- Buyer's Guide
Brand of the Year 2020
Our Brand of the Year does an industry-leading job of engaging, educating and inspiring. A brand fully committed to pushing industry sustainability, fostering better business practices, and promoting and supporting diverse social and environmental initiatives…
Peak Design haven’t really wrapped their heads around the concept of slowing down and just chilling. But to be fair, when you’re as committed to making a positive impact as they are, they probably can’t sit still long enough to lounge in a hammock.
They really do it all, from excelling in product design, to sustainable business practices, social awareness and inclusivity – and encouraging others to get on board too.
Over the past year Peak Design has been fired up across multiple fronts. In terms of product design they launched the Travel Tripod, an industry game-changer that they define as their greatest feat of engineering to date – and released mere months after their revamped Everyday Bags collection. And with six contenders from Peak Design in this year’s Carry Awards, carry enthusiasts are clearly digging what they’re doing in the design department.
But that’s not what this award is about. It’s about everything else. And there’s so much to talk about.
One of Peak Design’s most powerful achievements has been co-founding and launching Climate Neutral in 2019. The organization is committed to building consumer awareness and demand for carbon neutrality across diverse industries and brands. However, it also makes it much easier for companies to measure their own carbon footprints and is now the largest and most-adopted certification label in the world for carbon neutrality.
Also Peak Design is now an official B-Corp, a solid testament to their corporate responsibility. And they aren’t afraid to put their money where their mouth is, donating over $218,150 to Covid relief (CDC Foundation) and climate change (Climate Neutral) this year when they launched the Travel Tripod.
Peak Design have been busy on the creative activism front too, serving as the lead sponsor of Wild & Scenic Film Festival. They sponsored Rock Paper Fish (about mining in Southeast Alaska), This Land (featuring a runner reflecting on her place in the outdoors as a woman of color), On a Wing and a Prayer (about an aerial photographer documenting the shrinking of the Mississippi Delta habitat due to climate change), and Ground Truth (about clearcutting in Alaska’s Tongass Rainforest). In early 2019 they also produced and launched Grizzly Country, a film about legendary activist Doug Peacock.
Their dedication to the environment has always been a strong part of the brand’s identity and value system. They joined the Conservation Alliance in March 2019 to go to Washington DC and lobby for environmental policy. And they became a Bluesign System Partner and drilled down on assessing materials and suppliers in their supply chain.
In 2019 they began speaking out as a brand about social injustice and diversity and inclusion in the outdoors. This conversation reached a new fever pitch with the death of George Floyd, and they were proud to be among the first brands in their industry to make public statements and encourage other brands to follow suit.
Several years ago Peak Design adopted a robust diversity and inclusion strategy and pledge, both internally and externally. It includes recruitment and hiring guidelines, team training and education, diversity in their marketing collateral, and advocacy/support of social justice issues and organizations. In 2019, they dramatically increased the percentage of people of color in their product photography. They donated to Soul River, In Solidarity Project, NAACP, ACLU, and Southern Poverty Law Center. And they’ve hosted a free conservation photography workshop for inner-city youth in San Francisco.
Their brick-and-mortar retail store hasn’t been overlooked either in its ability to positively impact the local community. They turned the store into a free coworking space for creatives. Plus they launched a 1-on-1 personal gear-fitting service and a community-driven photography gallery in the back of the store called The Wall at 529. The hub has hosted numerous photography workshops, lectures, film viewings, and photowalks. And they’re putting good packs to good use with a trade-in program where people can trade in PD backpacks in good condition to be donated to a program for homeless and formerly homeless youth.
Being active on just a few of the fronts mentioned above is laudable for a brand. The fact that Peak Design is actively striving for positive development across all of them – and doing it at the highest level imaginable – makes them truly worthy of Brand of the Year!