As I sat around a campfire on St James Station in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, marvelling at the starry sky and thinking about some of the great hunting and fishing adventures I've had, I couldn’t help but think about how the fishing seasons have changed over the last 25 years. In such a short amount of time, the weather and temperature ranges we are operating in have changed significantly and this has affected fishing patterns dramatically. It is clear that the significant changes happening in our environment are caused by how we as humans are living and consuming.
At Riverworks, our goal is to make high performance, long lasting fly fishing gear while reducing the negative impact on the environment as much as possible. In 2017 we launched our Sustainability Promise, in which Riverworks commits to integrate sustainable practices throughout the entire company.
We are a company based in New Zealand which is known as a clean, green part of the world. Our product manufacturing is done overseas in Asia, USA, and Europe. Whilst travelling to these locations we noticed the very different levels of pollution. In China, during winter the air can be so thick with pollution that you can barely see 100m ahead. We started thinking about how terrible it is that as an outdoor brand we are manufacturing our products in such a polluted part of the world and thus contributing to this destructive mess. We, like you, have a passion for the wild and like to think we do what we can to minimise our impact on the environment. Being able to hand the fly fishing tradition down to our future generations is extremely important to us.
In November 2016 we began a 12 month review process. This review investigated the impact we have on the environment at every stage of our product lifecycle. We delved into all areas of the company, right through to our factories supply lines, their supplier's supply lines, and the raw materials that go into our products, in order to estimate our overall waste footprint. From there we looked at what could be done to become an environmentally friendlier, more sustainable company.
During this review, we found some pretty nasty things; things we are quite ashamed of, but are not hiding from. Now that we are fully aware of these issues, we are able to turn these negatives around and contribute to the environment in a positive way. However, we have found that the price of being environmentally and socially responsible is significantly more than the industry standard. We also found the design time increases as more care has to be taken to ensure that we are doing things the sustainable way.
We had to make some pretty tough decisions as to whether we could support these increased costs and additional design times. But when push came to shove, the vote at Riverworks was unanimous for doing everything we could to reduce our social and environmental impact. The cause is bigger than us as a company.
As a result, you as a consumer know that when you are purchasing Riverworks gear, you will be paying slightly more for a product that will perform to the highest standard but you are also supporting a brand that is doing its utmost to have the smallest social and environmental footprint in the industry.
I would like to thank my team for supporting the company-wide initiative that we are all hoping will become an industry-wide initiative. We are continuing to review our supply lines at a great depth and as we develop new products to replace existing items, we are becoming more socially responsible and sustainable. Check out each of our Sustainability Promise initiatives below.