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Since its establish in 2003, KEEN has lived by an unofficial mantra : “ Actions talk loud than words. ”
That ethos formed soon after the company ’ mho plunge, when sword leaders reallocated the entire annual selling budget to support tsunami calamity stand-in, and it ’ s driven the ship’s company ever since, now through the efforts of KEEN Effect—what the party calls its corporate social province ( CSR ) efforts .
“ We ’ ve systematically been led internally by our values, and we ’ ve done it in a relatively quiet way because we ’ re not the big guys on the blockage, ” Erik Burbank, frailty president of KEEN Effect, told Outside Business Journal.

He means that literally. KEEN ’ randomness neighbors in its hometown of Portland, Oregon, include Nike and Adidas, so it ’ mho been easy for the family-owned, privately held outdoor footwear brand to sit in the shadows and let those behemoths grab headlines .
But KEEN is staying quiet no more. A highly visible example of its newfound, blunt voice can be found in today ’ s edition of The New York Times .
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The party spent $ 70,000 for a full-page ad in the paper ’ randomness business section, challenging the outdoor footwear industry to join the brand and become PFC-free by 2025. In the ad, KEEN first gear welcomes Salomon to the “ PFC-free club ” after that trade name besides eliminated fluorinated chemicals from its provision chain, and then asks other footwear makers to hop aboard the “ detox travel ” it ’ mho been traveling for the last seven years .
KEEN New York Times adKEEN’s ad in The New York Times encourages other brands to improve their sustainability practices.
“ This detox travel started around 2014 with the belief that we need to do more, ” Burbank said. “ We wanted to focus on taking the toxins out of our supply chain. We ’ re about experiencing the outdoors and the mental and health benefits of being outside. The mind of our products causing human and planetal harm was contrary to our core impression. We dug into this issue, and what we found was that those PFCs were being applied on everything, so we started along this travel. ”

“Open-source code” for going PFC-free

KEEN ’ s finish with the splashy ad is double. First, it wants to get as many brands as possible to become PFC-free and have a lighter footprint on the planet. Second, KEEN wants others ’ journeys to be easier than its own. The company is sharing all the details of its “ Detox the Planet ” first step in a document called “ The Road to PFC-Free Footwear, ” which brands can use as a bit-by-bit lead .
“ In the digital populace, this is us making our code open source, ” Burbank said. “ Anybody can go in there, play around, look at it. We ’ ve set up a feedback cringle american samoa well so that people can contact us for serve with the roadmap, flush the challenges. ”
Burbank said KEEN views other footwear makers less as “ competitors ” and more as “ colleagues ” because “ we ’ re all on the lapp planet. The hope, whether it ’ s a little degree of borrowing or all the direction in, is that this helps generate a shift in how brands are approaching their add chain. ”

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Burbank said KEEN ’ s way to becoming PFC-free took a long clock time, but with the open-source tips and tools provided in the paper, early brands should be able to achieve the status in a class or two .
He besides noted that KEEN chose this date for the ad because March 22 is world Water Day .
“ It seemed a relevant here and now in time, ” Burbank said. “ PFCs leech out into the environment, and they ’ ra well dispersed through the environment, peculiarly through groundwater. ”

Speaking up about sustainability

Burbank said the come KEEN paid for the NYT ad might seem like a lot, but “ the monetary value of not doing something is far greater, ” he added .
He besides said he understands that going PFC-free could appear cost-prohibitive for some companies, and while he couldn ’ thymine put a price chase on KEEN ’ s total investment in this work, other than that it ’ randomness “ easily in the seven figures, ” he believes that giving other brands a roadmap will allow them to spend less to accomplish the same things .
“ Part of the ambition here is that by providing this roadmap, others can do it much more efficiently, ” he said. “ We didn ’ t have a roadmap, so we were trying to figure this out on our own through trial and error. That should save a lot of resources, both in human time and fiscal, for brands following this roadmap. ”

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Burbank said KEEN ’ s PFC-free journey is an ongoing enterprise, and part of the post ’ sulfur larger sustainability floor. recently, the company besides announced that it will reuse leather scraps from car seat manufacturers, upcycling them into footwear .
Another critical component of the open-source crusade is KEEN ’ s willingness to discuss what the company is doing quite than precisely letting its actions do all the talking. While the ad might seem to be about KEEN promoting its brand, “ that ’ s not what this is about, ” Burbank said .
“ We ’ re reluctantly stepping up, trying to try to bring our colleagues along with us in taking care of human and planet health, ” he said. “ Our mission is in truth about making the outdoors more accessible and inclusive for everybody. For that to work, we have to have an external for us to go and enjoy, an away for us to recreate in. We ’ ra feeling the imperative that person ’ mho got to step up and talk about it more publicly. ”

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