Running Brands with Environmental Programs You Didn't Know About

Make purchases you feel good about.

When it comes to protecting the environment, our purchases—what and from whom—matter. Thankfully, the brands we love are always working hard to up their game when it comes to sustainability. This is a short list of just a few brands making strides and setting examples for the entire industry: 


GU believes that if they are promoting access to sport and activity, it’s their responsibility then, to help protect the environment in which they encourage the world to play. So, it makes sense that part of the energy company’s brand-wide mission is to give back to the community and lend a hand to environmental sustainability. To do this, GU supports around 100 grassroots organizations, including the Conservation Alliance

In addition to their give-back program, GU also encourages consumers to recycle with Terracycle, a unique recycling program for hard-to-recycle items (like, you guessed it: a GU packet!) While it’s not as easy as dropping empty packets into a recycling bin (you do have to ship them), the GU and Terracycle partnership makes it as easy as possible. Simply accumulate acceptable items till you have at least two pounds of recyclables and then print a free label on their site. For more details, click here and, as GU says, “join the brigade.”

Brooks Running

The Brooks website states, "We treasure and thrive in the outdoors and enjoy spending time in our local communities. We know what really matters: the long-term well-being of people, the planet, and our role in nurturing both." To reach that end, they developed the Brooks Running Responsibly Program, a holistic Corporate Responsibility platform, which measures sustainability through five pillars: community, fair labor, product design and materials, manufacturing, and our footprint.

The brand has an honest section of their website in which they transparently display their product’s environmental impacts, environmentally preferred materials, banned substance list, environmental manufacturing program, global footprint, and greenhouse gas emissions.


In a 2016 interview posted on Nike News with Hannah Jones, Nike’s “Chief Sustainability Officer, she said the company aims to increase its sustainability through innovation.  

“Our ultimate sustainability vision at Nike, which is locked into our growth as a company, is to fundamentally decouple our growth from scarce resources. And design is our greatest weapon — it is one of our greatest levers of change. That’s why we’ve made the sustainability team part of our advanced innovation department. This ensures sustainability is utterly woven into our DNA and innovation pipeline. In fact, it’s often driving innovation.”

Plus, they also have an impressive shoe recycling program. Take up to 10 pairs of worn out kicks to any Nike store (you can also mail them, but Nike won’t cover those shipping costs); Nike will use those shoes to create a proprietary track and athletic court material called “Nike Grind," which they also use to make playgrounds.


This originally South African (they're now based in Durham!) performance sock company makes socks in both South Africa and the US. In both places they pay close attention to ethical working conditions and material sourcing. This originally South African performance sock company makes socks in both South Africa and the US. In both places they pay close attention to ethical working conditions and material sourcing. Socks produced in the US cut down on the carbon emissions associated with transportation. What’s more, Balega works work hard to raise money for local charities across the country, like Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, who work to eliminate environmental causes of breast cancer.

Check out Balaga's numerous charity efforts here.


The company that makes top-notch hydration products for road and trail running also works to clean beaches around the country, too. (For example, this year they adopted a section of Bolsa Chica State Beach in Orange County, CA, and are working hard to keep it trash free). Plus, by simply using the reusable water bottles and handhelds they offer, you’re cutting down on the amount of plastic waste that gets tossed into the ocean every single day. 

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