water and landfill resources. In some of our cotton products, we use natural peppermint oil to extend the life and reduce the need to wash, while also reducing the addition of synthetic chemical additives to natural cotton materials.
We think our packaging is best of breed
Virtually all of our packaging is made from recycled material that can be recycled in normal paper recycling, such as our FSC recycled kraft mailers, inserts and packing materials. Our compostable polybags are partially plant-based and can be home composted, but at a minimum will decompose in a landfill faster than conventional plastic. A small amount of our products ship from our suppliers with conventional polybags, and we have phased those out for future products.
2ndServ program available for customers to recycle used clothing
We initiated our 2ndServ program, providing a credit incentive to customers to recycle used activewear instead of throwing it in the trash. To learn more, visit 2ndServ.
Where do we go from here?
While we’ve made good progress since we’ve launched, sustainability is a long-term project and we still have work to do. Some of our long-term goals include:
- Continue to move towards 100% recycled, organic and biodegradable content. We are looking for spandex substitutes to reduce spandex usage (primary non-recycled fabric content in performance lines). Testing out biodegradable nylon and polyester fabrics and non-synthetic materials to reduce use of synthetics in our performance materials
- Ongoing research and improvement. We continue to look into new, more sustainable production methods, technologies and materials used by other brands and suppliers. Regular process and metrics to evaluate progress. Planning to implement a carbon footprint calculator for our products soon
- Move to full product and 100% supplier certification. We are in process of moving towards full product certification by working with our existing suppliers and/or looking for new suppliers to ensure all of the factories, vendors, trims and finishes that touch our products after the fabric mill have OEKO-TEX® or other certifications, such as bluesign®, ensuring our products are made to the highest environmental, safety and labor standards.
- Evaluating supply chain to reduce our carbon footprint. We are also continuing to evaluate our suppliers to reduce our carbon footprint, whether that is further consolidating within a certain region, such as southeast Asia, or moving more near-shore to the U.S.
Most of all, we need consumers to support brands that are doing the right thing! More demand for better products ultimately results in more products available that are made better. We hope you continue to do so and continue to support us as we look to bring more sustainable activewear to tennis.
Happy Earth Day!