Pakt’s 2023 Environmental and Social Efforts – Letter from the founder
As a designer, I enjoy creating travel gear, but the most exciting design project on my plate right now is building a company that raises the bar around how business is done.
Back in 2016 the ‘Minimalism’ documentary featured a bag I’d designed, and it led to the opportunity to launch Pakt. At the time, I was laying the groundwork for an environmental venture to fight ocean plastics, so I was reluctant to detour to a travel bag company – until I realized I didn’t have to choose. We launched Pakt on a foundation of strong environmental and social commitments, and pledged to always make choices that would maximize our potential positive impact.
Our original commitments that we continue to uphold today include:
- Create versatile products to minimize the numbers of products people need
- Build those products to last, so that fewer end up in landfills and the carbon footprint of distributing new products is minimized
- Package all products 100% plastic-free, so that they are easily recycled, and if any packaging materials do escape into the environment their risk is minimal
- Share everything we learned going plastic-free, free of charge, with any other brand that wants to reduce the use of plastic in their own supply chains via SeaHive
- Package products in customer-ready packaging at the factory to reduce shipped volume and maximize the number of units that can fit in containers or trucks – again to minimize the carbon footprint
- Use the most eco-friendly materials and hardware we can find, and always seek to replace current selections with even better ones as we find them
Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia has described their company’s responsibility efforts as more of a journey than a lightbulb moment, and I couldn’t agree more. Over the 5 years of Pakt’s existence we’ve made other efforts to increase our commitment to the environment, including joining organizations whose missions we agreed with, such as 1% For the Planet and Climate Neutral.
This year, it’s our goal to double down on our environmental efforts. We always want to do more, faster, but the realities of running a business where there's never a surplus of time or money forces us to carefully pick and choose each effort.
With that being said, we made the decision to withdraw from outside organizations that we were members of. We believe in the work those orgs do, but they’re also in good hands. We believe by focusing all of our resources on our own efforts, we can make an even bigger impact.
Our 2023 areas of focus
One area in our product lifecycle that has been a constant thorn in our side was our inability to properly repair defective or damaged products. In the past our only option was to send customers a replacement, even though the original was likely to be bound for a landfill. We were definitely failing our stated mission of reducing waste in that area.
The next next step in our responsibility journey is rolling out a repair program. Soon, we’ll have the ability to repair and return to use most Pakt bags to keep them traveling the world a lot longer!
Knowing that we’re launching a lot of new products this year, we want to make sure we do everything we can to help avoid older Pakt products from becoming irrelevant or collecting dust in a closet. So, step two in our refocused environmental efforts is going to be a resale program for Pakt customers to find new homes for their gear.
I’m excited about the changes coming to every corner of Pakt, but especially the eco efforts corner that is so personal to me. What do you think of the changes? If you have ideas or suggestions for other things we can do, I’d love to hear them.