The core of BearVault
Values are who we are, and our purpose in being. Being alive – our vitality – is about how we act on those values. At BearVault, we focus on core values – as a company, and as a collection of individuals. Our values inform our business decisions. This is infused in everything from product design, to manufacturing, marketing, shipping, and every little piece between.
Jory and Tracy
From Leave No Trace to Wilderness Conservation
At BearVault, this is what we believe:
Appreciation for Nature
We believe in appreciating nature, wildlife, and especially bears. We need knowledge, connection, and respect to develop appreciation. While zoos offer a safely controlled and artificial situation to spark a fledgling appreciation, it is in our outdoor experiences that we can transition to a deeper respect for the wild elements of nature.
Access to the Outdoors
To appreciate, value and protect nature, people need to be able to explore and enjoy the outdoors in some areas. We support trail organizations that steward trail areas while enabling access to hikers. We partner with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA), the Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC), and we support other trail organizations close to home like the Colorado Trail Foundation, and around the country. We also periodically support organizations that enable youth and underserved populations to have greater access to the outdoors, so more people can experience the wonder of the outdoors.
We believe in the idea of true wilderness – places not visited by people, where nature can still reign. While it is important for people to have strong connections to the outdoors and to nature, it is equally important for nature to have opportunities to thrive without human intervention. Humans have a tendency to heavily impact nature, so we value areas that can remain wild, without direct human intervention.
Keeping Bears Wild
Keeping bears wild is a core value for us. To accomplish this, it takes more than proper food storage. We support projects that preserve pristine forests and bear habitat like the coastal Alaskan Klawock Heenya area, and by partnering with Yellowstone to Yukon, an organization focused on connecting and protecting habitat through major wildlife corridors.
Outdoor Ethics Photo/Video Policies
Bears and Wildlife – we do not ever seek or encourage others to seek close interactions with wild animals. We work with reputable facilities and wildlife parks for bear photography, and we will post or re-post user content so long as it is taken ethically.
Responsible Outdoor Practices – In our advertising, all photographs and videos should follow LNT principles. For example, people and tents should be on trails or durable surfaces, any structures should be established and pre-existing (like old lean-to’s), and groups should be small.
At BearVault, we have adapted Leave No Trace’s seven principles into everything we do. Because we love the places where we recreate, we want to take care to protect them, and LNT’s guiding principles are the key. We partner with, and actively work on projects with Leave No Trace to educate the public and adventurers in best practices for responsible outdoor behavior.
Why Climate Change is the Biggest Bear of all Bears
This time, when we say “its a bear”, we don’t mean the fuzzy kind. We have so many challenges in our lives, our communities, and in this world – but looming above all the others is climate change. Climate change is affecting every living thing around the globe. Yes, be worried, but more important, be proactive. There is much to be done, so let’s get started.
Step 1: Think, Think More
Think, digest, and think about it more. Start by looking at your impact: at home, at work, through your life. This is not just to pile on guilt, but to figure out where you can make improvements.
Key Tool: Carbon Footprint Calculator
You can also use tools to calculate your own personal footprint. Each step of the process is a place to think about how to do better. You can begin with a more simplified tool, and as you make changes and think more, dig into a more detailed tool.
Step 2: Make Changes
As you think, make changes. Big ones, small ones. At BearVault, here are a few changes we made to reduce emissions:
- We switched to local sources for our packaging, greatly reducing transportation emissions.
- We chose packaging materials that are responsibly sourced – Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI)-certified, and made with wind energy
- We reduced carton sizes to the bare minimum and switched to thinner board, saving materials.
- Our products have always been 100% Made in the USA, and by sourcing materials and components close to home we can minimize our transportation footprint.
- We added plenty of natural light, LED lighting, and occupancy sensors and timers to our facilities to save energy.
- We purchase wind energy for facility through our utility.
- 60% of employees bike to work or drive hybrid or electric vehicles. With a shower, secure bike storage, and proximity to bike trails we made this possible for more employees.
- We use EPA Smartway transportation brokers, and we select EPA Smartway Shipping Partners whenever possible to lower emissions from transportation.
As you think through your impact, here are a few actions you may be able to start with:
- Choose to cut down on driving – plan trips efficiently, and forego what is not needed.
- Try a staycation.
- Work from home sometimes.
- Switch off lights and unplug items when you don’t need them.
- Look into solar power, or renewable power options from your energy provider.
Step 3: Talk to Other People to Make Them Think Too
Be an advocate. Evangelist. Influencer… whatever your word, be the maestro who directs the conversation to what you’re doing, what businesses and communities are doing, and what we should or could be doing better for the environment. We work with partners, retailers, and suppliers to think through what we can do individually and collectively. You can work with colleagues, friends, and family to bring sustainability issues to the forefront, and move towards improvements, big or small.
Step 4: Lobby, Petition, and Move Society
We participate in advocacy groups like the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and the Climate Action Corps to pool our influence with others, to maximize our impact on policymakers to effect change. We sign on to petitions, write letters to our representatives, join protests, and generally support lobbying efforts to improve climate and sustainability initiatives. Policymakers are in the position to have an outsized influence on the direction of society, and you can have an outsized influence on them by simply speaking up. Those that actively engage with policymakers are a small minority, so being an actively engaged citizen goes a long way!
Waste Reduction and Resource Efficiency
All the things we use take energy and resources to create. They all end up somewhere at the end of their use – in the trash, or ideally, diverted from the landfill. We can reduce our impact on climate and resources by reducing what we use. If we still have to use things, we can reduce their full impact by diverting them from waste streams.
We have worked hard internally, and also partnered with our local Ecocycle Green Star Business program to evaluate our material streams and maximize waste diversion. When we vet suppliers, we ask questions related to their sustainability practices. We have measured a total waste diversion of 96% (by volume) at our facility.
- We have moved toward more and more minimalist packaging
- Sizing boxes just right and no more
- Switching to thinner cardboard materials
- We manufacture a durable product that will last for many years with proper care, reducing material waste.
- Reduced use of single use plastics:
- We switched from plastic packing tape to paper tape.
- We lowered the number of wraps of pallet wrap, reducing our usage by over 50%
- We re-use excess resin (“flash”) by mixing it in directly with virgin resin.
- We re-use all the pallets we receive to then ship finished product out.
- We re-use cartons from packaging shipments to ship out our product.
- We make business choices to opt for higher recycled content and better recyclability.
- Our shipping cartons are 100% post consumer recycled material
- Our consumer packaging boxes are 30% recycled content.
- All our packaging is 100% recyclable. By using paper tape, we raise the quality of the recycling input stream.
- We recycle almost everything we cannot re-use at our facility. This includes excess cardboard and pallet wrap. Through a special program with EcoCycle, our pallet wrap is collected and repurposed into Trex decking materials.
- We compost in our kitchen and bathrooms, and recycle in our kitchen, offices, and warehouse.
- Excess plastic from production and rejected canisters is sent to a dedicated facility for 100% recycling into food grade resin.
Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives
Our expressed brand values on social media are created, posted, and reposted to welcome, lift up, and encourage all who participate in outdoor adventure. In this, we aim to ensure a diverse and inclusive representation across race, age, gender identity/expression, body size, and disability while promoting an attitude that conserves wildlife, wild places, and the adventures that take us there.
Our brand values represented through our partnership with outdoor ambassadors begins with a shared interest in loving the outdoors, conservation of wildlife, and preservation of wilderness places. This shared interest extends further to collaboration with intentionally diverse and inclusive ambassadors across race, age, gender identity/expression, body size, and disability.
Our content touchpoints reflect strong and consistent consideration for diversity and inclusive representation across race, age, gender identity/expression, body size, and disability. Content intentionally aligns with the 7 LNT Principles, conservation of wildlife, and protection of delicate wilderness ecology. This includes but is not limited to photography, video, copy, social, email, web, models, campsites, foliage, and any content creators and/or places we engage to help produce these items for us.
We are a woman-owned business! We seek employees who will contribute expertise, experience, growth, and diversity to our business. We currently have 18% minority representation in our workforce. We hire from groups who consistently face barriers to employment, such as those included in the work opportunity tax credit (WOTC) program.