Arbor was started by high school friends, Bob Carlson and Chris Jensen in 1995. In their early twenties, they both worked for a company selling sustainably sourced wood. This experience taught them about sourcing and wood production but more importantly, an unpopular topic at the time, sustainability.
Regular snowboard trips to Mammoth Mountain are where the idea to start a snowboard brand centered on conservation came about. They made sustainability the focus of Arbor at a time when it was non-existent in action sports. Recycled and renewed plastic alternatives and wood veneer top sheets gave Arbor snowboards a unique look which also translated into reliable performance. Chasing that same feeling of carving fresh powder then led to the introduction of Arbor skateboards. Arbor’s unique approach to a stagnant industry would catch on years later.
Arbor was the first action sports company to focus on sustainability. And in that respect, they were and still are ahead of their time. Another example of this is their Returning Roots project which focuses on preserving and restoring forests. Nowadays you will find a sustainability pledge behind every major brand. The difference is that Arbor’s environmentalist perspective was a part of the brand from inception.