A Conversation with Pearl Izumi, Advocacy Partner: Ride More, Do More

BikeNonProfitNews, Sustainability

Recently we’ve partnered with Pearl Izumi as they support our community as an Advocacy Partner and Bike to Work Day! Community Cycles’ Development Director Craig David had a chance to chat with Aaron, Sustainability Manager, about the community, bikes, and why it all matters….

Tell us about the work you are doing with your focus on “Ride more, Do More” – It sounds like you’re challenging how people think about a bike and its true potential and impact on the world around us?

As you mention, one of our platforms since 2018 or so has been “Ride more, do more.” It’s shorthand for our Social Purpose pledge to use our products, business practices, and advocacy efforts to make sure that future generations can experience the world by bike in the same way that we can today. We believe that climate change is the largest threat to that, and so we’re focusing hardest on ways to prevent, limit and mitigate contributing to climate change. 

You’ve kicked off the “Pedal to Zero” campaign and are encouraging your consumers to “pedal off” the carbon footprint of various PI garments – this seems so novel, can you tell us how this program came about? 

Pedal to Zero is a really empowering campaign, both internally and externally; here’s how it came about. As a manufacturer, it’s a given that we’re going to cause impacts, but as part of our “Ride more, do more” promise, we wanted to limit those impacts as much as we could. In order to understand and manage those impacts, we began formally measuring them, using scientific Lifecycle Assessment tools through the Higg Index, a global sustainability and labor impacts measuring system. The tools output quantifiable impact data – for example, how much a specific product could contribute to global warming, in CO2-equivalents. Being a team of avid bike riders, it didn’t take long to wonder – how far would we have to ride our bikes instead of drive cars to offset the impacts of this product?

From there, it wasn’t a huge leap to think our customers – also mostly avid bike riders – might want to know the same thing, and might be excited to avoid carbon emissions to at least the same extent. That’s how Pedal to Zero was born – it’s the number of miles that it would take to ride, instead of drive, to offset the carbon emissions inherent in a product’s creation. We share that number for all of our Bikestyle category – products designed to be used both on and off the bike

How do you see the “Pedal to Zero” program shaping Pearl’s future of product development and the way you engage consumers?  What are people saying so far? 

Great question. From a future-facing product development perspective, we can now use Pedal to Zero data to make business decisions – to create the most sustainable of two options, for instance, when making new products. We’re also expanding Pedal to Zero to other product categories.

From the perspective of engaging consumers, feedback has been really positive – they’ve excited to participate, especially when it’s by doing something they already like to do. But the story is really bigger than offsetting one product – it’s a way of getting consumers to take a closer look at how powerful a tool the bicycle is in the fight against climate change, and to begin reaching for the bike helmet, rather than the car keys, as a matter of habit.

Supporting the community you live and work in is critical to supporting access to resources, and in our case access to affordable bikes. How does this fit in with Pearl Izumi’s culture and long-term vision? 

We love Community Cycles’ commitment to affordable bikes in the local community – it’s a key tenet that drove our support for CC in the first place. That commitment is right in line with our Social Purpose: to encourage more bike riding and to make more places to ride, as a way of fighting climate change, for everyone. It’s probably obvious, but maybe worth emphasizing – the best thing for all of us is that everyone has access to inexpensive and efficient transportation that doesn’t, with each journey, contribute to climate change.

Judging by its actions, PEARL iZUMi is committed to this area, from providing monetary, gear, volunteer, and even physical space resources to local cycling events, to local bike trail cleanups, to building mountain bike trails, to helping underserved kids get bikes, and recently, to victims of the recent Marshall Mesa fire.

Thanks to Pearl Izumi for their sponsorship of Walk and Bike Month. We’re also excited that they’ll be hosting a Breakfast Station on Bike to Work Day at their office in Louisville!