This undertaking begins internally, by creating a fair, equitable workplace where employees are empowered not just to do good work, but to do good. This ethos extends to the products we create — throughout the entire supply chain, from the farms we manage to the bedding our team builds in our factories. And it doesn’t stop there. We are also compelled to support causes we believe in and give back to our global community by funding nonprofits through our 1% for the Planet initiative and doing everything we can to mitigate climate change — which is a fundamental issue of our time — with our commitment to carbon neutrality and clean power. Yes, 2019 was a banner year for Avocado’s philanthropic and environmental goals, but we also recognize the work has only begun.
— Jay Decker, Avocado Co-Founder
2020 GOAL: INCREASE TO 95%
We believe in supporting our employees personally and professionally. We pay living wages and provide comprehensive medical care, from our factory floor through every tier of the company. We also provide employees quarterly paid volunteer days (the company has logged 325 volunteer hours this year), a flexible, remote work policy (for qualifying divisions), and free Headspace and subsidized Classpass accounts to encourage mental and physical health. CEOs host quarterly town halls (and an AMA — ask me anything — Slack channel) to encourage transparency, connectedness, and inclusivity.
Bri Decker, our Sustainability and Evolution Lead, manages a team of four determined to advance the company’s environmental and humanitarian goals. They have the support of all our managers, whose job descriptions explicitly incorporate performance measures in these areas. Furthermore, employee training includes social or environmental issues relevant to our company and its mission, and our Board of Directors has committed to review key performance indicators of the company's social and environmental performance on a quarterly basis. We also have a dedicated Vice President of Organics, Sustainability Standards, & Certifications — George Mathew — to ensure and verify all our raw materials meet the codes and standards of our certifications. Mathew also serves on the Fiber Council Board and the Organic Trade Association.
We practice thoughtfulness with all our decisions — big and small. For example, our Hoboken office is a Certified Green Business and we’ve adopted a recycling policy in all Avocado office locations to encourage waste minimization.
The mission of our Customer Advocacy (CA) team is to provide the best customer experience in the world by cultivating meaningful relationships and inspiring positive social and environmental change. This isn’t just about creating return customers — the CA team truly wants to make the world better. That’s why their formal goals include increasing self-awareness and empathy; developing the skills, confidence, and fortitude to unlock potential; and to challenge the status quo for the betterment of people and the planet.
It’s with these lofty ambitions in mind that we maintain our own, in-house, 70-person call center and web chat team, distributed across the United States. Those skilled advocates are tasked with ensuring quality over quantity, transparency, and sincerity. Meanwhile, our own delivery service in Los Angeles reduces the environmental impact on logistics. And our white-glove delivery program ensures accessibility, making it easier for everyone to set up their new mattresses and furniture, and have their old mattress responsibly disposed and/or recycled.
Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance. They are the gold standard for responsible business, demanding transparency and accountability toward a sustainable and inclusive economy through action. The certification provides the highest standard of verified positive impact for workers, suppliers, customers, communities, and the environment. In the rigorous qualification process, B Corp assesses the overall positive impact of a company. Once approved, B Corps amend their governing documents to require their board of directors to balance purpose and profit.
Certified B Corporations are redefining the role of business in society by focusing on doing good — not just maximizing profit. We’re extremely proud that, in December 2019, Avocado Green entered into a cohort to become a Certified B Corp, ranking well beyond the minimum threshold. We expect high impact scores in Community, Environment, and Workers. Learn more about our score here.
Our Experience Centers, located in Hoboken and Santa Monica, are community hubs. More than a showcase of our materials and products, we bring people together in these Certified Green Businesses through free yoga and meditation classes, coffee and kombucha, and live music. We’re also working with like-minded local organizations to host regular events, workshops, readings, and featured artists.
We are agents of change in India, where we are growing rural, sustainable economies with our certified organic latex and wool, which is safer for our farmers and our customers. In Northern India, we manage a wool processing factory, 180,000 sheep, and the 40,000 hectares where they graze among pastures where the soil and grasses pass biannual tests to confirm no pesticides have been used for at least three years. The sheep live in the foothills of the Himalayas, between 8,000 and 14,000 feet, and are herded twice a year to be shorn. In the town of Rampur, we operate a factory where we clean and package the wool. Sitting along the Sutlej River, the organic wool factory is a positive lynchpin in a community where opportunities are scarce.
In Southern India, we operate an organic latex farm and factory, where we sustainably harvest the latex we use in Avocado products. Because it’s certified organic, the process is safer for farmers and factory workers, and better for the local community.
We use cotton and wool in our mattresses, pillows, and toppers. The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) has certified our organic cotton and organic wool, as well as our Los Angeles factory where we handcraft many of our products. Our wool co-op in India, where we process all our organic wool, is also GOTS and GOLS certified. Because these sustainable fabrics are independently verified, our customers can trust they are always ethically and responsibly sourced. A GOTS certification means these textiles are better for you and the people that farm them.
We use latex in our mattresses and toppers. The Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) ensures that products contain more than 95% of certified organic raw material based on total weight. The GOLS standard features permissible limits for harmful substances, emission test requirements, and polymer and filler percentages. GOLS certified our organic latex by Control Union under our brand name and processed in the factory we own in India, which they also certified. In August, this factory was also certified by the Forest Steward Council (FSC), because we harvest our rubber from trees in forests that are responsibly managed, socially beneficial, environmentally conscious, and economically viable. This factory limits its impact by utilizing rainwater collection ponds and steam produced from biomass, including trees past their lifecycle. When those trees are felled, we replant saplings and grow organic pineapples around the trees until they mature. Our factory in Los Angeles, where we assemble and package our products, is also a GOLS certified facility. Our latex is also eco-INSTITUT® certified for low emission and quality assurance, which applies to the organic latex used in all of our mattresses and pillows. In our Green Pillows, we also use upcycled latex to reduce waste and impact.
Our organic certified latex, cotton, and wool received STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®: Class 1 certification (19.0.79546, 19.HIN.68466 & 15.HIN.75800, Hohenstein HTTI). This is the most stringent product class in their hierarchy. It requires annual lab testing to ensure no harmful substances are present as a result of processing, to include banned substances, toxic chemicals, pesticides, and dyes — all of which can be absorbed by your body.
Every Avocado mattress and pillow is GREENGUARD Gold Certified by UL Environment. It means they’re scientifically proven to meet some of the world’s most rigorous, third-party emissions standards for chemical exposure and pollutants, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and phthalates. They are also certified to be Formaldehyde Free. Few mattresses and pillows qualify for these gold standards.
In fall 2019, MADE SAFE® certified our Avocado Green mattresses, mattress toppers, pillows, sheets, and mattress pad protectors. That means they bear America’s stamp of approval for everyday products that have been developed with 100 percent healthy ingredients. By approving our materials, MADE SAFE has determined that all of the materials in these products are free from ingredients linked to or suspected to cause harm to humans, animals, or ecosystems. And that’s good news for you, your family, and the planet.
Our Vegan Mattress and bedding products have been certified and verified by Vegan Action (The Vegan Awareness Foundation) in Richmond, Virginia, under our brand name. These products do not use wool and do not contain animal products or byproducts that have been tested on animals. Instead of wool, we use a generous layer of 100% GOTS organic certified cotton batting. They are also PETA approved vegan products under our brand name — certified to be animal-free products that align with vegan values.
In 2017, we became members of 1% for the Planet. That means we donate 1% of all our profits to social and environmental causes we believe in, regardless of our profitability. This process is vetted based on certified accounting of our revenues. We’ve supported more than 29 nonprofits, including:
We fully funded the development of the Kula Women’s Center, in Rwanda. The nonprofit is dedicated to eradicating poverty throughout the country by developing entrepreneurship.
Throughout the year, we planted 48,250 trees with Arbor Day Foundation. The trees clean the air and water, and, over a 40-year period, can sequester about 50,000 tons of the carbon dioxide that is fueling climate change.
We worked with Bee Girl to restore 100 acres of highly degraded pastureland into lush fields to provide habit for bees, regenerate soil, conserve water, and sequester carbon.
We helped rescue 220,000 pounds of food waste that City Harvest delivered to New Yorkers experiencing food insecurity.
We supported the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy in California to repair trails damaged by the 2017 Thomas Fire.
We also donated to the National Parks Conservation Association, the Alaska Wilderness League, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, the Social Plastic Foundation, Friends of Trees, Forterra, 1% for Open Space, the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, and the Post Landfill Action Network.
2020 GOAL: INCREASE TO 1,500 PARTNERS
Occasionally our products don’t work out for customers. That’s why we have a free, no questions asked return policy. But rather than spend valuable resources picking up the mattress, shipping it back to our factory, and then trying to resell it (which is what most companies do), we had a novel idea: What if we just donate them? Everyone deserves a mattress — and a good night’s rest. So our sustainability team developed a nationwide network of over 1,000 nonprofit partners. These include homeless shelters, women’s shelters, rehabilitation centers, refugee centers, and centers for those with disabilities.
We make a quality product and our return rate is exceptionally low because our 1-year trial period allows users to adjust to their new bed without pressure. Still, sometimes it doesn’t work out. In the past year we’ve donated over 90 percent of our mattress returns and 100 percent of our pillow and mattress topper and protector returns. The impact is two-fold. Those in need receive valuable resources, and we have effectively diverted 136 metric tons of goods — drastically reducing the waste and energy it would require to return these products to our factory.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled with this service,” said one recipient of a donated Avocado mattress. “We work so hard to help people regain housing, but when they move in they often do so with just a sleeping bag and a backpack. It takes a lot of labor and resources to help a house feel like a home, and your donation of a mattress — an amazing one at that — helps us immensely.”
OUR TRANSFORMATIONAL RETURN PROGRAM
90% of returned mattresses donated. 100% of returned pillows donated.
Climate change is a fundamental threat to our way of life and our business. That’s why, in July 2019, Avocado Green became Climate Neutral Certified, becoming the first non-founding partner (the program was started by the CEOs of Peak Designs and BioLite) to achieve the designation. Avocado became carbon neutral by reducing our carbon footprint however it could and offsetting everything else — as verified by third-party programs based on an annual review of our actual impact across all scopes.
We partnered with Carbonfund to offset our emissions. The 16-year-old company has worked with 2,500 companies to take responsibility for their carbon impact by supporting the work of over 190 projects that reduce carbon output. In 2018, we neutralized our facilities and our product shipments from the previous year by offsetting 1,522.9 metric tons with a donation to Carbonfund. And in 2019, we offset 31,000 metric tons of our total operational emissions, as calculated by Climate Neutral, by donating to three Carbonfund projects. We reduced 13,950 metric tons of carbon by supporting tropical forest conservation in the Amazon. Trees are natural carbon reducers, and the Amazon is one of the largest carbon sinks in the world. We sequestered another 13,950 metric tons of carbon through deforestation mitigation in Kenya. That project reduces CO2 emissions by donating clean stoves to rural residents who would otherwise be using wood for fuel. We also reduced 3,100 metric tons of carbon by supporting water purification technology in Kenya that replaces wood-fueled, carbon-emitting processes.
CARBON OFFSETS BY YEAR VIA CARBONFUND
2017: Offset 144 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions 2018: Offset 1,522.9 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions 2019: Offset 31,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions
We limit our energy use as much as possible. That's one reason we use recycled steel coils and natural latex instead of a synthetic, petroleum-based version. For the energy we do consume, we match 100 percent of it with purchases of renewable energy certificates from wind farms. This drives clean energy to the grid and supports the growth of wind energy. We work with Arcadia Power to channel our monthly energy usage, about 28,552 kWh, and pay a premium in order to support local wind farms. That’s a monthly greenhouse gas emissions equivalent of about 50,000 miles driven in an average passenger car, or the carbon emitted from 3.5 homes’ annual electrical use, or the amount of carbon sequestered by 23.8 acres of forest.
CLEAN ENERGY WE SUPPORT
28,552 kWh/month 342,624 kWh/year
EQUIVALENT CO2 EMISSIONS
27,263 gallons of gasoline consumed 264,874 pounds of coal burned
EQUIVALENT CARBON SEQUESTERED
285 acres of forest 4,006 seedlings grown for 10 years
— Mark Abrials, Avocado Co-Founder & CMO