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Royal Robbins announced 3 major commitments to sustainability and socially responsible business practices – becoming a bluesign® System Partner, our 20-year allegiance to a Code of Conduct with factory partners, and the OIWC Pledge for Gender Diversity. CEO Michael Millenacker joins the Go Everywhere blog to talk about where our commitment to social responsibility comes from and where we’re going.

Royal Robbins, who made the first solo ascent of El Capitan in 1961, was a pioneer of clean climbing and sustainability,

We’ve been making a lot of changes around here lately to push our brand forward. But when you have a heritage like ours and incredible founders like Royal and Liz Robbins (who gave me my first job in the outdoor industry), sometimes pushing forward means looking back.

Royal Robbins’ commitment to environmental and social responsibility dates back to before the brand’s birth in the Yosemite Valley in 1968.

Royal Robbins was one of the first and most vocal proponents of clean climbing. In the spring of 1967, after returning from a climbing trip in England, where removable nuts were rapidly gaining popularity, he and his wife, Liz, made the first ascent of Nutcracker in Yosemite Valley, using only removable nuts for protection. It was the first climb of its kind in the United States.

Later that year, Robbins advocated using nuts rather than pounding pitons into the granite cracks in a seminal article in Summit Magazine. This was the beginning of the clean climbing revolution in the United States, and one of the first sustainability stories in the outdoor adventure gear industry.

Environmental safekeeping is the core foundation of our brand’s heritage. Our team is devoted to building on Royal and Liz’s legacy of leadership and progressive business practices.

bluesign® System Partner

We recently partnered with bluesign® Technologies in order to evaluate and reduce the environmental impacts of our textile production and manufacturing chains. bluesign® will help us work with our factory partners to improve our performance resource and energy productivity and consumer safety, and reduce the impacts of water emissions, air emissions and occupational health and safety.

Why is this important? Simply put, we want to be a leader in sustainable apparel production. The bluesign® system integrates the entire textile supply chain to jointly reduce its impact on people and the environment in a holistic manner. Currently, we have nearly 30 styles that use bluesign® approved fabrics, and we’re not satisfied. Stay tuned for a more detailed post about bluesign® next month.

Code of Conduct

Over 20 years ago, we developed a detailed Code of Conduct. We have a core set of values and principles, and we require that our manufacturing partners commit to those same principles. Our Code of Conduct covers several areas, including environmental safekeeping, ethical standards, anti-discrimination measures and fair labor practices. To ensure compliance, we conduct audits every year through third-party social compliance auditing firms. This summer, we’ll take you on an in-depth exploration of how we choose and work with our manufacturing partners.

Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition’s CEO Pledge

In January, I signed the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition’s CEO Pledge to support a more sustainable industry based on inclusiveness and gender diversity. Liz Braund, Royal Robbins’ VP of Product Design and Development and a former Board Member of the OIWC, brought the Pledge to me, and frankly, signing it was a no brainer.

We were founded by an incredible husband-wife team in Royal and Liz Robbins, who proved that diversity of thought and gender heightens success.

Today we have nearly a 50-50 split between men and women at every level of our business. Not only is the right thing to do, but it is also good business. Innovation can only come from bringing different groups of people with new ideas together.
As a company, we are dedicated to bringing you the best outdoor apparel, outdoor sportswear, and adventure travel gear that we can, whether you are hiking, trekking, or exploring a museum. Our customers get dressed once and are equipped for a full day of activities, both indoors and out.

But in the spirit of Royal and Liz, it is not just getting to the top, but how you get there that matters. We will continue to strive for greater environmental and social responsibility.