ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Our commitment to good, environmental stewardship is at the core of what we do at Kolo. We create and sell tools, and we believe that you should only have to buy a good tool once. To help reduce landfill, we aim to make our products so durable that they’ll be handed down to future generations. After all, the best way to reduce landfill is to avoid creating it to begin with.
Inspired by great corporate citizens like Patagonia, we track how our products are made through the entire supply chain. Good design is like good cooking: it starts with good ingredients, or in our case, raw materials. It includes the way our products are made, how our workers and employees are treated, and how our products are distributed and sold by our stores. Finally, it involves how our products are used over the years. Do they last? And at the end of their life cycle, do they avoid harming the environment? These are the things we think about every day.
The environmental issues affecting our fragile earth are dire. The situation calls for serious change by all of us. We at Topdrawer must be conscientious about the way we design and make our products, and we all must be conscientious about the products we choose to purchase.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT RAW MATERIALS
All companies have a choice in the raw materials they use. Two years ago, we made a commitment to move to organic cotton in the bags that we manufacture. Roughly fifty years ago, all cotton was organic. Today, 99% of the cotton consumed in the world is made through modern conventional methods that use huge amounts of pesticides. As an example, roughly a pound of pesticides is used to make a conventional-cotton T-shirt. Those pesticides create run-off that flows onto our land, into our rivers, and into our oceans, so there is a serious cost we all pay for that cheap, conventional-cotton T-Shirt. Partnering with roughly thirty thousand organic farmers in India, we created a premium canvas that is not only durable and beautiful, but 100% organic. We use this fabric to make our rucksacks, duffles, totes, and other travel bags.
CAN A SMALL COMPANY MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
We’re not perfect; we view this as a journey, and we’re working hard to continue transitioning to more and more environmentally responsible materials and processes in all the products we make and sell. We believe we can get a little better each day. Our products are designed for creative people like us, who want to change the world through their work, and we think most of our customers share our sensitivity and urgency about protecting the environment. We’re all in this together.
We know our impact is relatively small in terms of sales. As a small brand and small dedicated team, we know it’s a drop in the bucket. We think our real impact might be on the designers, marketers, and other professionals that work at the mega brands. We hope that by showing that we can succeed on our relatively small level, that the young leaders in the mega brands will be inspired to stick their neck out and follow our lead and the leadership of brands like Patagonia, who was our inspiration. We need to build products and buy products as if the life of our planet depends on it. Because it does.