It should come as no surprise that Costa's Untangled Collection of sunglasses won the 2019 REI Root Award.
During the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market Trade Show in Denver last week, Costa's Untangled Collection took home the coveted REI Root Award, signaling their on-going efforts to help the environment while making well-sought after shades.
Every year, the outdoor retailer bestows the REI Co-op's Root Award to a brand that, in their eyes, created the most responsibly designed new product sold at the REI Co-op with a focus on sustainability innovation. Costa worked with Bureo to create the sustainable collection of sunglass frames made from recycled fishing nets.
"What is so innovative about this collection is that it addresses and integrates sustainability from end to end--through the whole life cycle," said Gregory Gausewitz, manager of product sustainability at REI.
The outdoor retailer surely sells their share of Costa sunglasses, but the Untangled Collection struck a chord as particularly high quality gear with a notably sustainable design. The values of the awards program fit with Costa's approach, and the decision likely wasn't that hard to make.
A leader in color-enhancing polarized sunglass lens technology, Costa has also invested in sustainable product design as part of the company's Kick Plastic initiative, through which they're creating awareness of the single-use plastic problem and rethinking how the company utilizes plastic.
In addition to The Untangled Collection frames, Costa offers two other more environmentally responsible frame materials - a bio-resin sourced from the castor plant and a plant-based acetate, used in the Del Mar Collection.
Never have we seen a set of products that have such a significant impact on the wellbeing of our oceans. Product quality aside (because you should know by now you're getting good sunglasses if you go with Costa), this is the sort of thing we wish we'd see more of from outdoor brands.
"It's an honor to be recognized by REI for our efforts in sustainable product design around the Untangled Collection," said T.J. McMeniman, Vice President of Marketing for Costa Sunglasses. "Protecting our oceans and waterways is at the core of our brand mission and we take that commitment very seriously - from product design to boots-on-the-ground efforts like beach cleanups and direct partnerships with conservation organizations."
Past winners of the REI Root Award include the Columbia OutDry Extreme Eco Jacket and the La Sportiva Mythos Eco climbing shoes. The REI Vendor Partner of the Year Awards were also given out, and this year Arbor Collective took home that honor.
If more companies in the outdoor industry made efforts towards more sustainable business practices, we'd all be a lot better off, as would the future of the outdoor places we look to for our active adventure travel exploits. The Root Award is one great way to bring more recognition to it, and enhance the growing community of conservationists who know how important these actions can be.
Costa just so happens to be supplying top gear that addresses customer needs, and doing so in a sustainably smart way.