Keep Good Company

Tired of the green-product spin? Here are 11 industry leaders doing their part.

TIMBERLAND Though it's a $1.6 billion behemoth, with a GDP larger than Belize's, Timberland has incorporated green components like recycled-rubber outsoles and organic-cotton liners into 80 percent of its shoes. Even better, it will plant a million trees by 2009 to offset carbon and is printing a Green Index on many shoe boxes detailing the amount of earth-friendly materials used and how much greenhouse gas each product created. GREEN-O-METER: 2.5

Green Gear: Timberland

TIMBERLAND Full Zip Cotton Sweater, . NEW BELGIUM Fat Tire Amber Ale,

Patagonia Reversible

NAU Mix S/S Tee, $50. SIMPLE Hangover backpack, $100. CLIF Mojo Mixed Nuts bar, $1.39. PATAGONIA Reversible Snap-T pullover, $140.

Patagonia Capilene 2 Zip neck

PATAGONIA Capilene 2 Zip-Neck, . REI Woodland Vest, . BIG AGNES Ripple Creek 35, 0.

NEW BELGIUM Despite being the nation's third-largest craft brewer, New Belgium Brewing recycles some two-thirds of its waste stream. The brewery's excess methane gets turned into heat energy, and water is used so efficiently, the wind-powered brewery uses 20 percent less than the industry average. In 2007, New Belgium released its first all-organic beer, Mothership Wit, and last November it signed on to 1% for the Planet. GREEN-O-METER: 4

ICEBREAKER & SMARTWOOL Fabrics don't get more sustainable than wool. But both Icebreaker and Smartwool take extra steps to make sure the merino wool used in every shirt, sweater, and base layer comes from hormone-free sheep that are sustainably raised on New Zealand family farms. You be the watchdog. Starting this summer, Icebreaker's Baacode initiative will let you trace every stop on a garment's path—from the free-range sheep that grew it to the factories that recycle the dye wash. GREEN-O-METER: 4.5

SIMPLE Talk about a small footprint. Thirty-four of Simple' s 37 men's styles are made almost entirely of earth-friendly or reused materials: water-based glue, natural crepe-rubber midsoles, and outsoles made from old tires. This year, Simple began using mostly organic-cotton or bamboo liners, and its parent company, Deckers Outdoor, is currently building a sustainable factory in China. GREEN-O-METER: 3.5

NAU More so than any other company, newcomer Nau sees the big picture: Each of the 30 fabrics used in its spring line was developed from scratch, with an eye to everything from end-of-life recyclability to reducing the amount of energy the garments will require during washings. A Web-based sales approach saves FedEx truck exhaust and cash, allowing Nau to donate an incredible 5 percent of its revenue to green causes. GREEN-O-METER: 5

CLIF Green thinking permeates Clif. Every Mojo, Luna, and Clif bar is 70 percent organic, employees get forgivable loans for buying a hybrid, and their new headquarters is being designed to meet LEED-platinum standards. Clif even has a staff ecologist. In 2006, the company switched its delivery trucks to biodiesel, and starting this year it will buy back and recycle used wrappers. GREEN-O-METER: 3.5

REI Though REI launched its own eco-sensitive apparel line last year, the retailer's biggest contribution may be behind the scenes: REI is helping to create an industrywide definition of "green" outdoor products to help consumers pare down the heap of dubious claims out there. One-fifth of REI's stores are now powered solely by renewable energy, and future outlets will be modeled on an energy-efficient green-building prototype that opened this year in Boulder, Colorado. GREEN-O-METER: 2.5

PATAGONIA Even before green was chic, Patagonia was giving back: It helped found both the Conservation Alliance and 1% for the Planet and has donated $29 million to environmental groups over the last two decades. It has been using only organic cotton for more than ten years, and its hefty catalogs are printed on 40 percent recycled paper (among the highest content in the industry). Now, Patagonia's Common Threads program makes it easy for consumers to recycle their old garments. GREEN-O-METER: 4

BIG AGNES & SIERRA DESIGNS Making earth-friendly outdoor gear is tricky (organic bikes, anyone?), but Big Agnes and Sierra Designs have made the biggest strides. Both now feature six sleeping-bag models stuffed with at least half synthetic insulation (made from old plastic bottles), and use a new tent-pole finishing process that cuts way back on toxic chemicals. This year, Big Agnes is launching a pair of bags made almost completely from recycled materials. GREEN-O-METER: 2.5

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