“I have seen the ‘giving back’ movement so much in businesses lately. It’s amazing! Think of all the good that could be done if every business had a cause that they supported.”

While most of us are eager to do our part to help save the environment, many believe that the only way to do so is through radical changes to our lifestyle, which can often be difficult to implement. However, what many aren’t aware of is the fact that simple, everyday actions can make a massive difference to our ecosystems. While changing your lifestyle to adopt an eco-friendlier approach has an important impact on our planet, there are other ways to make a change too.

On 22 April the world commemorates Earth Day, a global event that celebrates Mother Nature and our planet. Thanks to the participation of nearly 200 countries around the world, Earth Day has gradually become a worldwide celebration that encourages people everywhere to be more environmentally friendly and celebrate our planet.

In honour of Earth Day 2016, the IPF is shining a light on a project that we think are the perfect example of a unique and environmentally-friendly approach to business. Forestry Clothing was started in 2013 in the United States by Nick St Pierre, Josh McCormick, Kyle Ingram, and Tanner Smith. This young (aged 19-21 back then) and bright group of close friends combined their creative ideas and skills with their common love for the nature of the Pacific Northwest to create their business. Alan Hwang, head of Business and Marketing Development for Forestry Clothing, told the IPF:

“The concept here is that everyone loves to help, but people don’t necessarily know how to help, where to help, or have the time in their day.”

The way the business works is simple: For every item purchased, Forestry Clothing plants a tree. Thanks to their close partnership with Friends of Trees, the group is able to identify where there is a need for trees to be planted. Friends of Trees plant trees in Oregon and Washignton, however, they help Forestry Clothing identify where there is a need for more trees, approve planting areas, and hold events to raise awareness. Forestry Clothing explained that they use their brand as a “stimulant to what Friends of Trees does” due to the fact that their missions are aligned.

Since the project started, Forestry Clothing has helped to plant nearly 750 trees, which continues to have a positive impact on our planet. Alongside their customers, the group continue to spread awareness about environmental issues. Their overall message aims to emphasise that their business is a “do good brand”.

“Our customers connect to the message, and take pride in the mission. If you do good things, things will naturally happen and you will be successful. I want people to have that mentality, not the ‘salesman’ mentality.”

When it comes to climate change action, Alan noted that he personally believes in “preservation over reaction”. In other words, Alan believes that action needs to happen now, rather than letting the worst happen and then trying to fix it later. As a small local business based in Vancouver, Washington, Forestry Clothing tries to preserve the environment and believes that together everyone can have a positive impact on the planet.

“If the big businesses out there, all the way down to the local individuals do their part, it would make a crazy big impact.”

Forestry Clothing creates its clothing in house, including the screen-printing and tags being hand sewn. By controlling the production, they know what kinds of shirts they are selling and where they were created, allowing the team to have control over the fact that the inks and materials used to create their products are entirely eco-friendly.

The business also attempts to emphasise the importance of working locally with local artists. Through ‘Local Artist Line’ they are giving local designers the opportunity to print their work on shirts and Alan explained: “We love supporting local – since we are a small business – so empowering local artists is extremely important to us.”

Apparels from Forestry Clothing can be found on their website. Designers who want to get involved in the project can also drop them a message – they are always looking for new ideas!