Jade Yoga, Dean Jerrehian
Jade Yoga's development of the first green yoga mat might be described as an accident - as the goal was to develop the best functioning yoga mat available. Because natural rubber performs so much better than synthetic rubber (PVC, PER, TPE, EVA), those synthetic rubbers were never really an option. However, as a vegetarian and former lawyer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency where I enforced environmental laws, I have tried to steer the company in a green direction. So rather than pat ourselves on the back for making the product with natural rubber (which performs better), we said we could and would do more.
The first thing we did was resist the temptation to move production to China - where almost all other yoga mats are made today. This decision was made easy after a 2005 chemical spill into the Songhua River in China - which the Chinese government tried to cover up, not even letting the people downstream drinking the water know of the risks. This was further reinforced with all the recent problems with toys and foods coming out of China (which almost killed my own cat). While dollar costs may be lower with mats made in China, it is just not worth it.
The second step was to commit to giving back to the earth with every mat sold. Jade mats are born from trees; so we decided to thank the trees by committing to plant a tree for every mat sold. And since 2006, through our partnership with Trees for the Future, we have done just that.