Hello all! Sustainability continues to be important to Zappos just as it is to you. Today I am bringing you another awesome sustainability rockstar from one of Zappos’ favorite brands: Nicole Bassett of prAna! Below is my interview with her. Please read, share & enjoy!
What's your favorite thing about your job?
I enjoy getting to work with all the other departments inside prAna. Understanding how everyone works and figuring out how all parts of the company can integrate sustainability holistically brings a lot of value to what I do for my job.
I also am fond of the “people” aspect of my job: I appreciate getting to know everyone and learning how the business works so that I can support others’ efforts in what they do. I also like to know what everyone’s goals are and the challenges in attaining those goals. Understanding how sustainability fits into both of these aspects (goals and challenges and the people involved) brings me a lot of satisfaction in my everyday work.
Lastly, I sincerely enjoy the problem-solving element of my job. It is important to understand needs and values, especially when you recognize that sometimes you must approach a situation by implementing baby steps and smaller sustainability efforts in order to figure out and solve larger problems. Overall, the end goal is to create a better world through sustainability efforts while doing so inside a business model that is not necessarily conducive to sustainability. But that is what makes it interesting: Sustainability approaches (within or outside of business models) are always evolving, and interesting ideas and approaches are constantly popping up.
Who or what is your biggest source of inspiration?
Honestly, surrounding myself with people who are also passionate about sustainability. Being surrounded by people, in general, who are also interested in sustainability leads me to learn more about sustainability as a whole. And not just a single person but the whole community of other sustainability professionals are what inspire me and my work. Groups like the Outdoor Industry Association Sustainable Working Group bring up conversations about sustainability and exciting news that motivates my efforts. Accessing other people that are also thinking about the subject of sustainability also fuels the learning process. Sometimes the traditional corporate world is not necessarily proactive in its sustainability efforts; however, I feel fortunate to have friends and colleagues interested in the subject.
Learning also is a large source of inspiration for me. Sustainability issues are macro issues, so it is fun to explore clues to learning how we can live and conduct business more aligned with natural systems. The process of learning about and understanding the best sustainability approaches is just as important as the application of such approaches.
What do you do to stay motivated and energized?
Little wins. A small win at prAna may not change the world, but it influences an industry and a change in the industry. This makes a difference and it truly does matter. All the small things add up and eventually we will shift our behavior as humans. My favorite example is how prAna rethought our plastic packaging, and this has helped influence others in the industry, creating momentum for sustainability initiatives. Also, seeing my colleagues come up with successful, innovative solutions within sustainability also energizes and motivates me.
Contributing to something that makes the planet a little bit better is also very inspiring for me. Even though it is really hard to make a difference in the large scope of environmental issues at hand, I try to stick by the mantra “I’m here on this planet, I’m human, and if I’m going to be here wouldn’t I want to do the most I could do to make the world a little bit better?”
If you could be an animal, what would you be?
I would definitely be my Australian Shepherds, Astro and Cosmo. My Australian Shepherds get to run and run and run and go with me mountain biking and swimming and have the best life. They also seem so content with whatever is happening at the moment.
A little bit more about social & environmental responsibility at prAna...
PrAna is a lifestyle brand that draws its name from the ancient Sanskrit word for breath, life and vitality of the spirit. The prAna team creates purposeful and stylish apparel for people to pursue their passions on the water, mat, rock, trail and street. From its beginning in 1993, prAna has been committed to weaving sustainable practices into its operations and supply chain, working to reduce its impact on soils, water supplies and other natural resources while promoting conservation. PrAna is also conscious of its impact on communities and has worked to include a growing number of fair trade styles every year. It is the first major apparel company in North America to offer Fair Trade USA certified products and accessories. PrAna is sold in five flagship stores, online at prana.com, and in 1,400 specialty retailers across the US, Canada, Europe and Asia. PrAna is one of the portfolio brands of Columbia Sportswear Company (COLM).