Collage of Polar Bears International staff in Canada Goose parkas.

Canada Goose parkas keep our staff members warm, even in Arctic conditions. The company has committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2025, setting a high standard and example of what it means to be a business leader in a sustainable world.

2/22/2021 10:02:24 PM

Canada Goose: Sustainable Leadership

For our field teams in the Arctic, Canada Goose parkas make all the difference in staying warm, allowing them to work in extreme cold, fierce winds, and blowing snow. As one of our largest corporate sponsors, Canada Goose supports our work through proceeds from their signature PBI Blue parkas, the same parkas that protect our field researchers. This generosity has been crucial—funding critical research and conservation projects—and has played a key role in helping us become the organization we are today.

However, our partnership is so much more than just blue parkas. Canada Goose is deeply passionate about the North and is genuinely concerned about the future of polar bears and the Arctic. From producing Bare Existence, a feature documentary about our work, to setting ambitious goals in their sustainable impact strategy, including carbon neutrality by 2025, Canada Goose is setting a high standard and example of what it means to be a business leader in a sustainable world.

Committed to keeping the planet cold and the people on it warm, a signature item from the Canada Goose PBI Blue Collection is so much more than beautiful and functional clothing in our signature color. It represents passion, purpose, and a shared commitment and vision for polar bears, the environment, and the North.

To celebrate our partnership, we sat down with Gavin Thompson, VP of Corporate Citizenship at Canada Goose, and asked him to tell us a little bit more.

Q: Canada Goose began supporting Polar Bears International (PBI) in 2007. Can you tell us how that relationship began and what inspired the partnership?

A: Canada Goose is deeply devoted to the North; we are intrinsically connected to the land and the creatures who inhabit it. It is amazing that two thirds of the world’s polar bears live in Canada, and that, through our partnership with PBI, we are able to support the organization’s mission to preserve their habitat and protect their future.

In 2007, we launched our first PBI Collection to provide further long-term support for the organization. The collection launched our signature shade of PBI Blue and embedded a donation system into our core business to support the work of PBI. The Canada Goose x PBI Collection is a capsule of parkas, lightweight jackets and accessories for adults and kids, where a portion of proceeds from each jacket is donated directly to PBI.

Q: How has that relationship developed and changed over the years?

A: For over 10 years we’ve been a proud partner and advocate for the preservation of wild polar bears and their habitat, partnering on a number of different programs. At the end of 2019, we supported the construction of the Polar Bears International House. Through the state-of-the-art interpretative center in Churchill, Manitoba, important research, advocacy and education will now reach more people around the world.

In 2020, we expanded the PBI collection into spring, offering the ability to support PBI in every season. In addition to parkas and accessories, we now offer raincoats, wind jackets, and lightweight down, all in PBI Blue, with a portion of the proceeds donated to PBI.

To document the changes that are unfolding in the Arctic and continue to drive awareness for polar bears and their habitat, we produced Bare Existence—a documentary that takes an intimate, exclusive look at the important work of PBI. It shines a spotlight on the passionate people of PBI who dedicate their lives to preserving the Arctic habitat. The documentary reveals the harsh realities these beautiful species and our planet are facing and that What Affects Them, Affects Us All.

Q: Recently, Canada Goose launched HUMANATURE, which brings sustainability together with values-based initiatives. Can you tell us more about HUMANATURE and how it guides Canada Goose now into the future?

A: In November we announced our HUMANATURE philosophy, a purpose-based platform that unites our sustainability- and values-based initiatives. We are forever inspired by the people of the North who have lived in harmony with nature for thousands of years and whose practices are rooted in sustainability. We strive to repair the gap between humanity and the natural world, but we also know that as citizens of a global community we can always do more. Through HUMANATURE our purpose is clear, we are committed to keeping the planet cold and the people on it warm. 

We’re keeping the planet cold and subsequently supporting polar bears and their Arctic habitat through our Sustainable Impact Strategy, which we unveiled in April. It builds on our core values and outlines our vision for the future. This purpose is embedded across every aspect of our company’s operations, from sustainably designed products—like the Standard Expedition Parka—to our longstanding partnership with PBI.

We tethered ourselves to aggressive commitments to reduce our footprint, which I am so proud to share we’re already delivering against. As part of our accelerated strategy, we achieved carbon neutrality as of March 2020 through investments in strategic offsetting projects, equivalent to 200% of our annual greenhouse gas emissions. We will continue to offset at this level as we continue to transform business operations through aggressive and tangible action plans to achieve our 80 per cent emissions reduction targets by 2025.

We’re keeping people warm by honoring and invigorating communities, prioritizing philanthropic endeavors and building culture through the arts. Programs like our Resource Center Program, where leftover materials from our production lines are donated to Inuit communities to craft their own, and Project Atigi, a social entrepreneurship project for Inuit designers who have created capsule collections using their traditional skills and our modern materials. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic we launched the Canada Goose Response Program, pivoting our production to manufacture medical gowns and scrubs, protecting the frontline workers who protect us. We also recently launched our HUMANATURE Pass, a one-hour weekly pass for Canada Goose employees that encourages them to set aside time during business hours to go out and experience nature.

Q: Canada Goose is leading the way in reducing carbon emission and has committed to net-zero carbon emissions by 2025. In March of 2020, you achieved carbon neutrality through offsets. This is a significant commitment. How long have you been working on reducing your carbon footprint?

A: At Canada Goose we have a long tradition of committing to sustainability, we have always been transparent about our business—how and where we source materials and manufacture products, our commitment to the environment and the communities we serve. One of the most fundamental—and long-standing—sustainable choices we’ve made is that we make the most premium and functional product on the market underpinned with a lifetime warranty. The vast majority of our products are made in Canada and we’ve been doing this since 1957. One of the easiest and most effective ways to use fewer resources and move toward eliminating the concept of waste in the apparel industry is to simply keep clothes in use longer. Our products are designed to last a lifetime, not just a season.

Q: Since 2007, Canada Goose has contributed nearly $4 million dollars to polar bear conservation. That is a significant commitment. Over that time, what are you most proud of in terms of what you have been able to accomplish through your partnership with Polar Bears International?

A: One of our proudest moments have been supporting the building of the PBI House—a hub for critical conservation efforts and an invaluable resource for education, research and raising awareness around the world. 

But most importantly, we’re proud of being a microphone for raising awareness for the important work of PBI and the threats that face wild polar bears—and how efforts to conserve their Arctic habitat matter to everyone, wherever in the world we call home.

Q: Do you have a favorite memory or a moment that inspired you to care deeply about polar bears or the team at Polar Bears International? Perhaps from the tundra outside Churchill?

A: Easily my favorite memory was when I had the incredible opportunity to join the Canada Goose team that were going to Churchill.  This was my first time meeting the incredible team from PBI in their element and there was an amazing moment when we were out on the tundra quietly observing the beautiful polar bears in their habitat, when one caught a whiff of all of us on the PBI Tundra Buggy.  We had been cooking a huge breakfast for the school kids in Churchill that morning, so I think the smell of the bacon was still on us.  This incredibly huge polar bear made its way to our buggy and then got up on its hind legs to really give us a good sniff—we were SO close to the bear and it made us all realize how beautiful and powerful these animals were.  It was definitely a life changer that I will never forget!

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