Sigr and social responsibility - Creating a sustainable future
Running a profitable business goes hand in hand with being environmentally and socially responsible. For us at Sigr, anything else is unthinkable.
Who are we?
Sigr is a small international company with big ideas. We are based in the very north of Sweden. People are quick to ask "who owns it?" Is this the most important question? ...well maybe it is. Knowing who the owners of a company are can quickly reveal whether or not the company's brand promise is something they live by or not. Interestingly this is not usually a question that people ask of a large company. Go figure.
The engine and passion behind Sigr are 5 friends from different corners of the world - Sweden, England and China to be exact. We've all worked at some of these larger companies, in design, marketing, programming, production, distribution and quality control.
But there was something missing, we were losing our connection to the world beyond the office. We wanted to reconnect, with our core beliefs as the foundations of something new. We wanted to be close to nature. We wanted to inspire people to get outside and appreciate the wonders available to us every single day. With epic nature on our doorstep and a happy convergence of 5 different life paths, we decided to start Sigr. Inspired by nature. Committed to equality in everything we do. Having fun with friends.
As we've mentioned, the five founders are an international bunch. We naively thought setting up an international company with our friends would be a piece of cake. Well, turns out the friendship part is easy, but the setting up an international company part, is not. Navigating the rules and regulations of multiple countries, trying to get them all to slot together was hard, but with time and after not a little sacrifice and a lot of help from our friends, our dream of starting a company, global from day one, was achieved.
The Sigr chain
We have all known each other from before in other contexts, but lived in different places. When we decided to go live with Sigr, half the team lived in Sweden and half the team in China. Our hero in English, for some reason he thought the north of Sweden was a far more exotic place to live than the south of the UK. And we are happy that he fell in love in Sweden. That way we have been able to place the design, marketing and sales office in the very north of Sweden. Two of the Sigr team decided to live in and enjoy the beautiful area of Qingdao on the east coast of China overlooking the Yellow Sea. China is where the designs become reality. In our very own shiny new Sigr factory no less. Owning our own factory is key in our being able to control the process from start to finish and to ensure top notch quality and conditions at every stage. The factory has 18 employees who are also a very valued part of the Sigr family.
Sigr is serious about being socially responsible. We know there is no planet B.
Listen and learn
Being driven by research, development and innovation is a must these days. We know cycling is good for the environment but to make better clothing and bikes, we need research. We need to ask real cyclists what they think. About their experiences and their ideas. We want to solve their problems, to improve their rides. The local cycling clubs are central to our strategy of innovation. We're lucky in being able have awesome scientists to work with at the local University and to have access to an excellent textile lab. All of these factors mean here in little old Umeå, we have the perfect testbed to help us develop a brighter future for world cycling.
Our Sigr motto "Everywhere is biking distance" pretty much nails it. If we can get more people to use a bicycle instead of a car, it creates a multi pronged attack on some of the largest problems today. Improving people's health and reducing pollution. Two of our guiding lights. We truly believe we will make a difference.
We call our resellers and our fellow workers part of "the Sigr family" because we believe the idea of family resonates on so many levels. Starting with our own nearest and dearest and all the way up to the global family. Family and friends are a real treasure, something to be truly valued. There is so much we can do together. Together we can make an impact.
Let's get things straight
The path of our apparel from idea through production adheres strictly to all local and international rules and regulations but often, as soon as people hear that we have our factory in China, we get the question "but how do you know it's not children making your clothes?" Well, we know because we OWN the factory. We have full control of who works and how they work. Children should never work. They should ride bikes, play and have the right to go to school.
Recycled and Circular
We're serious about our mission and since the earth's resources are finite, we are looking for ways to use more recycled materials in our garments. We kicked off this journey with our 2019 Ocean jerseys by using material made from recycled fishing nets and other 'ocean plastic', two words which really shouldn't be said together we think you'll agree. Let's all be a part of this change.
Prototyping was next on our list of "stuff to improve" Prototyping can involve many versions of a single garment being designed, tweaked, manufactured, sent for testing, sent for approval and in all probability that chain of events could be repeated multiple times until the garment was ready for the world.
From now on we'll be using avatars in our prototyping process, thereby reducing the environmental impact to more or less zero. Read more about our new friend Maja here.
As planned, we have progressively increased our usage of recycled materials since the start in 2019 and from 2023, we plan to make all new production exclusively recycled. We're getting there!
In addition, we are working with Shopify to reduce our carbon footprint by using their Planet program. This means that we invest a portion of our turnover in various initiatives to remove carbon from the atmosphere and lock it away as safely as possible. The main points are:
- Ship carbon neutral
- Remove atmospheric carbon
- Store carbon for 1000+ years
- Solutions like ocean-based removal and direct air capture
Some will cry Greenwashing!
And in some cases they will be right.
But we say to that, "don't let perfect be the enemy of good"
We have to try.
Follow our journey and we promise to do more.