Airinum’s role in creating a cleaner future
Airinum’s co-founder Alexander Hjertstrom talks the past, present and future of the brand and the role it will play in creating a cleaner tomorrow.
How has the world changed since you started Airinum in 2015?
The idea behind Airinum was ignited during a visit to India and personally being affected by toxic air. Reading up on the health implications of air pollution, I felt like I’d discovered a ticking health bomb. The scientific data and studies painted a clear picture of the risks of being exposed to hazardous air quality, yet I felt the warning signals had not reached the public yet. Sure, most people knew about smog and haze, but not many were aware that over 90% of the world’s population is exposed to hyper-local air pollution and that it kills millions every year.
Back in 2015, climate change and air quality wasn't dominating the headlines. These days, the media have caught up and the climate crisis debate has become top news and arguably the most important challenge for humanity to solve.
People are more aware of climate change in general and also the health implications that come with new environments. Even air quality has become a more central topic and the Covid-19 pandemic has drawn increased attention to what you breathe and how it affects your health.
Today, people are more knowledgeable and therefore more open to taking action and protecting themselves. Air purifiers, sensors and masks have all gained significant interest and demand lately as people discover the significant health benefits they provide.
I feel like the world has woken up to the fact that we are in the midst of a climate crisis and that we need to act now, both for people's health and for the planet.
How do you aim to educate people about climate change?
Airinum wants to be a part of reversing climate change. The world is facing a very difficult challenge. We need to find more resource efficient ways to live and not only lower the carbon emissions that contribute to the greenhouse effect, but also remove existing carbon from the atmosphere. We need to find a way to live more sustainably to keep the world from warming up to catastrophic levels.
While Airinum is a young and ambitious organization with a clear mission, we cannot solve this. We can only help spread the message and inspire more people to care. We believe in the power of movements. One voice doesn't make a difference, but many do.
Therefore, we aim to raise awareness so people care about the climate crisis, and then we want to inspire and educate them in ways to reduce their carbon footprint and live more sustainable lives.
If successful, we believe these movements and behavioral changes will put pressure on politicians and change-makers to prioritize and accelerate policies that will lead to a cleaner tomorrow.
What do you mean when you describe the products as “empowering”?
Climate change results in environmental challenges. Toxic air, polluted water, humidity and heat, as well as viral pathogens, are all invisible killers. We don't choose where we are born and many of us don't decide where we live. Therefore, we want to empower our customers to take charge of their environment. With 'empowering' we want to equip our users with means to protect themselves. To beat their surroundings.
What role do the colabs and color drops play in the brand mission?
The colabs and color drops are a way for us to tell a story, to educate about a climate change-related topic and use the product as a symbol for change. By teaming up with other partners or brands, we can use their channels, customers and other media to amplify our message and reach a wider audience. All companies have their role to play in improving the situation, and if collaborating creates a better output for everyone, then I see it as a win-win situation. Finally, with some of the collaborations we also donate parts of the profit via The Airinum Fund. This is a way for us to also monetarily contribute to initiatives that help clean up our planet.
Why should more people see a mask as part of their everyday apparel and not just protection against COVID-19?
We don't want a dystopian future where everyone is walking around wearing masks. However, there are situations where people can't control what they breathe. Whether it's worrying about inhaling germs in a cramped subway, harmful nanoparticles from a nearby truck or smoke from wildfires, masks are a true health accessory that protect your respiratory system from unhealthy particles and gasses. Lately, dirt has been found in the brain and microplastics are prevalent in the blood, both as a result of inhaling chemicals from simply breathing. As masks are becoming more innovative and designed for end-consumer use, it should be seen as any other protective accessory, just like a helmet for riding a bike or sunglasses to protect your eyes. If you care about what goes into your body, keeping a mask with you is a sound thing to do and a trend that will continue in the post-pandemic world.
How are you building a community and why is this important?
Building a community is a chance for us to learn from our users. It's also an opportunity for the users to interact with each other. In a community, the communication isn't just one-way; it comes from each and everyone who contributes with information. In turn, this fuels debates and fosters knowledge much faster, and hopefully inspires more people to drive change in this world.
How will Airinum contribute to a cleaner planet in the next five years?
In the next five years, Airinum will continue to produce necessary health products that empower people to beat the climate challenges. We will also continue to tell stories, share content and write articles that educate people about the climate crisis and what we can do to drive change. I hope we can grow our community globally and inspire people all over the world to make difficult choices to live more sustainably and engage in this important topic. I hope that we can play a small role, among millions of other efforts and companies out there, in uniting the world in the fight against climate change so in five years time we can start to see promising results in slowing down the heating of our planet.