Earth Month Innovations: Kiehl's, Keen, Lululemon

Kiehl's "Single-Use Reflections"

Whether walking New York’s High Line, heading out for a hike or shopping for new yoga gear, brands keep looking for new ways to get noticed for their sustainability efforts.

Kiehl’s Since 1851, the New York apothecary brand, has been raising awareness about the harm caused by plastics, with a sculpture called “Single-Use Reflections” on the city’s High Line.

Artist Benjamin Von Wong created the installation out of a mountain of discarded plastic. Inspired by the legendary Hydra, the sculpture also contains large mirrors, inviting viewers to reflect on how small shifts can positively impact the future. The mirrors also make an excellent backdrop for selfies to help fuel awareness of Earth Month activities throughout the city and encourage posters to use the #DontRebuyJustRefill hashtag.



And the sculpture reinforces the brand’s pledge to make sure 100% of its products can be reused, refilled, or made of recycled materials by 2030. 

Keen is going a different route, using the launch of the “World’s Cleanest Shoes” campaign to highlight recent efforts to clean up the footwear industry. While PFAS, those “forever chemicals,” are currently a hot topic for their role in contaminating drinking water, Keen has been on the anti-PFAS path for ten years. Its new impact report highlights that the company’s shoes are now free of five of the six most harmful chemicals in manufacturing. And it is actively working on eliminating solvents, the sixth.

As part of the effort, Keen just launched the Targhee IV hiking boot, made with one of the industry’s first solvent-free mechanical bonds. The Portland, Oregon-based company says the Targhee IV may be the last hiking boot you’ll ever buy.

The brand is also embarking on a partnership with filmmaker Max Romey and will debut a documentary called “Footprints on Katmai” next month. And with the Intersectional Environmentalist, the company is helping to relaunch the Joy Report podcast.

Lululemon is also focused on better quality materials, launching the Packable Anorak, its first product made with enzymatically recycled polyester. It has created the limited edition item with Samsara Eco, an Australian enviro-tech startup. And it’s another step toward a more circular ecosystem, with textile-to-textile recycling.

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