Atoms is committed to a more sustainable future and wants to balance stake holder interest among the planet, people, and our profitability. We don't have all of the answers and we are far from a 100% sustainable company but we can talk about things that we have done to get closer to that goal.
We look at our environmental impact through what we can do upstream, during production, and the downstream impacts of our products.
We want to source as much as we can close as close to our factory in South Korea. Things like the shoe boxes are sourced within Asia as those need to be boxed at the time of production where things like our shipping boxes are sourced in the United States as that is where we ship to the majority of our customers.
Atoms is a brand known for its quality materials. We have sourced recycled brass eyelets for all of our shoes as well as experimented with recycled upper material for our Tie-Dye Blue release.
The Atoms shoe box uses 44% less cardboard than the conventional shoebox.
Our socks are made with organic cotton.
All of our products are 100% vegan. This is an under talked about problem but the biggest source of global carbon emissions don't come from transpiration, it comes from food production. We often talk about turning off the lights, recycling, and buying an electric car but we frequently skip over changing our diet. While we don't make any food products, other brands use food sources such as leather or wool in some of their products. It takes 1,200 calories of grain to produce 1 calorie of beef. While that has nothing to do with shoes, it demonstrates how much land needs to be deforested for crops, sprayed with oil in the form of pesticides and fertilizer, and then transported to feed a cow or sheep which will later be slaughtered for leather or wool collection. By removing animal byproducts, we can greatly reduce the carbon inputs upstream.
We use a waterless dyeing technique that conserves water and prevents toxic run off that local municipalities are left to treat. Below, you can see a video of the Tie-Dye Blue sublimation where we don't need to waste dye on all of the upper material.
We also alternate the direction of the upper to reduce the amount of waste the upper creates. It is then transferred with heat to the material to produce a water free upper. By printing the upper, it allows us to run tests and iterate quickly. If the blue isn't "just right" then we can print another pair in another shade instead of of wasting a lot of dye, time, and upper material that is in the wrong color. As you can see in the video, we can print give different variations at once if we wanted to.
Craftsmanship has always been a core pillar to our production philosophy. By hiring the best crafts people we can find, our error rate is about 5% which is well below the industry average.
This is where we have spend the most time as this is not only about the environment but about the experience.
As a lot of you see on our website upon check out, Atoms uses carbon offsets on all of our orders through our partnership with EcoCart. This not only creates carbon neutral orders, but offsets the manufacturing and our sourcing of the materials we use to be 100% carbon neutral company.
Our carbon offsets are being used to protect the Garcia River Forest in Northern California. We started Atoms in California and while it has always suffered from wildfires, it has gotten drastically worse since we moved to Brooklyn. California forests filter out the green house gases throughout the state, drive a high rate of economic return through tourism, and provide jobs in rural areas.
The number one question we get askes is, "Why aren't there more colors on the website?" or "When is [my favorite color] coming back?" Doing limited releases was a strategy to enhance our customer experience as well as reduce our environmental impact. When we
All of our gift cards are digital. While some people prefer to have physical gift cards, we don't want that plastic to end up in a landfill.
Another digital initiative we have is done is removing all of the paper collateral in our products. All of our marketing, education, and your receipts have been move online so we don't send any paperwork in the box. This also protects your privacy as 60% of all identity theft still comes from unshredded personal information that winds up in the trash.
We try to make it a practice to re-use as much as possible day to today. When we out grew our original office, we looked to repurpose all of our old shelving. All of the lumber from our office in San Francisco was donated to a tiger sanctuary in Northern California to provide homes for the tigers.
All of our electronics are Energy Star certified. The majority of our computers are from Apple which has a long history of being environmentally friendly. We also bought all LED lighting when we moved into our new office in Brooklyn.
Like many people, we use Amazon to help run our business. Our team uses Amazon Smile to have a portion of our order go to the Sierra Club, the oldest and one of the largest environmental organization in the United States.
Another frequent question is, "Why are your shoes so expensive?" Well, we want to take care of our team in New York, Pakistan, and South Korea. The people who manufacture our shoes for example are paid more than 50% the industry average and we pay into several forms of benefits. The team there has health care coverage, a pension plan, unemployment and disability insurance, and work in a clean and safe environment.
We look at our customers as friends and always looking to support our friends, new or old, in any way we can. Our friend Corbin bought our shoes but later reached out for some help trying to protect the kids in the tennis league he coaches in our backyard of Brooklyn.
We use BPA free shipping labels. BPA is a common ingredient in plastics that is highly transmissive. The average person is now consuming a credit cards worth of plastic a week through things like touching receipts that have BPA in them.
When we created the mask project, we didn't expect to be as successful as it has been. However we knew that we didn't want to profit off of a global health crisis and we knew that the pandemic was going to hurt lower income families the most. That is why we sold the masks at cost and donate a mask for every sold when we started.
Since then we have donated masks to the Know Your Rights Camp, front line health care workers, and kids in every major metropolitan city in Texas. We also donated shoes to health care workers in New York City at the start of the pandemic to make our heroes a bit more comfortable as they worked 12-16 hour days.
Every Monday, we buy lunch for the team. We all love Chipotle but one of our rules is to order from a smaller business. All too often corporate cafeterias become established and take away the lunch rush from the surrounding area which further gentrifies the storefronts. We want to ensure there is a thriving business community in Brooklyn by ordering from mom and pop restaurants.
In 2020, we partnered with ID.Me to offer discounts to people who were making the world a better place. Teachers, firefighters, police, health care workers, students, and other people in public office all deserve a bit of gratitude so we created a discount program for them.
We don't have all of the answers but are always looking for ways we can do more. If you have any suggestions, please email email@example.com.