Realizing sustainability goals, requires planting a seed
Planting the proverbial seed came for Dennis in a previous job, working as R&D manager for one of the world’s largest jeans brands. That’s when he came in touch with the matter of sustainability firsthand for the first time. “A colleague offered up the inspiration and I took care of the commercialization – implementing and realizing. We pushed it at a relatively small scale at first, but always with the question in the back of my mind how to make it grow”, he recalls.
Focusing on the small things still comes back around in his current role ate REV’IT!. Dennis explains: “The approach of the traditional motorcycle industry is quite at odds with what’s important for sustainability, but we shouldn’t forget the regular clothing industry didn’t do much better until quite recently. Imagine my surprise to discover how little resonance the matter got among motorcyclists – even within REV’IT! there were differences in the level to which sustainability was considered in practical ways. Especially considering sustainability is included in our mission statement: creating a sustainable future for riding. To me, that mission is so much more than just a punchy slogan; it’s something I truly believe in.”
Though preaching those beliefs is part of the practical side of his day-to-day work – coaxing the process to finding sustainable solutions in product development – he feels there’s just as much to be won in coaxing the people and changing mindset. Dennis: “When mention innovation, people’s minds instantly jump to big developments, like airbag technology for instance. However, sustainability is just as much a way of innovating. Though it’s very much part of the REV’IT! way to want to go from zero to a hundred right away.”
In functionally and creatively bending and steering that inherent enthusiasm, Dennis resorts to his knowledge and his experiences to create the momentum needed, by implementing small changes that make a big impact. The Product Development Manager explains how: “the move to implement recycled materials is a first step. The notion that recycled is of a lesser quality than ‘virgin’ material is based on assumptions and something we had to research. As it turned out, the tear strength of some recycled polyester materials was actually higher than its predecessor – a welcome additional benefit. We use polyester to construct the lining in a lot of our products. By implementing the relatively simple switch from virgin polyester fabrics to using recycled materials, allowed us to impact a large part of our collection in one fell swoop.”
The perspective and approach Dennis lives by is one of rethinking the status quo. When he’s met with the question ‘why should we do this or do that?’, he bounces it back by asking ‘why not?’. That optimism-derived outlook doesn’t affect his sense of reality, though. “Of course, it’s great that around fifty percent of our new collection has recycled materials used in them. It showcases technical apparel like motorcycle clothing can be sustainable and it’s by no means a downgrade. It’s proof of concept and that only drives me more.”
Concluding with both passion and appropriate restraint: “Above all I hope to inspire other brands to take notice. Like REV’IT! inspired me to want to work here by speaking up as a brand, to aim for a sustainable future. Obviously, many of my coworkers here at REV’IT! are positively passionate about bikes and riding, while I don’t even have a license. My passion comes from my love for technology and the ambitious values we strive for – together.”
Dennis’ story is just one of the many Sustainability Stories of the dedicated people that work towards REV’IT!’s goal of creating a sustainable future for riding. Driven by passion for their respective fields, each adds to the greater momentum of making their efforts count, to make a difference every day.