Entry Two. March 2021.
Nothing is created. Nothing Disappears. Everything is just transformed. This is the first law of thermodynamics. That all matter, all energy, all things that exist simply shape shift. Nothing is ever destroyed, nothing ever actually disappears. How bonkers is that when you actually take a moment to think about it? Us Yogi’s speak a lot about the shifting of energy and a more esoteric experience of the universe and energy exchange but lets take it back to science for now.
Moreover lets take the conceptual out of the universe for a moment. We live on this planet full of matter of varying composition and origin, from plants to sand to minerals to metals. None of which actually disappears. It only shape shifts. Okay, got it.
So now let's get into the science of sustainability because facts are something that cannot be argued with or denied. In order to do so we need to be able to define what “Sustainability” actually means. And this was our first stumbling block.
We put this question to you, our incredible community (we love the fact you always want to get involved in our explorations!) and our team. Each answer was similar, yet different, a multitude of perspectives and hierarchy of importance. Some were opposing. Some were vague. Some we tried to dig a little deeper on, for example “Sustainable = eco friendly” but what does “eco friendly” mean to you?
It became apparent quite quickly that sustainability is not clear cut. And we were not alone in this. One of the leading figureheads in the sustainability movement Karl Henrik Robert was frustrated at lack of common language around this subject and noted that without understanding the root cause how could we ever create progressive change? In 1989, he circulated a paper on sustainability to 50 scientists, asking for their input. The extensive deliberative process involved 22 versions, but a consensus emerged that led to The Natural Step. The Natural Step framework sets out the system conditions for sustainability, as well as guidelines to systematically approach compliance with the principles. The Natural Step aims to be both scientifically based and readily understandable in its articulation of principles for sustainability.
Phew no wonder we are all a bit lost at sea in this! If it took 50 scientists, 22 drafts to come to agreement then its okay to find the field of sustainability difficult to navigate. Unfortunately this leaves the space wide open to misinformation, to projecting what maybe a brand wants you too see rather than reality, to putting your best foot forward and leaving the sock-less, shoe with a hole in somewhat in the shadows.
So as a brand we have decided to take a stand. Like we said in post one, when we began Yogi Bare we were operating on the knowledge on sustainable materials and process that was out there readily available to research. Every day more and more brands are emerging echoing this information, thus perpetuating the chain. So in sharing our progress, our knowledge and discoveries openly and transparently we actually hope, implore you to STEAL THESE NOTES. Very banksy I know. But that how change on mass happens.
Sustainability is commonly understood to require the balanced pursuit of three goals: ecological health, social equity, and economic welfare. These were all reflected in your answers to us and simplified: PEOPLE, PLANET, ECONOMY = FUTURE.
It is grounded on the ethical commitment to the well-being not only of contemporary populations but also the well- being and enhanced opportunities of future generations. The scientific and technical professions have a special responsibility in this regard because the knowledge and technologies they develop and employ have immense impacts on natural environments, economies, and the empowerment of citizens and societies. Moreover, their efforts and achievements can continue to produce effects, for good or ill, well into the future.
However the nitty gritty of this as a small or any business is rift with complexities. As my personal hero and founder of Patagonia Yvon Chouinard states “Everything man does creates more harm than good. We have to accept that fact and not delude ourselves into thinking something is sustainable. Then you can try to achieve a situation where you’re causing the least amount of harm possible. That’s the spin we put on it. It’s a never-ending summit. You’re just climbing forever.”
As daunting as this statement was as a business owner, within the honesty and factuality was a sense of peace. It made me realise our first steps loud and clear:
Define our guiding light principles for every business decision moving forward.
Audit our entire range and create a Good/Better/Best time line towards shifting everything in line with our research and guiding principles. No matter the price. No matter the cost.
We were all in.
The best known definition of sustainability is the one stated in the thesis Our Common Future, more commonly known as the Brundtland Report: “..meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” The whole document boils down to the fact that this is our responsibility of our society to make good choices in order to preserve, protect and restore our resources and environment for the future. We cannot be selfish now and must recognise our role in this. Maybe this in the true meaning of life? We are the trustees and caretakers of the planet for a given amount of time before we hand on to the next generation – alongside sharing our knowledge, our mistakes and our solutions. Some papers state this and requires enormous changes in thinking, policy, and basic assumptions about the economy for its full implementation. But for me it all boils down to honesty, transparency and communication. We are all interdependent, so come on guys less of the greenwashing, less of the competition over community in this. Change and eco consciousness isn’t a game of who shouts loudest about the good, its about how we create solutions for the bad. Why? Because while its not the sexiest, most Instagram friendly thing – it’s the right thing to do.
So heres my line in the sand;
Part One, the manifesto.
Yogi Bare’s Internal Manifesto and commitment to a sustainable future:
Sustainability is at the top of every meeting agenda
We will continuously audit, challenge and seek alternatives for or remove materials within our current range by 2024.
We will challenge and ask any new retailers or studios about their commitment to sustainability. If they need guidance in their journey we will help them. This goes beyond our range. We will advise them and educate in any means necessary.
Any new product development will have sustainability at its core. If it cannot live up to our self imposed standards we will not proceed until it can.
We will share and document all changes, learnings and our personal journey to help others and be transparent within our community.
We will always be open and not use alienating terminology in conveying our messages. Learning should be accessible and our doors will always be open to questions and challenges.
We aim to implement closed loop processes.
Sustainability isn’t just in the manufacturing and process of creation. We will always look to solutions and repurposing of existing products within the yoga industry – ours and others.
Until next time,
Kat. Founder Yogi Bare.