As a Bcrop and environmentally conscious brand, Indosole is always looking for new ways to make a positive impact on our planet. That's why this World Water Day, we are excited to announce our collaboration with the non-profit organization, Sea Trees.
It may not look like it but Kai Paul was born and raised in Indonesia. He grew up in Jakarta with his parents who were school teachers at the Jakarta International School. As a young redhead kid living in Jakarta, Kai got to experience what it is like growing up in a developing nation with a pollution problem. This past February, Kai returned to his family’s alma mater and took the stage at TEDxJIS. Kai took this opportunity to share his passion for his home country of Indonesia and vision for the future of waste management and the emerging “Secondary Resource Market” aka “Modern Day Mining.” “I love Indonesia with all my heart, and that is why I am willing to fight for her. Because I am afraid of the changes we see happening before our eyes.” Young Kai and his Dad on a boat in Bali (1980’s) Young Kai and his Mom in the clean Bali ocean (1980’s) Now, Kai is a grown man and managing a business (Indosole) which focuses on preventing waste tires from ending up in landfills and giving them new life as saleable products. Kai has done substantial research on the pollution problems facing Indonesia and the world. It’s time to turn those problems into profitable solutions. “If you break down a tire you will get Rubber, Oil, Steel, all valuable commodities on their own.” Every day we are taking resources from the earth - it’s time we take less and work with what we already have - the tons of usable waste materials both going to and sitting in landfills. Let’s look at this waste as an untapped resource. What if we started doing things differently? What if businesses and the governments started investing into these ideas and if each one of our communities adopted them? Click HERE to watch Kai’s Talk now and at the end ask yourself “What if.” Enjoy!
As a brand that started as a hobby and with suitcases full of sandals wheeling through airports, we at Indosole enjoy hearing about other brand's journey and their respective labor of love. We are all underdogs! We met the Topiku brothers Max and Monty last year at an event in San Francisco. Turned out they have a similar mission for the country of Indonesia and a cool conscious product. We asked them to tell their story and equally important to touch on the challenges they have faced along the way. Here it is and we hope you enjoy Topiku's story! "The Accidental Entrepreneur" Building a business is tough. Building a socially-minded one is even tougher. Add 9,000 miles of separation and being a full-time college student into the mix, and you have Topiku’s current situation. Hi, I’m Monty, a 22 year old senior at the University of Southern California, founder and CEO of Topiku: a social enterprise based in California and Indonesia. We’re on a mission to become the world’s most sustainable hat manufacturer, with products handcrafted from upcycled + recycled waste by Indonesian artisans. We’re still young (we’ve been building our brand for the lesser part of two years), but it’s been incredible watching our mission and network organically grow. However, it’s been a constant struggle learning how to balance and schedule my time between school and personal endeavors. Back in the summer of 2014, I was an aimless freshman in college who had just given up his dream of becoming an architect. I hated having to fly back to Jakarta to visit my family with all its traffic, craziness, and dirtiness—a stark difference from the comfortable southern Californian atmosphere that I had grown accustomed to. Driven by an overarching desire to create a positive social and environmental impact, I took an internship at a NGO called XS Project. They worked with a community of trash-pickers who lived in a slum of Jakarta, creating value-added products out of the waste that they collected as well as providing front-end jobs. Whilst working for them, I proposed a new product for them: a hat made from upcycled car seat vinyl. Long story short, they rejected my idea; disheartened, I tossed the idea on the backburner. It wasn’t until I returned to campus—when I showed my friend (who eventually became my business partner) my prototype hats (see below) and told him my story—when the notion of Topiku as a business was born. Reflecting back on Topiku’s formative days on the heels of a quick Topiku Indonesia trip reminds me of just how far I’ve come on this journey of accidental social entrepreneurship. Back then, I definitely did not fully understand the multifaceted and complex concept of sustainability—I simply had an idea for repurposing discarded materials. Was using salvaged material enough to justify sustainability? I wasn’t thinking about who or how they would be made... Today, Topiku has grown to encompass more than just a mish-mash of up-cycled materials; it’s really come to represent an entire ecosystem of not just professional meaning, but a deeply personal one as well. Over the past few years, I’ve had the honor of working closely alongside inspiring artisans, whom I count amongst the most dedicated and passionate individuals that I’ve ever met. Some highlights: Watching Ninda, who hand-sews all of our bamboo tees, grow from a sole-proprietorship to managing a team of five Visiting Anton’s innovative factory in Gresik, Surabaya, which has engineered a process for recycling cotton and polyester sourced from old clothes and plastic bottles Collaborating with Bang Sano, who leads the environmental movement in Indonesia through his organization, Waste4Change, on various initiatives, from mentorship, to advocacy, to sponsorship of 12 of his trash-pickers’ health insurances And finally, last but certainly not least, observing our community of hat artisans in Cigondewah, Indonesia—led by Kang Asep—develop into a thriving village, where incomes are re-invested into things such as education and health, and corollary industries have emerged as a direct result of exposure to sustainable products and international markets. “I want to dispel the notion that sustainable, socially-impactful products come at the cost of good design and affordability.” As our brand has grown, the bottlenecks and challenges of working with trash as an input have become more apparent. At times, there can be a tension between the trade-offs of good design and good recycling; it really is a balancing act. Many companies with an emphasis on recycling can have some very—for lack of a better term—obvious-looking recycled products (read: ugly and badly designed), take for instance the blatantly upcycled/recycled tote bags that you might find in Ubud or Costa Rica (or even Whole Foods now!). Do a Google search for “recycled hat” right now—you’ll find some creative ideas, but nothing you’d wear casually. The designs really don’t leave much to the imagination. I want to dispel the notion that sustainable, socially-impactful products come at the cost of good design and affordability. Thankfully, this past trip has addressed many of the issues that we’ve been facing—particularly scalability. For the past year and a half, the main base of our hats has been made out of upcycled cotton jacket cuts. Upcycling is awesome because it diverts materials from ending up in landfills as well as incentivizes upstream, sustainable employment (read: trashpickers) and even has additional positive externalities, such as waste management and ecological responsibility advocacy. However, small-batch upcycling is not inherently sustainable and is a true bottleneck to spreading our message. This is where Anton, who I mentioned earlier, comes into play; unlocking an efficient production system that can enable sustainable production—in both the environmental and economic sense—is truly pivotal. His source of raw recycled cotton and rPET yarn will allow us to expand our capacity and catalogue in the long run. I couldn’t be more stoked to be where I’m at today; passionately putting hours on a project that has quickly become my top priority. As the company has grown, so have I. It’s funny to be able to participate in events that would have made me uncomfortable in the past, namely, public speaking. Last week I had my first ever business pitch competition, and I just got word I’m moving on to the final round. On Tuesday I was invited to speak at UC San Diego for their Green Talks event to speak about my understanding of sustainability. Totally had to miss class for all these events ;) In this age of mass information and demagoguery, it’s easy to feel pessimistic about the world; but looking ahead, I am optimistic that folks like you and I are beginning to appreciate values such as fair trade, women’s empowerment, environmental sustainability, responsible waste management, and cultural preservation through conscious capitalism. I truly believe that social enterprises such as ourselves and Indosole can empower these values to flourish—but we can’t do it alone. It will literally take a village. Monty | firstname.lastname@example.org You can find Topiku at topiku.co or: Instagram Facebook Store
This week we teamed up with our friends, donation partners, and fellow B-Corp at Bodhi Surf School in beautiful Costa Rica. Run by a crew of dedicated and loyal ocean, surf, and health advocates the Bodhi team likes to promote a responsible way of life and good ole fashioned Pura Vida. Enjoy the read! Indo Crew Photo Credit: Emi Koch of Beyond the Surface International Harnessing Consumerism to Solve Environmental Issues While doing one of our regular Service & Surf beach cleanups last summer, one of the kids found a hermit crab which, instead of having a regular shell, had a plastic cap as its mobile home. This struck a note with all of us doing the cleanup, that our actions — even small — have profound consequences that we often forget to consider. There are many similar images and videos that circulate and even “go viral” due to the phenomenon of social media, so most of us have seen sea turtles needing to have plastic straws pulled out of their bodies, the surfer going through a tube full of trash, or a bird whose feathers are covered in oil after a spill. These images are graphic, heart-wrenching reminders about how we as humans need to collectively make better and more educated choices and consider the kind of planet we want to live in and leave after we are gone. That we are headed towards calamity, at present, seems like an unavoidable reality. Photo Credit: Bodhi Surf Here at Bodhi Surf School, (a surf and yoga camp in a small town called Bahia Ballena, in the Southern Pacific region of Costa Rica), we have a unique way of grappling with human impact and its wide-reaching effects. Most of our guests come from cities and more populated areas, places where seeing trash everywhere doesn’t seem surprising. In contrast, when you see garbage in such a pristine environment as our local Marino Ballena National Park (whether it’s washing up on shore or being left by beach-goers), it just seems out of place. Luckily, we don’t have very much of it in comparison to many beaches around the world — something we hope does not change. For that reason, since our inception in 2010, we have used the park (both our playground and classroom for surf lessons) as a stark and thought-provoking example for our students and guests to consider both their individual and our collective human impact on the planet. We also utilize this amazing experience of learning to catch and ride on one of nature’s most powerful entities — the ocean — as a catalyst to spark pro-environmental behavior change in our guests, further providing tools for this change to last long after their sun tans have faded. Photo Credit: Bodhi Surf Consumption is necessary While it’s easy to get people to commit to placing garbage in the appropriate spots instead of littering, picking up trash when they see it, or recycling what can be recycled, many believe that those actions (while well-intentioned) are too little, too late. Arguments abound in the conservation world that the root cause of the environmental issues we face is human consumption. That we (in the developed world in particular) need to greatly reduce our consumption lest we burn through our planet’s resources and leave an insurmountable crisis in our wake. From this way of thinking come terms like “sustainable” and “leave no trace” — the ideas that in order to ensure the wellbeing of the planet and its inhabitants, humans should be leaving little or no impact on the planet. This notion seems unfeasible if you’re an optimist, and impossible if you’re a realist. The fact is, that stopping consumption altogether is not a productive way to try to live, nor will it ever be a paradigm that wins over a majority of supporters. None of us, as it turns out, want to stop consuming. However, reducing our collective consumption (all that we buy, use, ingest, use, or destroy) is not only doable, it is also going to prove to be necessary in order to keep a harmonious balance in our natural world. After all, humans have an uncanny ability to live with very little when we are forced to. The simple task of asking ourselves, “do I really need this?” before purchasing any product can go a really long way. There is an argument — just as we need to ingest food and water, possess clothing and shoes, and have several other things to survive — that the ability to consume products and experiences is a driving force of inspiration and motivation for humans. One main reason that people work so hard is because they want to be able to possess things — and that is a universal truth that bears keeping in mind. Using consumption as a tool for good At Bodhi Surf School, we are proponents of “experiences rather than things”, and we like to encourage people to channel their desire to consume into have memorable experiences instead of purchasing more [often unnecessary] things. For example, to reduce their impact, a family could do an outdoor excursion or cook a big dinner together instead of exchanging gifts at Christmas. Travel is also a memorable experience, and even though international travel can be very impactful (consider the CO2 emissions from plane travel alone), we truly believe that the educational benefits of seeing places beyond your home and learning the cultures, traditions, and ways that other people live can be so life-changing that, often times, they mitigate the impact itself. As for products, just as we need to reduce our consumption, we can also make very educated choices about the remaining products that we do need to consume. Instead of purchasing three pairs of jeans because they are on sale for a fraction of the price, we can choose to purchase one pair of nice jeans made by a business that is doing its part to reduce its environmental footprint and make a positive difference in the world. Or perhaps we can opt to buy sandals from a company that has come up with a creative solution for two “problems” — eliminating already-existing pollution and using it to create a necessary product, i.e. using repurposed tires as the soles of their shoes. Bodhi Surf School was drawn to Indosole for this very reason, just as we are a business looking for creative ways to reduce or mitigate our inevitable impact, we have deep respect and admiration for other companies who go above and beyond to do the same. Businesses of all sizes and in all industries can “opt in” to corporate and environmental responsibility, and in an effort to tackle these human-created issues that are becoming more and more difficult to ignore, we would argue that they have a duty to. For all it’s drawbacks, consumerism could prove to be a solution for the environmental crises at hand. The winds of change are starting to blow, and if enough consumers choose to make educated choices about who they give their money to, more businesses would be forced to go where the market is calling, causing a spiral-upward effect. For all our imperfections, humans have proven to thrive under adverse conditions, and we have a long history of coming up with creative solutions to the problems in front of us. We call it capitalism when we spread these solutions far and wide, and profit when others people recognize their value. We sincerely hope that this time will be no different. Thank you for reading, The Bodhi Surf School in Costa Rica
Being a conscious consumer is an adjustment, but you'll find that the alternatives are out there if you look hard enough. We wanted to put one more brand on your radar - our friends OSOM Brand. They make super soft socks that are 95% recycled denim and textiles. We've blogged about the textile waste problem...
The Bye Bye Plastic Bags Girls, Isabel and Melati Wijsen, are putting plastic where their mouths are in a bid to force a meeting with the governor of Bali to highlight the plight of their campaign to rid the island of plastic bags. On November 24, the girls will begin a food strike as added leverage to get the governor, I Made Mangku Pastika, to meet with them and put a timeline on a law that will ban the use of plastic bags on Bali. The girls, who have just returned from India where they were met with standing ovations at the INK Conference in Mumbai, have been gathering widespread support for their campaign in a bid to ramp up more support for the Bye Bye Plastic Bags (BBPB) petition to raise a million signatures. "It is now time for Pastika to meet with us," says Isobel. "We and the team have done a lot of hard work to get our campaign noticed and it is only fair that Pastika takes the time, like many prominent people have now done, to talk to us about how we are going to stamp out the problem of plastic bags in Bali," says Melati. "If we have to go on hunger strike to get his attention, then so be it," says Isobel. BBPB is a social initiative driven by children, local and international, living in Bali between 10 and 15 years old who are committed to preserving the beauty of Bali by banning plastic bag use. The initiative was founded by Green School students, Melati and Isabel Wijsen, in late 2013 and is now made up of a dedicated team of 25 children, with more joining from around the world every day. So far BBPB have raised nearly 65.000 signatures for their petition through AVAAZ, spoken to more than 3500 students across the world in three different languages and is running a plastic bag-free program in a pilot village on Bali, with local authority’s approval, as well as raising general awareness at markets, events and festivals. The group have already garnered significant support for their lobbying of national and international media and have met and received the support of Jane Goodall and her Roots and Shoots program as well as the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki moon. This week the team won Bali Yak Awards and received a nomination by The Role Foundation for Green School to become a role model high school for 2014. The BBPB team have sent many letters to the government and Governor but he has still not made any effort to respond. With all the publicity surrounding the campaign the girls have decided to act now to speed up the process. They will NOT stop drinking but WILL refuse solid food from sunrise to sunset from November 24 until they have this meeting. On November 28, the girls are asking their school and all those on Bali aware of their campaign, to join them. For more information contact; email@example.com sign their petition here https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Byebye_Plastic_Bags_On_Bali/?aDjcKgb
We caught up with our friends from Bureo Skateboards to find out a little more about the company, where it came from and where it is going! For those who don’t know, Bureo was started by Ben Kneppers, an outdoor enthusiast with a passion for the environment and of course skateboarding; David Stover, a surfer with great respect for the ocean and Kevin Ahearn, an engineer that brings this knowledge to the world of sustainably made skateboards. Tell us a little about your product and how it came about? While living in Sydney, Australia back in 2012, the idea sprouted as the team made it a mission to find solutions for plastic pollution in our oceans. The goal was to develop fun and innovative products from upcycled plastic waste by creating a sustainable collection program that gives back to coastal communities. Brainstorming ideas eventually led to plastic skateboards and faced with a multitude of plastic debris, we became intrigued with fishnet waste, highly durable materials that are a massive source of plastic pollution in our oceans. From there, we spent several months in a plastic engineering lab to study the fishnet materials, and develop a recycled formula for our skateboards. What made you aware of the situation in Chile and how did you begin to do something about it? People think the reason we are working in Chile is because they have a huge pollution problem, but the fact is ocean plastic pollution is a global issue. We began in Chile because they gave us the opportunity to do something about it. In addition to the funding we received from Northeastern Universities IDEA Venture Accelerator program (IDEA), we received critical seed funding from the Start-up Chile program, which allowed us to bring our ideas to a proven product. We were also supported by World Wildlife Fund Chile and a collection of fishing syndicates that were open to support our project from the very early stages. In the first year of operations in Chile, we spent a significant amount in a few select fishing villages. During this time we explained our objectives with the communities and began working with the fisherman to responsibly collect and recycle their fishing nets. We are now working to further establish our relationships with these communities and expand our collection programs. What does Bureo mean and why is it important to you? The name ‘Bureo’ comes from the language of the Mapuche, the native Chileans, and means ´the waves’. Selected in honor of the Chilean people, the name represents our mission. Just as a wave originates from a disturbance of wind along the ocean surface, Bureo is starting with a small change in an ocean of plastic. Through time and energy, the waves of Bureo will develop the force required to cause real change. We wanted to recognize Chile, as they gave us the opportunity to launch our project. We hope that we can show them, through our actions, how grateful we were for their support. What is Net Positiva? Net Positiva is our fishing net collection and recycling program. Currently, it is operating in three communities in Chile with plans to expand this year. Through Net Positiva we aim to work with fisherman to ensure their gear is disposed of properly. We have plans to continue expanding Net Positiva in Chile and other global regions. We hear you’ve found yourself a collaboration with Patagonia, tell us what this means to Bureo? We have always looked at Patagonia as the benchmark for delivering quality products while maintaining a high standard of responsibility at many levels. It was awesome to be able to share our plans and goals with a partner that aligns so well with our vision. Gaining the support of Patagonia through their $20Million & Change fund ensures that we are able to continue developing Bureo. This includes expansion of our current programs in Chile, and exploring projects in new regions. Tell us about your distribution, are you doing anything to prepare for the upcoming holiday season? We just launched sales in the US in September. Currently we are just getting our boards into select retail location, and offering product on our online store. We are running a recycling program in Chile to collect 6-7 tonnes of fishing net in the next 6 weeks, so this will keep most of the team busy before the holiday! A part of our team has stayed behind in California to keep distribution going, and to make sure we get our boards out for the holidays. We think the Minnow cruiser board is pretty high on a lot of wish lists…followed closely by a pair of Indosoles of course! We thank the Bureo crew for taking the time to let us know a little more about their awesome skateboards. You can find them at www.bureoskateboards.com
Luxurious and hip are two perfectly suited words to help describe the island of Bali, Indonesia, and inevitably placing it high on the tourist destinations list. Bali has inspired tourists and transplants to help make and support Bali in becoming a cleaner and more environmentally conscious place. Change can come about through education, and with different inspiring projects and movements immersing, this well needed change in Bali is definitely starting to be seen, and more importantly felt within the community. EcoBali recycling is undeniably at the forefront of these namely inspiring projects. It was Founded in 2006 by individualsd who unanimously had the burning desire to respond to the waste management issues in Bali and actually do something about it. Envisioning a 'Zero Waste' policy as their solution, EcoBali takes matters into their own hands by operating its own facilities such as sorting and material recovery. In providing services such as waste separation, recycling and composting, collecting an average 15 tons of non-organic waste every month, their sustainable solutions to waste management have replenished a staggering 50-70% waste reduction. With different initiatives, like adopt a school, within the project, EcoBali recycling aims to increase the inherent needed awareness on a broad spectrum, educating on the best environmental practices achievable among individuals, communities and businesses. Initiatives like this are a sign of greater things to come for Bali, allowing it to maintain its luxurious and unique status. For those who want to enjoy their stay in Bali without feeling guilty of joining that pollution bandwagon, ecoBali is the best and easiest solution. Do your research and get involved!
kaipaulontour Journal #2 - The Process Coming back to Bali there were a couple missions to complete. #1 surf. #2 Surf. #3 Party...haha. No seriously, the top of the list was to make developments in the product and the processes that go into making the product. We have a huge spring planned both in product launches and in delivering the most amount of shoes and sandals to retail in the history of Indosole. Production needs to be efficient and on time. There lies my ulitimate mission: deliver. Ok, pressure is on right? Yes, but what I have found is that our foundation has been set so solidly here in Bali with the people we are working with and the suppliers we have established, that it has been easy to make little tweaks here and there to enable a growth period for Indosole and really rev up and fine tune the Indosole cycle. It has been a pleasure to get to know and work with our staff here in Bali, special shout outs to Nana and Pak Eddy! Yes, surfing happens, and very thankful that it does, but the real joy and sense of accomplishment has been in continuing to progress this thing we affectionately call Indosole. - KP