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Rip Curl is one of the most popular board sports brands, alongside Quiksilver and Billabong. But how ethical is Rip Curl? Read the article to learn about Rip Curl’s “Not Good Enough” rating and discover “Good” and “Great” rated alternatives. This article is based on the Rip Curl rating published in April 2021.
Rip Curl, the “Ultimate Surfing Company”?
Like many big companies these days, Rip Curl’s story started in a garage in the last 1960s. Doug “Claw” Warbrick and Brian “Sing Ding” Singer originally started making surfboards before moving on to wetsuits. Soon, they became one of the world’s most recognised board sports brands, alongside Quiksilver and Billabong, creating products not only for surfing but also for skateboarding, snowboarding, and wakeboarding.
Being so close to the ocean, Rip Curl has set up an environmental policy, Rip Curl Planet, and claims to be driving a host of environmental initiatives, focusing on reducing waste, reducing energy consumption, and using recycled materials. So how exactly is Rip Curl impacting people, the planet, and animals? We ask, how ethical is Rip Curl?
Rip Curl says it has “a strong determination to be environmentally responsible”, yet we rate the brand “Not Good Enough” for the environment.
The brand uses some eco-friendly materials, including recycled materials: starting in 2019, the brand rolled out menswear and womenswear swim and apparel collections designed using recycled materials, organic cotton, and organic fleeces. But that’s pretty much it.
We found no evidence Rip Curl has set a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, taken meaningful action to reduce or eliminate hazardous chemicals, or implemented water reduction initiatives.
Rip Curl does support local environmental groups to clean up, protect, and revegetate beach and mountain areas close to their offices, but this is not enough for the brand to get a higher rating.
Rip Curl also rates “Not Good Enough” on the people front, which is worrying.
While researching the brand, we found no evidence it has worker empowerment initiatives such as collective bargaining or rights to make a complaint and, more importantly, that it ensures payment of a living wage in its supply chain.
Rip Curl does audit some of its supply chain. It discloses partially adequate policies or safeguards to protect suppliers and workers in its supply chain from the impacts of COVID-19, which is a first step. Still, for a brand that aims to “demonstrate honest and ethical behaviour in all that [it does]”, this is definitely “Not Good Enough”.
Rip Curl is also “Not Good Enough” regarding its impact on animals. There is no evidence the brand has a policy to minimise the suffering of animals. Despite not using fur, angora, exotic animal skin or hair, the brand still uses leather, wool, and down (accredited by the Responsible Down Standard).
Overall rating: Not Good Enough
We rate Rip Curl as “Not Good Enough” overall based on our research. For a brand that claims to be acting sustainably and respecting people and the planet, it needs to be doing much more on all fronts. Rip Curl should start by strengthening its environmental practices, using more eco-friendly and less animal-derived materials, and setting and reporting on its greenhouse gas emissions targets. The brand must also ensure its workers are treated fairly and paid a living wage. Only then might the brand be considered the “Ultimate Surfing Company”.
Note that Good On You ratings consider hundreds of issues, and it is not possible to list every relevant issue in a summary of the brand’s performance. For more information, see our How We Rate page and our FAQs.
If you’re a surfer looking to protect our planet, then the first step might be to choose better, more environmentally-friendly gear. And even if you’re not a surfer but love our planet just as much, keep reading to discover our favourite eco-friendly alternatives to Rip Curl.
“Good” and “Great” alternatives to Rip Curl