Marisa Selfa CEO OF NORTH SAILS APPAREL is on a mission to make the much-loved performance and lifestyle brand Ocean Positive.
”I’ve been in the business a long time” says Marisa Selfa as we sit down to discuss North Sails sustainability practices at this year’s Copa de Rey. 2022 marks the second year that the lifestyle arm of the eponymous sailmaking company has been the official apparel brand of arguably Mallorca’s most famous sailing regatta.
”One of the main reasons I stay in fashion, lifestyle & sports is because I can work with brands who are serious about making a real difference.”
And a difference does need to be made. The garment industry ranks 3rd on the list of the world’s heaviest polluters and is responsible 10% of all carbon emissions globally. Water pollution, microplastic shedding and water wastage all contribute. It takes for example 2,700 litres of water to produce just one cotton t-shirt, for some perspective that’s enough water for the average human to drink for 900 days. There is clearly some work to do!
Since Marisa joined North Sails in 2020 she together with her team have continued a brand-wide commitment to ocean regeneration and protection and it goes above and beyond just ‘green wishing’ in the changes. ”At North Sails we understood that tangible changes are made by more than just sourcing sustainable or recycled fabrics, that is a great start of course but it’s not good enough to just be sustainable, we are working towards being the first Ocean Positive brand” Says Selfa. ”We looked to the UN’s sustainable development goals and implemented the relevant ones into our core strategy as well as partnering with NGO’s such as the Coral Gardeners .”
And it is working. In 2021 not only did North Sails apparel become B Corp certified, a benchmark for sustainable and ethical production, but they also joined the Fashion Pact a group of 60 companies using their collective power to mitigate climate change, restore biodiversity, and protect the oceans.
Through their partnership with The French Polynesian based NGO the Coral Gardeners, North Sails commitment to ocean conservation and preservation is at its most apparent. Coral reef bleaching is a phenomenon brought about solely by climate change and needs radical action to reverse.
The Coral Gardeners efforts to preserve and restore the coral reef have so far meant planting over 15,755 resilient coral fragments, with a noble aim to plant 1 million corals around the world by 2025 to ensure the longevity of this delicate ecosystem. This year alone they are planting 15,000 around Mo’orea, the sister island to Tahiti, where North Sails has its very own coral nursery. Through the Coral Gardeners initiative, you can adopt a coral and track its progress. North Sails dedication to this worthy organization means they have done so in scale.
”I don’t agree when people say small changes won’t make a difference, the attitude that it’s just a drop in the ocean” Says Selfa as we make our way past the busy North Sails Copa del Rey pop-up installed in RCNP and onto the dock for the days racing.
” Well, I think what is the ocean if not a billion drops? We can make a difference if we work together.” And we couldn’t agree more.
Find out more about North Sails initiatives and the Coral Gardeners
By Lucie Gardiner