Today is climate day / Global Climate Strike and here at AVT we are doing nothing to celebrate this.. but let me explain why.
Our business is based largely on selling high quality, Made-In-USA components from trusted brands like Chris King, White Industries, Phil Wood and PAUL. While it's easy to get seduced by all this bike bling and think it’s all about getting the latest and greatest shiny parts for your new ride there is a more significant angle to why we sell these brands. And this is where Climate Day comes in.
As you may or may not know, these manufacturers go to great lengths to produce parts in a sustainable way. Chris King for example is a model of responsible manufacturing, recycling as much as they can to minimize environmental impact.manufacturing, recycling as much as they can to minimize environmental impact.
Image courtesy Saddleback.
In addition, these parts last much longer than alternatives from bigger brands that rely on Asian manufacturing. Being able to service parts with high quality bearings in on a regular basis means they can last a lifetime. Plus the ability to upgrade to meet changing future standards also extends their life. Finally.. (and I should add that we’ve not researched or tested this this) but given most of these components are made from Aluminium, they can in theory be recycled at the end of their useful life.
Let's contrast this with one of the industries largest brands who proudly annoucned it was shutting down it’s HQ and website in order to support Climate Day. While having the support of such a huge brand is admirable and helps to raise awareness of the cause I can’t help but think this is a cynical marketing ploy.
While i’m sure their staff appreciate the day off, this whole thing rings a little hollow in my eyes as the majority of big brands in our business are built on an incredibly UN-sustainable business model. The environmental impact of volume carbon manufacturing in the fast east is significant. The distance and carbon cost of transporting container loads of frames and components across the world is huge. Many of these parts are not designed to last very long, and at their end of life what happens to all that carbon?? The majority ends up in landfill as the industry has not figured out a way to re-cycle it.
OK so maybe it's unfair to call out Specialized per-se here, it’s the whole industry that has a problem, but if you’re going to put yourself on a pedestal like this, expect some constructive questioning.
So what does this all have to do with AVT, and we sell carbon parts don’t we? Well the answer is this is a preview of things to come here at AVT. We do sell some carbon parts, we know they are inherently un-sustainable so over the coming weeks and months you’ll see us trim back our lineup of parts like this, and start to ask the question of when is a carbon part really necessary.
We’re going to be doing everything that we can to minimise the distance that parts travel before they get to you and adopting more sustainable / recycled packaging (so don't be alarmed if your new hubs show up in a box on it's second use!). Regular readers of our blog know that we love steel and Ti frames, so you’ll see more focus on this sort of thing including some more projects that up-cycle older or used frames with new parts.
Ultimately that’s why we’re doing nothing for Climate Day. We're working on this every day as we try and become more sustainable ourselves, and educate and inform our customers on how to do the same.