Spring is just around the corner - the perfect event to reflect on our core values of sustainability, inclusivity and functional design by freeing them of some of their cobwebs that - we feel - are weighing them down. We despise heavy values that sound like tedious work because we see values as beacons of light that guide our daily decisions. Today, we are taking a closer look at sustainability, focusing on two critical yet often overlooked aspects: consistency and transparency.


What is sustainability?


Sustainability is a multifaceted concept, as acknowledged by scholars in the field. The term encompasses myriad interpretations and context-specific understandings, making it a complex topic to pin down. One of the first definitions to pop up when researching sustainability online is on Wikipedia (wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainability), which refers to a scientific article ("Three pillars of sustainability: in search of conceptual origins", download PDF on link.springer.com) within the first paragraph. In this 2018 article, the authors cut right to the chase in the introduction: “(...)‘sustainability’ remains an open concept with myriad interpretations and context-specific understanding.

We are quoting from a Sustainability Science article to underline that the definition of sustainability is not easy. In fact, if scientists are debating this question, who are we to try ourselves at definition? Keep that in mind when engaging with messages, news and content with a narrow definition of the word. Too often, the word is used to imply the sender of the message has an eco-conscience and is therefore, good or better than, without acknowledging the complexity of the topic.


We found one definition of sustainability in the Oxford English Dictionary that felt very actionable to us.

Sustainability (/səˌsteɪnəˈbɪlɪti/); noun
“the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.”


Consistency in Action


At AUAU Athletics®, we believe that sustainability is not solely about grand gestures. It is about making daily choices that align with our values. Whether you have abundant time and resources or face constraints in your daily life, there are actions you can take to contribute to long-term change.

We believe consistency is a substantial attribute of sustainable actions because it affects all outcomes and can even determine if actors prevail. A sustainable working business, for example, needs to be financially sustainable to continue its work.

For us, sustainability means moving at a sustainable pace for our team and our mission. This includes decisions such as careful product development and testing, and crowdfunding. A thorough product development and testing phase ensures optimal functionality and design that satisfies customer needs. Crowdfunding provides capital and insight into market demands and needs. While our approach may not be flawless or even appear slow for people on the outside, it is the most sustainable path for us to pursue as a self-funded business. Check out this blog post in which we describe the reasons behind our process: Crowdfunding the Future of Sustainable Sportswear.


Small Steps, Big Impact

Sustainable actions do not always have to be monumental. In fact, small, consistent efforts can have a significant impact over time. Whether it is reducing waste, supporting local businesses, or making eco-conscious purchasing decisions, every choice matters when made consistently.


Prioritizing Transparency


In today's landscape, many companies tout their sustainability efforts on social media and marketing materials. However, true change requires more than flashy claims; it demands transparency and accountability.

We advocate for institutions and standards that hold companies accountable for their sustainability practices. Initiatives like Design From Finland (whose mark we are allowed to carry, check out this blog post to learn more) and BCorp certification provide consumers with tangible markers of a company's commitment to sustainability. In 2023, the EU agreed to ban greenwashing and generic or misleading environmental claims made by companies (www.europarl.europa.eu), which member states will have two years to implement in their national legislations. But laws such as these can only be the beginning.


Worth the vigilance

If you are having trouble finding information backing up companies’ sustainability claims, be suspicious and ask questions! Companies should support their marketing messages with proof and own-up and inform on areas still open for improvement. Without this transparency, sustainability (or the claims thereof) may only be a decorative word instead of a functional action.


Join Us in Spring Cleaning Our Sustainability Practices

Learn more about our commitment to sustainability and how it affects our material choices.