De Soto Sport has always been aware of its impact on our environment and our community. As far back as the early 1990’s we have been making garments out of recycled materials and doing simple things such as turning off lights and using both sides of sheets of paper. While waste in inevitable in any company in any industry, we have minimized our waist and encouraged recycling, and maximized sustainability and conservation in a number of ways.
PART 1: FROM LESS PAPER TO PAPERLESS
In 2011 we reduced our paper consumption by 75% over the previous year. We no longer send paper invoices, return forms, or receipts. We no longer print out orders, or use note pads. It is all done electronically. Our latest catalog is smaller and made of recycled paper, and so are our new hangtags. We have implemented a direct deposit program with all employees so paychecks are a thing of the past.
PART 2: LIGHTING
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.
PART 3: RECYCLING
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. We will define each and give examples of our applications in upcoming posts. We live a different type of wild life!
PART 4: REPURPOSING
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 by other companies as scrap and therefore thrown away after cutting garment and wetsuit panels. Some of repurposed products made of this fabric and rubber include helmet beanies, timing chip straps, toe covers, seat pads, swim caps, trishort pads, sweatbands for caps, and the list goes on.
PART 5: REUSING:
When a product is used without modification of its original intended use, we are reusing. We do this in many ways:
- Donating finished product: 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.
- 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.
Part 6: TAKING CARE OF EMPLOYEES
Amidst the tough economic climate that has hit our country starting in 2008, 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 of course, some De Soto swag. Full-time De Soto employees also receive a full-coverage medical insurance plan subsidized almost entirely by the company, monthly company healthy lunch gatherings, and a FLEX plan for pretax medical, dental, vision and childcare expenses.
Part 7: GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY
De Soto has raised and donated tens of thousands of dollars to the following charities:
- Monarch Schools for Homeless Children
- Project Access
- Challenged Athletes Foundation
- Trisomy 18 Foundation
- American Cancer Society
- Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
- World Society for the Protection of Animals
- Friends of County Animal Shelters
- Friends of the Humane Society of Tijuana
- Surfrider Foundation
- Encinitas Family YMCA
- La Jolla YMCA
- Wounded Warrior Project
- Save the Narragansett Bay
- UNICEF for the Famine Relief of Children
- Miracles for Kids
- Surf Lifesaving del Sur
- Syrian American Doctors
Part 8: LOOKING AFTER THE WELL-BEING OF OUR CUSTOMERS
Plastic - Our water bottles are made of stainless steel by the cutting edge company, ThinkSport, which takes pride in caring for the athlete and the environment, just as we do. Likemindedness and building community is our top concern!
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. Find another technical apparel manufacture that does that!
Zippers – In 2018, we launched the first ever recycled zipper in our GreenGoma wetsuit.
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.
SIPE: Swimming Induced Pulmonary Edema, or SIPE, is an emerging condition that affects athletes in the swim portion of triathlon events. "Symptoms include marked respiratory distress, wet-sounding popping or crackling in the lungs with breathing, a “junky” rattling cough, and the hallmark; coughing up pink, frothy blood-tinged sputum. When it occurs during exercise, one of the first sensations is shortness of breath that is substantially out of proportion to the effort being expended. SIPE is believed to occur from a combination of factors that creates what can be thought of as a “perfect storm” that leads to capillary leak". There is not a lot of publicity given to SIPE, perhaps because there is not enough information published about it at this point, but we are learning more about this condition every day and are actively working to expand our knowledge base of possible common triggers. De Soto is the first and only company to work along side a cardiologist named Dr. Charles C. Miller to develop a wetsuit that reduces or entirely eliminates the onset of this medical condition. T1 Wetsuits is the only brand proven to aid those affected with SIPE. For more information, click here: http://www.endurancetriathletes.com/sipe.html
PART 9: 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.
PART 10: GOING SOLAR
We have recently replaced leaky roof ducts with new ones, and then resurfaced our roof and sundeck for better insulation on both hot and cold days. The resurface is the first phase of reinforcing the roof to support solar panels, which we plan on installing in the near future.
PART 11: WE WENT SOLAR
In December of 2020, De Soto took its social and environmental responsibility to the next level by a photovoltaic solar panel system to produce electricity both for its own use and to contribute to the San Diego power grid.