While there is room to grow in furthering transparency on the supply chain and labor conditions specific to Bic Sports, unlike many other stand up paddle board brands, Bic makes it clear that the environment is factored into their production from beginning to end of life-cycle. As a paddle boarder who’s dealt with a board that has needed a replacement fin and shown signs of wear after only a year, I appreciate Bic’s emphasis on creating a board that’s both durable and eco-friendly. For families and beginners looking for their first paddle board, Bic’s Performer Tough Paddle Board is a good option for lasting quality that stands out as one of the more affordable sustainable brands.
While the long-worded list of materials may not sound particularly eco-conscious at first glance, this board is more sustainable than it appears. It’s made of molded, watertight EPS Foam core (to give structure), tough outer polyethylene skin (for impact resistance), and embossed EVA pad (for comfort). The EPS foam core is molded in house to guarantee consistency and quality, with zero waste during the process. Byproducts from manufacturing are recycled back into the process whenever possible and when they can’t be they are recycled off site. A notable aspect of the materials is that they make the paddle board very durable which means it will last a long time. The “Tough Tech” in this paddle board was developed to produce lighter and stronger boards than their previous technology, replacing polyurethane foam with a less polluting, more recyclable polystyrene foam. Bic Sport even proves the paddle boards are durable with a video showing one being dropped from the back of a truck onto pavement and then displaying the board free of dents or scratches. The assurance of quality and durability is a good sign that this is a product that won’t be overfilling landfills--and the price for long-term quality is a win, as many sustainable competitors charge closer to or over $1000.
As a paddle boarder who is always dragging my board to and from the beach during the summer, when I discovered Bic Sports’ paddle board, I was surprised at their ability to preserve quality in a sustainable way. Bic Sports products are all made in France. The manufacturing process has low energy consumption with a short production cycle, a short infra red heating cycle, and low electricity consumption. They also report resource conservation with a product rejection rate of less than 2.5/1000. Surplus materials are also recycled back into the production process and their capacity per mould is 5 times greater than standard methods which reduces waste. The company has also achieved no pollution through a closed circuit cooling of the moulds, no gas emissions, and no solvents. While this paddle board doesn’t fall under this, it is notable that the O’pen Bic, the kayaks, and dinghies can be recycled at the end of their life cycle. In 2016 Bic Sports was also Eco-ride designated for the implementation of an environment management system (Eco-ride is a tool which measures and determine environmental efforts of companies in the board sports industry). In terms of transportation Bic notes an overall company challenge they are working on with reducing greenhouse gas emissions, attempting to find alternate routes from manufacturing sites like France to achieve reductions.
Under a page dedicated to sustainability on their website, Bic highlights themselves as pioneers in eco-conscious products, explaining how “long before ‘eco-friendly’ was a buzzword’ we began developing ”clean“ manufacturing.” The Bich family who started the company developed Bic Sport from their passion for waters ports and expertise in sustainable manufacturing. The company values include quality, durability, and affordability. In Bic’s overall company sustainability report, Bic Sport is only given a small section, leaving room for improvement in their transparency on how they’ve reached their impressive achievements like “no pollution” and what if any future sustainable water sports plans entail. Specific on Bic Sports specific treatment of employees is not clear, but the overall company implements safety-management systems at its production sites in keeping with the Environmental Health and Safety Policy, and also keep records of worker accidents in their three main headquarters to maintain lower accident rates. They also conduct self assessments of compliance with their code of conduct in factories, following laws modeled after International Labor Organization standards.