man in olive shirt jacket and navy shorts riding bike
(Photo/Pearl Izumi)

Pearl Izumi Apparel Shows You How Far to Ride to Offset Your Kit’s Carbon Footprint

Pearl Izumi ingeniously figured out the number of miles needed to ride to offset its apparel.

Nearly everything on the planet — gear, products, activities — has a carbon footprint. Cycling is one of those activities that is human-powered and is great for the environment. But, the gear we use typically isn’t as great environmentally.

Enter Pearl Izumi, which had an idea to measure the carbon footprint of each of its apparel items, and then encourage wearers to offset those footprints by riding. Eventually, riders’ efforts will bring the apparel’s footprint to zero. And this will make each garment carbon neutral.

“We’ve been on a mission to use less oil through our business practices. We are well on the way to making 90% of our products with sustainable materials by 2022,” Pearl Izumi said in a press release. The brand currently makes about 40% of its products with sustainable materials.

Intrigued? So were we.

Make an Impact: Ride in Pearl Izumi ‘Pedal to Zero’ Apparel

Black man from neck down in collared shirt and navy shorts leaning on his bike

Here are the numbers on the amount of CO2 it takes to manufacture and ship a garment to the U.S. (The carbon footprint of apparel shipped to other countries isn’t available yet.) The second number listed is the mileage needed to ride to ‘zero out’ the emissions of the apparel.

How Pearl Izumi calculated these numbers is important to note:

  • Calculated using the EPA’s estimate that a typical passenger car produces 404 g of CO2 per mile. Using that model, Pearl Izumi Rove Short creates the equivalent of 5.9 kg of CO2.
  • Calculated using the Higg Index Product Module 1.0, a tool used to assess and measure the sustainability of the apparel and footwear industries products, from source to supply chain to shipping.
  • Compares the emissions of driving a car versus riding a bike.
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Basically, if you ride 15 miles instead of driving, you’ve zeroed out the emissions impact of the Rove Short.

“We want to make sure we are inspiring people to take other avenues to decrease their impact,” wrote the brand. On top of encouraging riders to “pedal to zero,” Pearl Izumi also has a goal to be net positive by 2025.

The general plan to achieve that goal now is to encourage more people to learn to ride, ride more, and ride responsibly.

Expect to see more Pedal to Zero apparel coming out in spring 2022.

Learn How to Pedal to Zero

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Mary Murphy

Mary is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and is based in GearJunkie's Denver, Colo. office. She has a degree in English and journalism, and has a background in both newspaper and magazine writing. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to skiing to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.