In early part of of the millennium our Company founder initiated a recycling program for our entire industrial complex. We have dedicated dumpsters throughout the complex for paper/cardboard, glass, and aluminum, with composting soon to follow. We also have aggressive programs to minimize our current consumption of resources. Social Responsibility @De Soto is more than just recycling and conservation. We also reinvent, renew, repurpose, reuse, and upcycle.
Use of Recycled Products
In addition to recycling, we make a strong effort to use recycled products. We pay a little extra to ensure we are preserving our environment as much as we can and to minimize our footprint. Some small but important examples are that we use reverse-osmosis water cooler, rather than plastic jugs or individual plastic bottles. We also use recycled paper, both printing on scrap paper if we don't need a clean sheet, and purchasing recycled paper for our printers. We also use recycled paper towels, recycled business cards, recycled post-it notes, and just about anything else we can get our hands on! Although it costs us a bit more financially, we believe it can save millions (socially) in the end!>
New in 2012, we have also introduced product packaging in environmentally friendly, recyclable cardboard boxes that are also made from all recycled materials. Although some of our dealers have expressed concerns with this, we have decided to move forward at least for 40% of our products to test this out. We believe that it is much more environmetally-friendly than the plastic bags that are otherwise used.>
In addition to using recycled paper when available, we have completely overhauled our order processing. We no longer print hard copies of orders to pull orders and we no longer put customer receipts and return forms into each and every box. Customer receipts, return forms, and all invoices are now emailed - including sales in our very small outlet center. Our last catalog was printed on recycled paper and so are our new hangtags.>
We have also taken other measures to reduce our use of paper such as using direct deposit and no longer printing every paystub. We also request invoices to be sent electronically to us and attempt to reduce paper consumption wherever possible.>
Our goal is to go from Less Paper to Paperless by 2013!>
When a product is repurposed, it is used for a different purpose without modifying its original condition. We create a multitude of accessories from leftover fabric and rubber that would be considered scrap by other companies, and therefore thrown away. We have been making repurposed products from of this fabric and rubber way before the word was defined. Products include helmet beanies, timing chip straps, toe covers, seat pads, swim caps, trishort pads, and sweatbands for caps.
We have also made an effort to re-use boxes when we create our shipments. Although you may not receive a fresh new white box, we hope you'll appreciate the repurposing and that we are trying to 'save a tree!'
We have replaced our studio track lights with energy-efficient low voltage lights. This will reduce our energy consumption for lighting by more than 80% per year in the future. The photo shows De Soto teammate and fellow triathlete, Greg, at his desk. Notice the elimination of the shadows and the glare. A special thanks to our neighbors, Efficient Lighting, for the great work.
When a product is used without modification of its original intended use, we are reusing. We do this in many ways:
Donating leftover finished product: At the initiative of one of the new De Soto staff members, we began a program where we donate product from seasons past to select high school kids who then sell the product to raise money for a college fund set up for them. Want to help? Send us your used De Soto Sport apparel to: De Soto Sport: Reuse Program, 7584 Trade Street, San Diego, CA 92121 and we will find a new home for it!
Donating leftover raw goods: We donate a large portion of our leftover fabric and threads to a couple of local organizations who are training homeless and low-income people in new careers. Who knows?...maybe one of them will start a clothing company one day.
Reusing boxes, bubble wrap, plastic bags, and even envelopes to ship out product to and from our suppliers, retailers and customers.
Taking Care of Employees
Amidst the tough economic climate that has hit our country over the past 5 years, the founder of our Company has kept a promise to his employees that there would be no downsizing, no reduced hours, and no layoffs. He has not only kept his promise, but has also increased the size of the workforce at De Soto by 20% in less than a six-months period.
During the holidays we received gifts from Emilio and Tracy De Soto, which consisted of a personally written card along with a really nice bonus check, something that has been done for over 10 years in a row. That is not all…they give the entire staff the week off between Christmas and the New Year, and a really cool t-shirt. Starting in 2012, full-time De Soto employees get their birthday off with pay. Full-time De Soto employees also receive a full-coverage medical insurance plan paid entirely by the company, monthly company healthy lunch gatherings, and a FLEX plan for pretax medical, dental, vision and childcare expenses.
Looking After the Well-Being of our Customers
Plastic - Our water bottles are made of LDPE (Low Density PolyEthylene), plastic #4. They contains no BPA. This plastic is "green" and sustainable in that they are reusable, recyclable, refillable, durable and manufactured by energy efficient means here in the USA.
Bonding Agents - Our wetsuit bonding agents are non-toxic and MEKF free. MEKF (Methyl Ethyl Ketone Formaldehyde ) is a cancer producing agent that is present in many types of adhesives and resins. While many manufacturers are not aware of this dangerous chemical, we take great pride in being able to claim that we are the first, and may be the only, triathlon wetsuit company to prohibit the use of glue that contains this substance in our production facility. In fact the company that supplies us with our glue prohibits MEKF in their facility too.
Inks and dyes – We color our fabrics with no VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) dyes.
Zippers – We are getting closer to developing a zipper that is recyclable and made of recycled materials.
GreenGoma™ Limestone Rubber Technology - Until recently all triathlon wetsuits were made of petroleum. We are the first in the industry to introduce limestone rubber into our wetsuits. All T1 Wetsuits incorporate GreenGoma™ limestone rubber technology. We have seamlessly replaced one rubber with another that is better, more buoyant, helps you swim faster, and lasts longer. If nothing else were to change, you will have a better-performing product with less detriment to the environment, which is always our goal.
Passive Solar Heating, Cooling and Light
San Diego enjoys beautiful weather year round with an average daily coastal temperature of 70.5º (21.4 degrees Celsius). A marked feature of the climate is the wide variation in temperature within short distances due to the topography of the land. As a result of this, in the warmer months of summer and fall, you can pretty much count that for every mile you live inland from the coast, you add 1 degree to the temperature. The De Soto Headquarters is 5 miles from the coast nestled at the top of a canyon that blows in ocean breezes, so our temps average to be 75 degrees. Our building faces south and is constructed with sunshades to the south that allow warmth in during the winter, when the sun is lower in sky, and to shade us in the summer when the sun is higher. All these conditions mean it is rare that we need to turn on heaters in the winter or air conditioning in the summer.
In addition to reducing our footprint, De Soto Sport believe it is important to give back to our community. When you support us, you, too, are helping us to support many charities. Here are just a few of the organizations to which we donate:
Tri 4 Japan
Trisomy 18 Foundation
American Cancer Society
Save Narragansett Bay
The Monarch School
YMCA: Multiple Locations
Friends of Humane Society
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (Team in Training)
World Society for the Protection of Animals
National Multiple Schlerosis Society
Friends of County Animal Shelters
Acres of Love
Angels Foster Network