Spotlight On NW Creative: Keen on Sustainability

James Curleigh, CEO of Portland-based Keen Footwear outlines the company’s commitment to sustainability at Go Green.

I like how Curleigh identifies the reason Lewis & Clark paddled canoes from St. Louis to the Pacific coast in 1804, and then how he builds on that for his own purposes.

“The goal of the Lewis & Clark Expedition was to gain an accurate sense of the resources being exchanged. That’s kind of an interesting notion of sustainability in itself. So for us, we’ve tried to always gain an accurate sense of the resources we’re exchanging in the materials we use, in the products we make, in how we consider how they’re made, in the places we choose to make them, and right through to the people who are going to wear them to try to spread the message.”

According to a press release on Outdoor Industry Association’s site, Curleigh worked as President and CEO of Salomon North America before coming to Keen. He also spent time at Mars, Inc. where he was involved with business strategy, brand extensions, and Olympic sponsorship. So he’s a marketer, through and through. Which isn’t to say Keen’s commitment to the environment is concocted merely to sell shoes. I believe Keen is genuine. And I believe the environmental movement needs more marketers.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.