What do rubber trees have to do with surfing? The answer was "nothing"... that is until the team at Patagonia started working on a sustainable alternative to neoprene.
Neoprene - the most environmentally harmful component of a standard wetsuit - is mostly produced and manufactured using a petrochemical refined from crude oil in a process that uses non-renewable resources and is incredibly detrimental to the environment in the long-term.
Given their commitment to reducing their impact on the planet, Patagonia invested in over 10 years of product research and development to create a wetsuit that not only met with their rigorous standards for performance, durability and warm...but also for sustainability.
The result is a light, stretchy and neoprene-free spring suit made of 85% Yulex® renewable natural rubber, 15% synthetic rubber by polymer content, with 100% recycled polyester lining. The natural rubber is derived from sources that are Forest Stewardship Council® certified by the Rainforest Alliance, meaning the trees are not grown on newly cut rainforest land. They are also made in a Fair Trade Certified™ facility with solution-dyed linings that reduce CO2 emissions and water-based AQUAa™ glue that is free from harmful VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). And by switching from neoprene to natural rubber, they reduce CO2 emissions by up to ~80% in the manufacturing process.