In 2022, Parachute set big commitments toward being a more sustainable brand – something that is a core value to the people inside and outside of this company and of course this planet we all share. We started the year off strong by launching our first GOTSⓇ-certified Organic Cotton Bedding, and lines of Organic Cotton Towels, RobesandLoungewear, and in April, we were honored to receive our Climate Neutral certification! Excited by this speed of change, we wanted someone here to keep us wholly accountable to our goals – in came Tessa Hahn, Parachute’s first Sustainability Manager. Tessa’s here to keep this organization educated around sustainability, our carbon footprint and how to reduce and offset it – and to keep us energized in ensuring that our go-forward operations are always in-line with our mission to do better for people and planet. Below, Tessa shares what led her to this line of work, her early days at Parachute, and her personal take on practices we can all take home with us.
Tell us what you do here at Parachute?
I’m responsible for managing Parachute’s commitments to people + planet! So whether we’re becoming Climate Neutral Certified and taking responsibility for our carbon footprint or overseeing the progress of our ethical manufacturing and responsible materials goals, that’s me! But, the incredible thing about Parachute is that the work extends far beyond just one person. It’s the everyday decisions across our team to make the sustainable, responsible choice that actually help us achieve these commitments.
What drew you to this line of work?
Umm a bit of a funny draw, but my interest in sustainability started when I joined my college’s Model United Nations team. There was something about spending my weekends in a room with all these like-minded nerds who were so driven and positive that we could find new, creative solutions to the worst of the world’s problems that just made it click. Ultimately I was attracted to sustainability in retail because of the speed and breadth of impact we, as businesses, can make in our supply chains.
You’ve been a change agent for Parachute’s sustainability practices, tell us a little about the program and what’s to come.
Admittedly, it’s easy to be a change agent in a company that was founded on producing quality products with natural materials. The stage is already set! Where I come in now and where our work is headed is on doing what we do best–but even better. We became Climate Neutral Certified this April, and that was a giant achievement for the team. Having the data behind our carbon footprint and being committed to reducing our impact is fundamental to what comes next; it’s exactly why we’re focused on transitioning our cotton to organic. Cotton is our #1 material, so taking that already natural material and choosing an even better version of it across our assortment is going to be huge. Beyond that? I’m really excited about our circular potential. We launched our first pilot, the Recycled Down Pillow, in May and have so many learnings–and so much excitement–for what comes next. Stay tuned!!
What’s the best piece of sustainability advice you’ve received?
Honestly? That it’s not up to us as individuals! Of course, we should continue to do our best where we can. Eat less meat, buy better and more local, take the more carbon efficient route, turn the AC down, etc! All of that still matters. But the reality is that it’s not on us as individuals to harbor the guilt of climate change. The responsibility is bigger than that. It’s up to us as sustainable companies and our governments, from local to national, to make our individual actions easier and more impactful.
What tips can you give for people trying to make sustainable changes in their homes?
I’m really stuck on the idea of “care” at the moment. It makes all the difference to how we perceive our homes when we truly care for the items that make it up. For the planet, more care means less impact. And personally, it often means a greater connection to all the carefully chosen items we bring into it. That hole my dog ripped in my vintage rug? That’s a funny story now instead of a reason to toss it. Same goes for spills. I’ve chosen the white couch life, and with that comes embracing a spill or two! I call it character.
What causes are important to you?
I love thinking about this in terms of what part of nature you see and breathe every day. For me, I live in Minneapolis and am blocks away from the Mississippi river, so doing my daily mental health walks, I’m thinking of–and thanking–the organizations that are keeping the land and ecosystems around the river healthy. I hear more birds and see more native plants than I did even a year ago. It’s incredible to see this mighty slice of nature being revitalized. Major props go to Friends of the Mississippi River and the National Park Service for doing the good work!
What Parachute products do you swear by?
Oh! Utility, allllll the way. The All Season Down Alternative Duvet is an absolute cloud-filled dream, the Side Sleeper Pillow has somehow solved my chronic neck issues, and the Body Pillow? It’s the ~perfect~ amount of plush. I don’t know how we do it. And then I wrap all of those in our Organic Cotton Sheets, and it’s unspeakably wonderful. The sheets are so fresh and crisp and in such calming shades. And I know they’re good because my dog Edith has a tendency to steal more than her fair share of covers during the night…