Can We Make The World A Better Place? We’re going to try.
If we can make hats in styles that people want to wear, and make them from responsible materials using responsible business practices all at a fair price, then perhaps people needing hats will choose us over companies purely driven by profit. A better scenario would be other companies seeing our success and adopting similar practices.
Yes We Make Hats, But This Is What We Really Do.
Our slogan "Responsibly Grown, Beautifully Made" means much more than just making high-quality hats from organic cotton. It compels us to keep asking the tough questions about every aspect of our business model and to seek out solutions to minimize our social and environmental impact, even if there aren't existing precedents in the unique world of hat making.
We realize that every product made causes environmental impact to some degree. It is our goal to limit that impact.
We acknowledge that every product we make has some level of environmental impact. Our goal is to minimize that impact. It takes effort to deeply understand what we're doing at every level, from material sourcing, design, production, and shipping, for example, and to commit time and resources to creating the most transparent picture of how Conner Hats affects the world.
Changing what we can to reduce our footprint is an ongoing endeavor. We are passionate about this quest, and we owe it to our children to help make the world a better place.
Why we do what we do
In 2009, founder Will Conner embarked on an adventure with a group of likeminded friends sailing small open kayaks down the east coast of Australia, from Byron Bay to Bondi Beach in Sydney. The 36-day trip covered 500 miles and included sailing with Humpback whales and cleaning remote beaches of plastic that had washed ashore. The amount of plastic in this pristine area made Will realize that he was part of the problem. Upon returning to shore, the work began to eliminate single-use plastic from Conner Hats' packaging and more.
What we have done to change
First, we had to identify the problems, and many of them were just common sense. Internal parts of the business that no customers even encounter were also changed. One example is every Conner Hat emblem was shipped in a small single-use plastic bag to our factories. An easy fix was using the prongs that attach to the hat to secure them into sheets of cardboard to ship instead. Another simple fix was replacing all single use hang tag attachments and using biodegradable string instead. If companies aren't at least doing that, then reach out to them, it's such a simple fix. I'm willing to pay 10 cents more for a garment to remove those plastic tags that end up being chewed on by babies when dropped on the floor.
Then we started testing all materials for harmful chemicals with a third-party company, and even replacing materials like standard cotton for organic cotton. Plastic synthetic hats were switched to recycled plastic, and some of what is collected to be recycled is ocean-bound, so that is a plus. The petroleum foam inside the brims was replaced with Algae Bloom foam. Standard wool hats were replaced with wool from farms in Australia that use holistic practices to support the land and the animals. We started using labels made from organic cotton and printed with vegetable dyes, and all paper tags are now 100% recycled and FSC certified.
Not all of our materials are perfect, but we consider all options and do the best we can. The main thing is we are always looking to improve all aspects of our business in ways that keep people and our planet at the forefront.
How we give back
We choose to give back in four different ways. All of the non-profits we donate to are vetted, and we are a proud member of 1% for the Planet. We allocate 1% of our sales to four nonprofits, each of which covers an area we believe is important:
- Planting trees (food forest trees to be specific, trees.org)
- Cleaning the sea (Restoring coastal ecosystems, sea-trees.org)
- Caring for Animals (caring for native Australian Animals, byronbaywildlifehospital.org)
- Helping families (Helping kids and families, savethechildren.org.au)