Archive for January, 2010

Science World’s Re-purposed Banners

January 26, 2010

Science World’s building is an iconic symbol in Vancouver and the banners which adorn the exterior are a familiar site to Vancouverites and visitors. With help from Fairware, two of these retired banners were recently transformed into the hip, practical padfolios pictured above.

The padfolios are a useful, well-made product that any recipient would be pleased with, and each is reinforced with a story of sustainability that Science World can be proud of.

At Fairware we can transform your used banners into a variety of products including tote bags, messenger bags, name tags and more. Give us a call next time you update your vinyl signs and we’ll help you re-purpose the old ones.

We’re Hiring!

January 24, 2010

The Fairware team is growing and we’re looking for a Jr. Sales/Administration Rep.

If you’re awesome and looking for a fantastic place to work, check out the full job description HERE.

The David Suzuki Foundation’s Online Store

January 21, 2010

Fairware recently worked with the David Suzuki Foundation (DSF) to stock an online holiday store featuring smart, eco-messaged t-shirts, baby onesies and beautiful calendars. The store was a great success! DSF doubled their revenue targets, and given the continued demand for product, has decided to keep the store active until the end of January.

In addition to a fundraising initiative, DSF used their products to educate people about ethical consumption. The certified organic cotton apparel was made in Canada and sourced by Fairware from a social enterprise that donates 50% of profits to a child-focused charity. Calendars were made from 100% post consumer recycled fiber and printed with soy-based inks.

Through choosing fashionable and high-quality products, DSF was able to attract new supporters and build their brand. By giving people a product they’ll use frequently (like a gorgeous calendar or design-savvy t-shirt), DSF can be confident their supporters will be regularly reminded of the organization’s vision and achievements.

Don’t miss your opportunity to get some limited edition DSF gear and support important environmental work. Winter items are available until January 31st. Click HERE to visit the store.

The high cost of cheap T-shirts

January 19, 2010

Photo: Johnnie Utah/Flickr

This post by Siel Ju originally appeared on the Mother Nature Network.

Learn how that $3 T-shirt could be creating water shortages, trade imbalances and environmental pollution.

In his book Ecological Intelligence, Daniel Goleman argues that even organic cotton T-shirts aren’t necessarily very eco-friendly, since they can still be shipped all around the world to be sewn together in sweatshop conditions before being chemically dyed in a polluting facility. Of course, conventionally grown cotton T-shirts still fare much worse under eco-scrutiny, especially those grown and made in China.

Just how ecologically damaging those “all-natural” T-shirts are has been laid bare, thanks to a feature article in the latest issue of Miller-McCune magazine. In “Can China Turn Cotton Green?” Chris Wood takes a close look at a study conducted by the International Institute for Sustainable Development in Winnipeg, Canada, that drew from an international network of experts to look at the cotton T-shirt manufacturing process.

Read the rest of this article on Mother Nature Network >

Shanghai’d – Day 4 New Sewing Factory

January 7, 2010

Suggestion box for worker complaints

Day 4 found me at a new bag sewing facility we plan on working with near Shanghai. It’s run by Jorden Rosenberg, a Canadian guy (from Forest Hill Collegiate, like a # of the guys I seem to be meeting here) and it was great to see the Chinese and Canadian flags flying high at the entrance of his facility. I planned my trip to both check out his products and facility and meet the auditor from Openview, who we had arranged to audit the facility.

Jordan runs a great factory and difference between this facility and the one at Huaitai was immediately noticeable. The scale of the operation is much larger but the sophistication of their production processes was of a different standard. In addition to the bag workshop Jordan also runs Motherwear, a women’s maternity wear online retailer (check it out for fabulous bamboo and other products) and manages production for that line in his facility.

The facility was well laid out, with clear signage vis a vis fire safety and first aid. The attention to detail on the quality control front was impressive and they were working for major brands from all over North America and Europe. (more…)

Shanghai’d Day 3 – Fabrication/Sewing Factory

January 5, 2010

Sewer at bag factory

Spent Monday at our main bag factory – the drive out took over an hour and a half through  clusters of factories and fields. We’ve worked with this factory for over a year and have been impressed with their quality. It was so great to spend the day with Tony, the factory manager, after so much time spend on emails. We started an audit process a year ago to start gauging their social compliance  to ensure they meet our standards, and those of a key client.

In our morning meeting we talked about the process to date -we’re the first customer that had requested this kind of audit from them. While they’d been through ISO9000 audits by firms like SGS they’d never been through a process focused on human rights, worker health and safety, and environmental standards. In partnership with our client, we having been working with the external auditing firm  Openview from Hong Kong. (more…)

Shanghai’d Day 2

January 3, 2010

Offerings at the Confucious Temple

Spent the day wandering the streets and neighbourhoods of Shanghai – Fuxing Park, Xintiandi, Confucius Temple & Yuyuan Gardens. Wandered down many an alley through ‘wet’ markets full of seafood, veggies, frogs and other unidentifiable things.

Cargo bikes - very impressive.

Marveled at the kites, sites and madness on the streets where a mix of buses, taxis, cars, mopeds, bikes and pedestrians try to co-exist without too many casualties. Loved the bikes, the bike lanes, the bike parking and the cargo bikes – very inspiring.

And what up with the donuts? There are a serious number of donut shops in this city, Mister Donut, Dunkin Donuts, Donut Express – it seems fried dough is universally loved.

The enormous amount of development on what seems like every corner is for the upcoming World Expo this summer – the Expo logo is everywhere as are the little blue mascots that look alarmingly like gumby. (more…)

Shanghai’d Day 1

January 2, 2010

Photo by Jakob Montrasio

Arrived last night in the hazy, warm early evening vowing to not go straight to bed  (which my body was telling me to do after a 10 hour flight and 15 hour time change). I was last in Shanghai in 1999 and my has it changed. Apparently it now homes 20+ million people, 1+ million of those are ex-pats and it has grown skyward at a dizzying rate.

I’m here on a rather whirlwind tour visiting 3 factories we work with manufacturing tote bags. I’m here to meet factory management and  work with them on the status of corrective action plans coming from a series of social compliance audits we did earlier this year. And schedule permitting, I’ll be adding updates, photos and videos of the week as I go.

While I was immediately hit with the modern cosmo flair of the city at dinner & drinks last night – it was a rude reminder of where I am when I realized I can’t log into Facebook, Twitter, etc. – it seems that last summer in advance of Tianamen Square anniversary, most social media access was blocked by the Chinese goverment (will see if this post loads, WordPress is on that list).


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