Karün has launched a new Volvo Ocean Raced edition of its sustainable sunglasses, made from 100% recycled fishing nets and co-developed with pro sailors from the Volvo Ocean Race.
As the leading sailing race around the world, the Volvo Ocean Race has a unique perspective on the problems posed by plastics in our oceans. Eight million tonnes of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year, and according to one recent study, if no action is taken, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.
Like the Volvo Ocean Race, Karün is striving to change the way we interact with our planet. The company is helping to prove that it is possible for a business to work in harmony with the natural environment.
The Volvo Ocean Race Limited Edition model is the product of an innovative and progressive design process, involving renowned sailors such as Vestas 11th Hour Racing’s Mark Towill and Charlie Enright, and Turn the Tide on Plastic’s Martin Strömberg.
The outcome is a high performance, sustainable pair of sailing sunglasses featuring Carl Zeiss lenses, specially adapted for the tough conditions faced by offshore sailors.
We interviewed Karün CEO Thomas Kimber on the company’s link up with Volvo Ocean Race, how to do business in a sustainable way, and the benefits of working closely with world-class athletes to develop products.
Why is the Volvo Ocean Race such a perfect platform for a company like Karün?
I believe that the Race is one of the most challenging events in the world, and therefore stands for performance. If we can prove together that we can make a high performance product under a different business logic, production process and value chain, then that’s a big statement to the rest of the business world. We’re spreading a very unique message – this is a problem not just for one country or continent, but for everyone around the world. The messaging and purpose behind the race is a great example of how big organisations and companies can start to look at sustainability as much more than a marketing tool, and trying to understand that sustainability is actually about a different way of thinking, about alternative ways to organise and why you do things.
Have you worked with other major sporting events before?
This is our first collaboration with a world-class international sport competition, but we have worked in surfing, with Ramon Navarro, who is a very good friend and brand messenger for our company. He’s leading a sustainability cause down in Chile where our HQ is, so we work a lot with him. We also work with very high performing climbers and surfers around the world.
How has your experience of working with the Volvo Ocean Race been so far?
It’s been really great. The challenge that we both encountered has been gigantic – for perspective, a normal eyewear company normally takes two years of development before launching a product. We started the development of this product in May this year, so just 5 months later we’re already at market. The speed of that process has been exceptional and I think that it wouldn’t be possible without the support of the Volvo Ocean Race team, and the sailors who have contributed to the design of this collaboration.
You’re also working closely with one of our teams, Vestas 11th Hour Racing…
Yes, we’ve been collaborating closely with them and the founders of the team, Charlie Enright and Mark Towill, have been very proactive in giving us their feedback. We’ve also rolled out the product to other experienced Volvo Ocean Race sailors like Martin Strömberg, and some Olympic guys too. The whole conception of this project is not just our creation, it’s a real collaboration between the Volvo Ocean Race, its sailors and Karün. That combination is the magic of it.
And of course, the best part is that the consumer can buy this product off the shelf...
Yes, your weekend sailor can go and buy this product knowing that it’s developed in conjunction with the best sailors in the world, for the toughest sailing test in the world, and knowing that it came from one of the most sustainable production processes you can have in the sunglasses industry.
How have you found the Volvo Ocean Race as a networking tool?
Look, we’re a small company from the end of the world – literally, from Patagonia – and the Volvo Ocean Race is an enormous event from one of the most developed countries in the world. Despite that, we’re working together for the same cause, to spread the message that we’re in it together. This really excites me – I think we can be a great inspiration to big and small companies around the world that want to work together towards aligned goals. In terms of business and networking, the race is also really exciting because I think we can represent a movement of millions of people around the world who aren’t just sitting down and expecting big business to make the decisions, but are acting themselves on a personal level. The B2B network provided by the Volvo Ocean Race is a great opportunity to expand this message and prove that change is possible.
Check out the Karün range at: https://eu.karunworld.com/