What We Do
While there are many ways to give back to and conserve our environment, leading by example and walking our talk has always seemed natural for us here at Black Diamond. We are constantly looking at new ways to build products and improve processes to lessen our footprint. We still have a long way to go, but a handful of our efforts are below.
In 2009, we initiated a closed-loop anodization process at Black Diamond Asia that reuses and recycles 2000 tons of wastewater. This is one of the first of its kinds in Asia and a dramatic improvement over traditional anodization practices where the wastewater is dumped back into the water table. All of the wastewater from our tumble and polish process (used in the manufacturing of everything from carabiners to crampons) is recycled. Additionally, Black Diamond boils off water from oil/water mixes from production and sends the oil out to be recycled.
All of our scrap metal and excess cardboard from the Salt Lake City, Utah and Zhuhai, China manufacturing facilities is recycled, leaving nothing for the landfills. Black Diamond's purchased cardboard contains an average of 35% post-consumer recycled material, which preserves approximately 370 trees from being cut down. During the baseline year in Salt Lake City, Black Diamond and Waste Management recycled an estimated 235 tons of Black Diamond's waste, or approximately 60% of the organization's total solid waste stream. This included approximately 138 tons of cardboard, 43 tons of metals, 28 tons of paper, 26 tons of plastics and 1,776 lbs of computer waste. This recycling effort amounted to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of approximately 510 tons CO2e, which is roughly equivalent to not driving 720,000 miles each year.
During our Salt Lake City headquarters remodel, Black Diamond purchased carpet through Interface's "Cool Carpet" program. In this program, Interface purchases and retires carbon credits to offset all greenhouse gas emissions associated with the entire lifecycle of the carpet.
Black Diamond is a Blue Sky Program "Champion Level" participant, purchasing 180,000 kWh of Blue Sky wind power offsets each year. Twenty percent of our headquarter and manufacturing facilities' power is wind generated, which is significant for a real manufacturing operation with laser cutters, tons of CNCs, EDM wire cutters, big automated equipment, heat treating, etc. We also have a 2,200 Watt solar photovoltaic system that generates approximately 3,000 kWh of electricity each year, supplying roughly 7% of the retail store's electricity needs. All together, our energy conservation and renewable energy efforts amount to eliminating over 220 tons of CO2e greenhouse gas emissions annually, which is equivalent to not driving over 320,000 miles each year.
Our newly expanded & renovated 12,000 square feet of space in the SLC headquarters is extremely energy efficient-if this expansion/renovation was a free-standing building it would qualify for the lower level of LEED Certification. It will draw an impressively low level of power and water, and was constructed with many recycled and new high-tech super insulative materials.
Besides the remodel efficiencies and wind credits, our Salt Lake City headquarters facility has engaged in a series of energy efficiency projects, including:
- The Salt Lake City retail store is powered by on-site solar panels
- Replacement of HVAC units with high efficient units: electricity draw of each unit reduced from 60 amps to 30 amps
- Duro-Last roofing: reduces cooling loads by reflecting 86% of the sun's energy. Additionally, this roofing is manufactured with virtually no landfill waste, and installation does not require fume-emitting spraying equipment
- Installation of T8 lighting: saves an estimated 68% of energy used by replaced lighting
- Installation of motion sensor light switches in storage areas and restrooms
The Black Diamond Asia facility we had built in Zhuhai, China was designed with lighting efficiency in mind-numerous natural light bars in the ceiling provide nearly all the required lighting for the 60,000-square-foot distribution center. Also at Zhuhai, the daily lunch served to all the employees is a zero-waste affair, with everything from utensils to serving pots to plates being washable and reusable. Advanced ventilation systems at the BD Asia facility eliminate the need for air conditioning.
Rhenus Logistics - Europe Warehouse
The new Rhenus warehouse meets DGNB Standards (deutsches Gütesiegel für nachhaltiges Bauen - German Product Certification for Sustainable Construction). The warehouses and office building are oriented appropriately to the position of the sun. The temperature-controlled warehouses and offices are positioned facing north. In summer there is no need for additional energy to control air conditioning or cooling of the buildings. The green roof also contributes to energy savings. This roof is constructed over an area totalling 10,400 m2 on top of the temperature-controlled warehouses and provides cooling in summer and retains heat in the building during winter. The roof is insulated with double-layer foil insulation and mineral wool. Mineral wool is also used to insulate the walls. The 11 metre high windows on the south-facing side provide the warehouse working areas with natural light. Large windows are also placed in the warehouse doors and the ramp area. Rainwater is collected in underground tanks. The water, approximately 500 m3 storage, is used for the cleaning machines. In order to save not just more energy in future but also to be able to produce energy we plan to install a solar energy system.
In order to provide the best safety and security for our employees and our product, the warehouse facility has been built to earthquake-proof standards; Basel is situated within a level 3 earthquake zone.
We make gear at Black Diamond and while many of our products require higher-grade materials than are currently available in recycled stock, we design and build with an eye toward minimal environmental impact. Below are examples of some products we are especially proud of in regards to recyclability and footprint, and we continue to develop more sustainable elements into our product line.
- Icon headlamp & Apollo lantern with NRG rechargeable power: Both lights can utilize our NRG rechargeable kit (sold separately).
- Orbit lantern with NRG2: Our smallest lantern, the Orbit is also compatible with an optional rechargeable system, the NRG 2.
- Sprinter headlamp is 100% rechargeable.
- All Black Diamond t-shirts are 100% organic cotton. The clothing producer Fusion Clothing manufactures all tops for the Boulder line of clothing in Europe. They use organic cotton and bamboo. The cotton is picked in India and processed there before being freighted directly to the factory. They are certified as follows: ISO 9001 certified - valid for all processes. GOTS certified - the highest possible level of certification for trade and manufacture of Organic Cotton
- All packaging is produced with a minimum amount of waste and a maximum amount of recycled materials.
Black Diamond employees in Salt Lake City commuted an estimated 410,000 miles via carpool, bus, TRAX, bicycle and foot during the baseline year, or approximately 34% of the year's total commute miles. These actions reduced greenhouse gasses by an estimated 190 tons CO2e.
Each Year Black Diamond participates in the Clear Air Challenge here in Salt Lake City. In 2010, Team Black Diamond eliminated 1259 trips and 8659 miles as part of the Clean Air Challenge. Check out the latest at cleartheairchallenge.org
The BD Asia global distribution center is a 70,000-square-foot warehouse attached to our BD-operated manufacturing and office facilities, and allows us to aggregate the shipping of all of the BD goods made by or for us throughout Asia. This means less shipments, greater efficiency, higher inventory turns and a blessing for our global distributors and key retailers. It also greatly lessens the size of our global shipping energy footprint.
The product manufactured by our subsidiary in China is sea-freighted to our Europe warehouse in Basel. The product is first transported by container ship to Rotterdam and then transferred to canal barges. The CO2 footprint is several times lower than for air-freighted product.