Ever since Doug Robinson's visionary essay espousing the virtues of clean climbing ran in the '72 Chouinard Equipment catalog, our company ethos has been rooted 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, so we have paired an innovative approach to building equipment with a unique approach to running a company—one that supports the preservation of, and access to, the places we love.
Today, we make the world's best mountain equipment 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 global industry leader, and our commitment to good style is still our driving force.
Building on years of organic, independent efforts, we strive in all of our endeavors to ensure that our communities, environment and business continue to thrive for years to come. .
"Conservation and preservation are foundational to Black Diamond. These tenets are part of the mission of BD. We will always strive to protect access to the mountains, crags and desert landscapes where we pursue our sports."—John Walbrecht, President of Black Diamond
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. We view the Utah landscape as an asset. Whether backcountry skiing in the Wasatch, rock climbing in Indian Creek or hiking in Zion, Black Diamond has always been and will continue to be committed to accessing the public lands and National Parks that make Utah unique.
Wilderness should be protected and valued, rather than exploited and abused. 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.
Black Diamond is 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 Conservation and Sustainability Award, Colorado Environmental Coalition's Rebel With A Cause Award, Save Our Canyons' Lone Peak Award for Wasatch conservation leadership, the Access Fund's Sharp End Award and the Utah River Council's Headwater's Award.
Recognizing the important work of those before us, and committed to preserving the environment for the generations to come, Black Diamond also 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 groups include: The Access Fund, American Institute for Avalanche Research & Education, The Conservation Alliance, Friends of Colorado Avalanche Information Center, Salt Lake Climbers Alliance, Save Our Canyons, Utah Avalanche Center and Utah Dine Bikeyah. .
"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, Black Diamond 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.
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 The Netherlands. 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
Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. Founded in 1991, the Access Fund supports and represents millions of climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and bouldering. Six core programs support the mission on national and local levels: climbing policy and advocacy, stewardship and conservation, local support and mobilization, land acquisition and protection, risk management and landowner support, and education.
American Institue for Avalanche Research & Education
AIARE is a non-profit with a simple mission, "to save lives through avalanche education". AIARE creates avalanche education curriculum and trains instructors to teach that curriculum. More than 7000 students enroll in classes each year using the AIARE avalanche education curriculum.
The Conservation Alliance
The Conservation Alliance is a group of outdoor industry companies that disburses its collective annual membership dues to grassroots environmental organizations. We direct our funding to community-based campaigns to protect threatened wild habitat and outdoor recreation. The Alliance was founded in 1989 by industry leaders, who shared the goal of increasing outdoor industry support for conservation efforts. We now have more than 200 member companies, and have disbursed close to $17.5 million since our inception.
Friends of Colorado Avalanche Information Center
THE resource for current avalanche and snow pack information in Colorado.
Salt Lake Climbers Alliance
The Salt Lake Climbers Alliance exists to provide a unified voice for climbers in the Wasatch and surrounding regions through advocacy, stewardship, community, and education.We are Utah’s leading voice for climbing access and stewardship: uniting, educating, and inspiring climbers of all disciplines to serve their local climbing community since 2002.
Save Our Canyons
Dedicated to protecting the beauty and wildness of the Wasatch canyons, mountains, and foothills.
Utah Avalanche Center
The mission of the Utah Avalanche Center is to keep people on top of the Greatest Snow on Earth by providing the avalanche knowledge winter backcountry users need to make wise decisions in the mountains. The non-profit/Forest Service partnership produces up-to-date avalanche advisories and education state-wide.
Utah Dine Bikeyah
Utah Diné Bikeyah works with Tribes to protect and activate the Bears Ears landscape through respectful forms of recreation, traditional cultural use, and native knowledge.