If you haven't slipped inside an IceBreaker
you haven't touched the future of fabric -- where sustainability, ultra comfort and great storytelling are woven together into a seamless whole, providing a new direction for an industry awash in "eco" nomenclature.
I had the chance to meet the CEO Jeremey Moon at a recent conference and (like most people who come into contact with him) was impressed both by the shirt he was wearing (that is about twice is light and twice as warm as cotton) and by his commitment to a vision where good business and environmental stewardship go hand in hand.
He also has one killer brand. More hip than Patagonia with a story beautifully told through images, video and now a handy piece of technology that allows you to enter your shirts "baacode" and pinpoint the exact source of your wool in New Zealand. The website takes you to a map and offers a video introduction of the sheep farmer and the sheep who actually grew your shirt on their backs.
The baacode is one of the first consumer traceability programs of its kind. As IceBreaker's press release states:
Very few companies have introduced traceability programs for consumer products, and most of those that have are in the food industry. Of those existing programs, most start at factory production level, while Icebreaker’s Baacode starts with the raw material...
In my article Environmentalism 2.0
I talk about how the web can allow us to make connections that we normally couldn't make, especially when it comes to the environment. The baacode is a great example, showing how technology can bridge the "perceptual gap" between the stuff we so often take for granted in our lives and the natural world form whence it all came.
In the process, IceBreaker is able to talk about their sustainability practices without sounding, well, boring.
Hearing about how the sheep are grazed to minimize impact on the natural environment, how the wool cleaning process is so good the waste water is sold to the beauty industry, and how the spinning factory is powered by renewable energy -- it's all much more interesting when you are given the opportunity to see the connections, and how a company can positively impact the world when it holds to its principles.