As a general rule, expect to pay more if you want to be an eco-conscious gear buyer. So if you're willing to spend the money, what can you get? Portland, Oregon-based Nau (pronounced "now") provides a good answer.
The company's mantra is simple: Create and sell sustainable fashion. In their words: "For us, sustainable fashion means timeless colors, smart design, eco-friendly materials and simple care."
The company makes a range of casual and outdoor clothing using sustainably sourced organic cotton, merino wool, and recycled polyester.
Examples of Nau's outdoors-oriented items include their Profile Fleece Jacket, a smooth-faced, four-way-stretch layer produced with 87 percent recycled polyester ($185); and the Lightbeam Jacket, an ultralight (8 ounces) water-resistant shell made from 100 percent recycled polyester ($175). Nau offers offer a wider range of casual pants and shorts ($85-$180) and shirts ($45-$105), among other offerings. Mens and womens styles available in each.
All of their products are designed for "social, material, and aesthetic sustainability" and each product description on their site details the sustainable aspects of the garment, as well as where the fabric was sourced and the garment stitched. Nau works to minimize the carbon footprint of each item they sell, including shipping to consumers by ground in lightweight envelopes made from recycled paper. (For more, you can read Nau's Principles of Design.)
Perhaps most remarkable is that Nau donates 2 percent of every sale to one of their five humanitarian and environmental non-profit partners (read more about their Partners for Change). What's more, you get to decide which group your purchase supports.
Seems like a good company with a good mission, and a good example of your eco-conscious dollars at work. Or as Nau says: "One small step towards unf*!#ing the world."
“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.