As part of its global effort to preserve the world’s ocean environment, the Surfrider Foundation recently announced the release of a coastal-inspired décor collection in partnership with Pottery Barn Teen.
The collection includes bedding, rugs, and decoration pieces that are 100% sustainably sourced.
Pottery Barn Teen initiated the collaboration in early 2022 intending for a January 2023 release, as the company has sustainability goals to provide more products that are better for the planet across its entire catalogue, according to Mary Herbranson, a partnerships manager at Surfrider.
“With that, they were also looking for an organization that had similar pillars of work,” Herbranson told San Clemente Times. “So, one of Surfrider’s core initiatives is to reduce plastic pollution, and they have some items within the collection that utilize recycled plastic to further that storytelling.”
Jennifer Kellor, president of Pottery Barn Teen, said in the company’s release that it looks for partners that are standouts in their respective fields.
“The Surfrider Foundation is extremely well respected for its ocean preservation and sustainability efforts,” Kellor said. “We joined forces to create a coastal-inspired collection that celebrates the ocean’s natural beauty and makes an impact, using recycled and eco-minded materials.”
Herbranson said that the collaboration was multi-faceted in terms of all the people at Surfrider who were involved in making the idea a reality.
The legal department does research on potential partners, including Pottery Barn Teen; the environmental department is available to answer questions regarding materials or policies; and the marketing and corporate partnerships teams do the legwork. The latter make sure that Surfrider’s brand and mission is represented in a manner similar to how the company markets itself.
“(Pottery Barn Teen was) really great in terms of being highly collaborative, and taking feedback and direction, and allowing us to weigh in,” said Herbranson. “(Although), they certainly have their own strong point of view in what they wanted the comprehensive collection to look like.”
She added that a factor Surfrider wanted to keep in mind was to avoid shaming people into feeling overly guilty for their potential negative impacts to the Earth through purchasing decisions.
While acknowledging that people need to buy their essentials – food, clothing and household items – Herbranson said her company wants to amplify the practice of “voting with your dollars” through its brand collaborations.
“What these partnerships also do is…highlight that you can make purchasing decisions that potentially have less of an impact, or contribute a donation through the sale of that product that helps enable the nonprofit to do better,” she said.
The goal is to encourage conscious consumerism.
In relation to how other large brands can contribute by making more sustainable items of their own, Herbranson said the process can be difficult, time-consuming, and requires a serious investment.
Companies need to find the right amount of materials necessary to make a change and ensure that the products’ quality or performance meets their own and their consumers’ standards. However, progress is underway, according to Herbranson, as an increasing number of brands are attending conferences that discuss sustainability or creating staff positions to solely focus on that approach.
“I do think it’s a really big hill for a lot of the brands to climb, but I actually feel pretty encouraged by a lot of the conversations and the awareness (from) these representatives that I’m taking to,” she said.
They are responding to their customers’ demands by looking into how to improve and making tangible progress, Herbranson said.
Regarding the Surfrider collection, she added that the company is “really pleased” with it and the reality of having a line that contributes to people’s homes and represents their interests. Pottery Barn Teen showcased Surfrider’s ambitions well.
“We hope that it’s going to raise awareness for who we are and what we’re standing for, and also hopefully just bringing new people into the fold to either become members or to volunteer,” she said.
At the very least, Surfrider hopes its increased visibility can lead people to make one habit change that reduces their overall plastic footprint and add a positive effect to the planet.
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