Ever since Doug Robinson's visionary essay espousing the virtues of clean climbing ran in the '72 Chouinard Equipment catalog, we've rooted our company ethos in the idea that the style in which we accomplish our goals is as important as achieving them at all. We believe this applies as much to business as it does to climbing, and so we have paired an innovative approach to building equipment with an innovative approach to running a company—one that supports the preservation of, and access to, the places we hold so dear.
Today, we still make the world's best equipment for experiencing the mountains in a low impact way, and our business practices follow suit. More than 20 years after the creation of Black Diamond in 1989, we're a publicly-traded corporation comprised of some of the industry's top brands, and our commitment to good style is still our driving force—promoting fair labor practices and making our products, manufacturing processes, supply chains, facilities and marketing materials more sustainable and less environmentally impactful. Equally important is our continued outspoken advocacy and philanthropic support for conservation and access-focused non-profit groups. We know we can't single-handedly save the world, however we are committed to acting as socially and environmentally responsible as possible.
Building on years of organic, independent efforts, in 2010 we established an official Corporate Responsibility program for Black Diamond, Inc. to monitor and ensure social and environmental compliance and stewardship across our growing brands, supply chains and product diversity.
While we humbly acknowledge there is much more to do, we strive in all of our endeavors to ensure that our communities, environment and business continue to thrive for years to come.
Led by CEO and founder Peter Metcalf, Black Diamond has become a globally recognized voice for conservation and preservation ethics, particularly in Utah, where Black Diamond's global headquarters sit at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains. Metcalf believes that wilderness should be protected and valued, rather than exploited and abused by motorized groups, mining companies and land developers. Working with government agencies, landowners and advocacy groups, Black Diamond has led the way in showing that wilderness preservation and business success can be symbiotic.
While his many efforts are too numerous to name, some of Peter Metcalf's most recent awards include the Kirk Englehardt Business Ethics Award, MountainWest Capital Network's 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Outdoor Industry Association's Chairman's Award for unprecedented leadership, commitment and inspiration. In early 2013, Peter Metcalf was inducted into the American Alpine Club's Hall of Mountaineering Excellence for his early alpine pursuits, groundbreaking first ascents and unwavering commitment to land preservation.
We are also equally proud of the awards we have received as a company for our advocacy initiatives and commitment to preservation. Some of these include the Zions Bank's Global Pacesetter Award, Summit Land Conservancy's 2010 Conservation and Sustainability Award, Colorado Environmental Coalition's 2012 Rebel With A Cause Award, Save Our Canyons' 2013 Lone Peak Award for Wasatch conservation leadership, the Access Fund's 2012 Sharp End Award and the Utah River Council's Headwater's Award.
"To champion the preservation of, and access to, mountain, crag and canyon environments while minimizing our own environmental footprint."—BD founding commitments
Building world-class product requires exceptional design and ceaseless innovation. We apply these principles to our material selection, manufacturing processes and environmental compliance program. Black Diamond products are synonymous with outstanding performance—but not at the expense of destroying the lands where we recreate. We believe it is our responsibility not only to deliver the best performing gear, but to do so while minimizing adverse environmental effects.
Innovation in equipment requires developing new technologies and materials. At Black Diamond, we believe that reducing the environmental impact of a product—through design, engineering and efficiency—is an equally vital part of innovation. Research shows that approximately 60-70% of a product's environmental impact comes from the raw material and manufacturing supply chain. With this knowledge, Black Diamond has adopted the best available tools in the industry to responsibly manage the environmental impact and consumer safety of our raw materials, chemistries and manufacturing processes. These tools guide the production of all Black Diamond products, whether manufactured by us or an outside vendor.
"Even though I'm very proud of the products we make, it is the style in which we conduct our business that means the most to me.—Peter Metcalf, CEO and founder
From our headquarters in Utah to our factory in China, we are committed to complying with the highest standards of social responsibility at all our operations. We take care choosing our vendors and partners, and maintain a strict Vendor Code of Conduct, collaborating with our partners to make continuous improvements, apply best practices and conduct annual audits to ensure the safety and fair treatment of all those who work for or manufacture Black Diamond product.
We care deeply about the health, welfare and safety of all those who manufacture our products, and believe the most effective way to ensure this is by selecting the right partners. For more than twenty years we have chosen vendors who share our commitment to Corporate Responsibility: professionals equally invested in their people and their craft. In addition to an extensive vetting process, we require each vendor who supplies Black Diamond product to adhere to the standards and regulations outlined in our Vendor Code of Conduct.
In accordance with the International Labour Organization Conventions, the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN's Conventions on Children's Rights and the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women, our Vendor Code of Conduct defines standards to ensure that working conditions in our entire supply chain are safe, that workers are treated with respect and dignity, and that our manufacturing processes are environmentally responsible. We believe in these standards, and are committed to providing assistance and training to our partners so that together we can meet them.
Social responsibility has always been a fundamental value and focus at Black Diamond. As a founding member of the Outdoor Industry Association's Fair Labor Working Group in 2005, we helped to tackle the need for greater education of best practices in social compliance in the Outdoor Industry, drafting the OIA's first Fair Labor Toolkit used by companies throughout the outdoor industry to establish social compliance programs.
Historically, we relied on this Toolkit and our Vendor Code of Conduct to carry out routine social compliance audits of our partners. This has since given way to our current model of unannounced, third-party social audits to check in and review how our partners are performing. These professional audits provide a snapshot of a factory's working conditions, management systems and compliance with local and international labor laws. We use the audit reports to highlight areas for improvement and to create Corrective Action Plans. Like the rest of us, our partners are not perfect; these audits provide specific direction for continuous progress.
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way."—John C. Maxwell
As part of our commitment to promote social and environmental responsibility, we support dozens of conservation, education and recreation groups dedicated to protecting, preserving and ensuring public access to the wild lands we love. We also believe that businesses have a role to play in shaping the discourse on social and environmental responsibility. We endeavor to lead by example by reducing the environmental impacts of our products, engaging in public advocacy, and bending our business towards sustainability over the long term.
While there are many ways to give back to and promote conservation, at Black Diamond we prefer to lead by example and walk our talk. From chemical management programs to energy efficiency to employee transportation, we are constantly looking at new ways to reduce our footprint. Learn more about some of the efforts going on across our global campuses below.
In 2009, we initiated a closed-loop anodization process at Black Diamond Asia that reuses and recycles 2000 tons of wastewater. One of the first processes of its kind in Asia, it delivered a dramatic improvement over traditional anodization practices where wastewater is dumped back into the water table. Similarly, all of the wastewater from our tumble and polish process (used in the manufacturing of everything from carabiners to crampons) is recycled. Black Diamond also boils off water from oil/water mixes used in production and sends the oil out to be recycled.
All of our scrap metal and excess cardboard from the Salt Lake City, Utah and Zhuhai, China manufacturing facilities is recycled. We purchase cardboard containing an average of 35% post-consumer recycled material, saving approximately 370 trees from being cut down. During the baseline year in Salt Lake City, Black Diamond and Waste Management recycled an estimated 25 tons of Black Diamond's waste—approximately 60% of the organization's total solid waste stream. This included approximately 138 tons of cardboard, 43 tons of metals, 28 tons of paper, 26 tons of plastics and 1,776 lbs of computer waste. This recycling effort amounted to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of approximately 510 tons CO2—roughly equivalent to not driving 720,000 miles each year.
Our European office also does its part to encourage personal recycling. At both the office and the warehouse, all waste is separated down into minute categories for recycling. From paper, to cardboard, to cans, to plastic, to individual glass separated by color, Black Diamond Europe leads by example.
For the past two years, Black Diamond Europe has also organized Chasin' the Rubbish in Fontainebleau, France. Over the four-day Easter holiday, the Black Diamond team, Black Diamond athletes and numerous boulderers come together to clean up rubbish and raise awareness about adopting respectful attitudes toward nature and rock. With 1.2 million climbers visiting Fountainbleau each year, the area can get littered with trash. This four-day activity helps keep the remarkable area as clean as it is stunning.
Black Diamond is a Blue Sky Program "Champion Level" participant, purchasing 180,000 kWh of Blue Sky wind power offsets each year. Twenty percent of the power used at our Salt Lake City office—home to our headquarters and manufacturing facilities—is wind generated, a significant amount for a manufacturing operation with laser cutters, CNCs, EDM wire cutters, big automated equipment, heat treating, and more. We also have a 2,200 Watt solar photovoltaic system that generates approximately 3,000 kWh of electricity each year, supplying roughly 7% of the retail store's electricity needs. All together, our energy conservation and renewable energy efforts eliminate over 220 tons of CO2 greenhouse gas emissions annually, equivalent to not driving over 320,000 miles each year.
Our newly expanded & renovated 12,000 square feet of space in the SLC headquarters is extremely energy efficient: if this expansion/renovation was a free-standing building it would qualify for LEED Certification. It will draw an impressively low level of power and water, and was constructed with many recycled and new high-tech super insulative materials.
Rhenus Logistics - Europe Warehouse
The new Rhenus warehouse meets DGNB Standards (deutsches Gütesiegel für nachhaltiges Bauen - German Product Certification for Sustainable Construction). Making use of passive polar heating and cooling, the buildings require no additional energy to power air conditioning or cooling of the buildings. A green roof also contributes to energy savings. This roof is constructed over an area totaling 10,400 m2 on top of the temperature-controlled warehouses and provides cooling in summer and retains heat in the building during winter.
Black Diamond employees in Salt Lake City commuted an estimated 410,000 miles via carpool, bus, TRAX, bicycle and foot during the baseline year, or approximately 34% of the year's total commute miles. These actions reduced greenhouse gasses by an estimated 190 tons CO2.
Each Year Black Diamond participates in the Clear Air Challenge here in Salt Lake City. In 2010, Team Black Diamond eliminated 1259 trips and 8659 miles as part of the Clean Air Challenge. Check out the latest at cleartheairchallenge.org
The BD Asia global distribution center is a 70,000-square-foot warehouse attached to our BD-operated manufacturing and office facilities, and allows us to aggregate the shipping of all of the BD goods made by or for us throughout Asia. This means fewer shipments, greater efficiency, higher inventory turns and a blessing for our global distributors and key retailers. It also greatly reduces the size of our global shipping energy footprint.
The product manufactured by our subsidiary in China is sea-freighted to our Europe warehouse in Basel. The product is first transported by container ship to Rotterdam and then transferred to canal barges. The CO2 footprint is several times lower than for air-freighted product.
Recognizing the important work of those before us, and committed to preserving the environment for the generations to come, Black Diamond, Inc. supports numerous organizations and efforts to preserve the places where we climb, ski and trek. In addition to financial support, we also offer consulting services, employee volunteers, product and publicity to ensure the effectiveness of these groups far into the future.
The Access Fund
Dedicated to preserving access to climbing areas across the nation, the Access Fund lobbies on behalf of one million rock climbers and mountaineers in America. In 2002, Black Diamond received the “Sharp End” award, which acknowledges leadership and activism in preserving climbing access and the climbing environment. Black Diamond contributes cash, time and product to the Access Fund—and assists all employees in becoming members by matching membership fees.
American Alpine Club
Generations of climbers have benefited from the work of the AAC. Join today to get global rescue service, the American Alpine Journal, Accidents in North American Mountaineering, hut discounts, and more. Membership also supports the country's largest grants program for climbers, as well as vital conservation and advocacy initiatives that protect the places we climb. Discover the AAC for yourself at one of their events, like the annual Craggin' Classic.
American Mountain Guides Association
The American Mountain Guides Association is a non-profit organization that represents the interests of American mountain guides by providing support, education and standards. Black Diamond is a Diamond Partner of the AMGA, and provides scholarships to every candidate in the Rock discipline exams—including several full-tuition scholarships.
The Conservation Alliance
The Conservation Alliance is an organization of outdoor businesses whose collective contributions support grassroots environmental organizations and their eﬀorts to protect wild places where outdoor enthusiasts recreate. Alliance funds have played a key role in protecting rivers, trails, wilderness and climbing areas throughout North America.
Since its inception in 1989, the Alliance has contributed more than $7 million to grassroots environmental groups. Alliance funding has helped save over 39 million acres of wilderness; stop or remove 27 dams; and preserve access to more than 16,000 miles of waterways and several climbing areas.
Friends of Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center
Black Diamond is the largest private contributor to any forecast center in the USA. Black Diamond employees have served on the Friends of the Utah Center's board, we donate our offices to the UAC for meetings, and we have lobbied other businesses, congressmen, senators and Forest Service officials on behalf of the UAC. Host to the UAC annual fall fundraiser, last year Black Diamond provided the financial support to bring together over 700 backcountry skiers and raise over $35,000.
Mugs Stump Award
The Mugs Stump Award provides low-impact, environmentally-conscious alpine climbers the opportunity to realize their dreams. With financial backing and an ongoing presence in our catalogs, Black Diamond encourages all climbers to apply for the award and to move toward a low-impact vision in the mountains.
Outdoor Industry Foundation
The Outdoor Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor enthusiasts. Through ground-breaking research, action-oriented convening and outreach and education programs, The Foundation is working with partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors.
Salt Lake Climbers Alliance
The Wasatch Mountains are a climber's paradise. Located within minutes of Salt Lake City, these mountains host an incredible variety of climbing terrain. From long, multi-pitch routes in alpine settings to a lifetime of bouldering, it can all be found in the Wasatch. The Salt Lake Climbers Alliance is dedicated to promoting climbing opportunities, preserving local access for climbers and encouraging good stewardship of both our climbing areas and the surrounding environment.