Archive for the ‘Community Involvement’ Category

The best way to get mobbed up.

December 16, 2012
Fairware loves Vanctiy Good Money Mobs.

Fairware loves VancityGood Money Mobs.

Fairware has clients anyone would be proud to work with. It’s one of the great things about the kind of work we do. We’re particularly proud to work with Vancity. Vancity is not just Canada’s largest credit union; it’s an organization committed to sustainability, responsibility, and accountability—and to investing in its community.

We’re Vancity’s promotional product supplier, and we’re particularly in love with their Good Money Mobs. It’s one of the ways in which they live their marketing motto: “We make you good money by putting money to good.” Good Money Mobs involve encouraging a group of people to visit a Vancity-member business together and spend a modest amount of money there, thereby giving a local business a boost. For each Mob, Vancity selects a few of their small-business members, then chooses which business to “mob” via Facebook vote. The latest choice was Salmon n’ Bannock Bistro, which was mobbed on November 2nd. Previous Good Money Mobs occurred at another bistro, East of Main, and at CocoaNymph Chocolates and ConfectionsFairware sourced things like the buttons and t-shirts.

Vancity is involved in and supports a lot of other awesome things. If you live in the Vancouver area, their events calendar is a great resource for discovering interesting, worthwhile community activities.

Good Money Mobs are an idea that needs to spread far and wide. And unlike flashmobs, there is absolutely no choreography involved.  :-)

Write for Rights–and keep your noggin bright

December 7, 2012

The holidays are a jumble of deadlines—we’re all rushing to get gifts, attend parties, and travel to see loved ones. Before you dive into the season, consider a deadline that can be met by sitting down and picking up a pen: December 10th. That’s Human Rights Day, and Amnesty International is encouraging people to get involved by joining their Write for Rights campaign.

Amnesty’s Write for Rights is a tribute to the power of the written word. According to Amnesty, it’s also the biggest human-rights event of the year. There’s still time to participate—sign up online to write cards and letters in support of human rights, either on your own or as part of a group. You can also register a Write for Rights event, or join one—such as the Comox Valley Action Circle’s Write for Rights in Comox, B.C., or Southminster United Church’s event in Ottawa, Ont. Amnesty will provide instructions on how to write the letters, and a host kit for those organizing events. It’s the sort of thing that everyone can get involved in, and we think it’s a great way to start the season.

Among the cases on which this year’s write-a-thon will focus are:

-The torture and assault of members of the youth-group Girifna in Sudan

-The imprisonment of Narges Mohammadi, a women’s rights activist in Iran

-The devastation of the village of Bodo in Nigeria due to a leaking Shell Oil pipeline

To complement Write for Rights, December 10th is also a day to wear the colour yellow. Amnesty’s yellow banner and logo are iconic—the organization uses yellow because it conveys urgency and stands out. They encourage everyone who wants to show support for human rights to include a shot of brightness on the 10th—and throughout the year.

One way you can do this is by wearing Amnesty’s yellow toque—it’s a great gift, it’ll keep you warm during the long winter, and its purchase supports Amnesty’s fundraising efforts. We sourced this union-made toque from a manufacturing facility on the east coast of the U.S., and we’re proud that it’s part of Amnesty’s yellow movement.

Many things lay claim to our attention at this time of year; it’s easy to get stressed and distracted. Amnesty’s yellow toques offer an easy and ethical way to look after some of your gift list, and just a few words on a card let you Write for Rights. What better way to launch the holidays?

FAIRWARE CRUSH: EVERGREEN A Mission Towards Urban Sustainability

October 2, 2012

Evergreen > Bringing Nature to our Cities Since 1991.

This month, we want to give a big shout-out to a charity that hits close to home—our cities. Evergreen Canada is a national charity that has been at the forefront of making our cities more liveable for almost 20 years!

Evergreen’s mission is simple: to inspire and engage Canadians to take action towards urban sustainability. Let’s face it: as our cities grow, developers are buying up land to meet residential and commercial needs. We are losing integral green space, and it’s taking a toll on the environment, the air we breathe and our well-being. Evergreen is making moves to change that.

From planting trees to expanding park space, over the years Evergreen has gathered a diverse group of Canadians to take part in projects aimed at bringing nature back into our cities. But that’s not all—the charity is also committed to promoting green building practices, so our cities can grow sustainably. Evergreen convenes city builders, researchers and environmental innovators to encourage a environmentally responsible and resource efficient structure during a building’s life-cycle.

Since their launch in 1991, Evergreen has helped fund over 3,000 School Ground Greening Projects and more than 2,000 Community Greening Projects in parks and recreation spaces. One of their most innovative projects is Evergreen Brick Works. Named one of the top 10 geotourism destinations in the world by National Geographic, Evergreen Brick Works is a community environmental centre in the heart of Toronto’s Don Valley offering interactive workshops and community festivals aimed at inspiring visitors to live, work and play sustainably.

For the past two years, Evergreen has been a part of a great event that we love—the Molson Red Leaf Project. Evergreen teamed up with brewing giant Molson Canadian to throw the event, which this summer inspired nearly 2,600 Canadians to roll up their sleeves and clean up our parks.

Following its launch in 2011, the program has expanded from 10 to 100 events across Canada. Volunteers from communities across the country came out to give back to land—and their efforts made an amazing impact! 3,241 trees were planted and 277 bags of litter were collected. Volunteers not only got to make a difference in their cities, but they were also rewarded with passes to music festivals like the Craven County Jamboree in Saskatchewan and LIVE at Squamish in BC—which is fittingly held at the beautiful Logger Sports Grounds and Hendrickson fields, surrounded by forests and mountains.

We’re especially stoked about this event, because this year we got to get our hands a little dirty for this campaign too—or rather, kept our hands clean! We provided all the gloves used by volunteers for this event. Product with purpose is a concept we are totally committed to at Fairware, and it was great to see our gloves put to work by so many awesome volunteers.

It’s not only a passionate commitment to urban sustainability that makes Evergreen so crushable in our eyes—it’s how the charity has brought together so many great Canadians to take back our cities and take action towards a green future.

To learn more about Evergreen and it’s remarkable achievements or to take part in their programs, check out their website.


September 10, 2012

Lanyards from our lending library.


This month marks one year since we launched a unique project aimed at expanding the lifespan of lanyards. We sell a lot of lanyards at Fairware—those fabric necklaces that are handed out at conventions or conferences, usually bearing the wearer’s name at the bottom. They circulate all day and are usually tossed in the trash (or the junk drawer) at night.

We thought it would be a cool concept to lend out lanyards with both the purpose of reducing the amount being produced and discarded, and to document the events they have traveled to and the people that have worn them. This idea inspired the Lanyard Library.

It works like a lending library: we send out lanyards to be used for an event or conference and they are returned to us along with snapshots of the lanyards in use. Our lanyards are made from recycled plastic bottles by a supplier in Ontario that meets Fairware’s Supplier Code of Conduct.

Event organizers that use our lanyards not only save money and get to promote their event on our website, but they also demonstrate to delegates a commitment to sustainability.

Our lanyards have made their way to many fantastic events over the past few years—all documented on our website. From the Power the Vision event supporting Vision Vancouver and Gregor Robertson’s mayoral candidacy, to the Social Change Institute’s conference aimed at personal betterment in the midst of change, to the LOCO event hosted by Fairware at our Vancouver office. It’s great to see how our lanyards have connected us to so many great events and people. The wonderful reception of our concept reminds all of us that even small changes towards reducing your environmental footprint can have a big impact.

Lending libraries have historically been associated with books, but this trend towards borrowing other items is starting to take off. In Vancouver alone—where our office is located—there are a number of inspiring lending libraries that run with this concept. The Tool Library is a cooperative tool lending library that gives members access to a wide selection of tools for gardening, home repair, and bicycle maintenance. The Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre has a lending library which lends out equipment and tools for caregivers starting their own businesses.

We are hoping that more people will begin to rely on these lending libraries for their needs. It’s a great way to save money and cut back on the overproduction of products that are too often only used once.

As the 2012 event season heats up, we are excited to see our Lanyard Library grow. We are excited to see the journey our lanyards take this year!

The facts on borrowing:

  • Event coordinators are responsible for shipping and returning at least 60% of the lanyards (or they’re charged $0.50 a unit).
  • We take returned lanyards and wash and air dry them for the next user.
  • We expect to get a photo of the event (with the lanyards in action).

SOCIAL ENTERPRISES: Giving Communities a Hand

July 24, 2012

Helping Hands. Image Creative Commons > @Iowa_Spirit_Walker

We’re big advocates of driving change by being the change. That’s why we are big fans of social enterprises. Specifically, we’d like to bring to light a wonderful organization that we’ve been fortunate to work with: Helping Hands Rewards.

Social enterprises put a spin on traditional revenue-generating businesses. On the surface, they operate like any other business, applying commercial strategies to maximize revenue and promote their brand. But unlike other companies, social enterprises are run by either nonprofit organizations or for-profit companies with the intention of earning revenue for the sole purpose of improving social and environmental standards.

In short, social enterprises prioritize improving human and environmental well-being as opposed to increasing shareholder profits. They strive to spur local economies and give well-paying, benefit-based jobs to workers within the neighbourhood. Profits are not distributed to individuals—they are pooled in a trust that goes to benefit the community.

We love social enterprises because they are a fantastic representation of “impact purchasing,” wherein what you buy has benefits beyond corporate interest. What companies like us gain from offering products made by social enterprises is the knowledge that every purchase has a direct influence on the workers, the community and the planet as a whole.

One of our key social enterprise supplier is Helping Hands Rewards. Helping Hands Rewards is a not-for-profit organization that partners with social enterprises and assists them with marketing and venture development, as well as helping them expand their business to incentive-based companies—including Fairware. Their mission is purely to help people earn a living and support their families. They represent some truly great examples of social enterprises, including Greyston Bakery, which makes the famous brownies for Ben and Jerry’s.

Helping Hand Rewards has connected us to two suppliers—Bright Endeavors and Chicago Lighthouse — for our social enterprise category. Bright Endeavors is a Chicago-based social enterprise that makes eco-friendly spa products and provides career training and jobs to young parents. Chicago Lighthouse, meanwhile, benefits visually-impaired people through its production of home accessories and promotional products. Helping Hands Rewards aids both ventures to reach their full potential as a commercial business and increase funding for their social incentives.

To really get the full impact of what Helping Hands Rewards does, it’s interesting and inspiring to read some of the stories of the individuals who have personally been given a “helping hand” by the organization. Want to learn more about Social Enterprises – check out the resources listed below.

Enterprising Non Profits

Canadian Social Enterprise Marketplace

Social Enterprise Alliance




FAIRWARE CRUSH: Nature’s Path Foods

June 20, 2012

This month, we’d like to raise a toast—or in this case, a bowl of cereal—to Nature’s Path, a leading manufacturer of organic cereal and granola bars.

In addition to providing consumers with healthy, organic products, Nature’s Path is committed to changing the way we choose our food. They are at the forefront of the Right2Know movement calling for mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods.

The US and Canada have no law enforcing food manufacturers to label products with ingredients that are genetically engineered. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are found in 80% of packaged food in the US, and have serious effects on health, the environment, and farmers’ livelihoods.

We love Nature’s Path – because they don’t take their commitment to change lightly. Not only did they put their money where their mouth is by donating $500,000 to the Centre for Food Safety’s campaign for mandatory GMO labeling, but they have also leveraged their brand for the cause.

At the recent EXPO WEST trade show (the world’s largest and premier tradeshow for the natural, organic and healthy products industry), Nature’s Path gave up valuable brand real estate by draping their counter with a tablecloth that featured not their logo, but a call for action on GMO labeling.

Gathering signatures at the Nature’s Path booth at Expo West.

We work with brands every day and not many companies will give up advertising space to raise awareness for a cause, but Nature’s Path has done this time and time again. At last year’s Right2Know rally, Nature’s Path called on Fairware to produce lime-coloured, mutant-like three-sleeved T-shirts for marchers to wear. The shirts put a fun and fresh spin on a serious question: Shouldn’t genetically modified foods be as easy to spot on grocery shelves?

Mutant 3-Sleeved T-Shirts: If only GMO’s in food were this easy to spot.

It is especially timely to recognize Nature’s Path’s mission statement following the controversy surrounding GMOs found in products made by cereal giant, Kashi. The Kellogg’s-owned brand has come under fire after a small Rhode Island health food store pulled Kashi from their shelves, and subsequently outed the brand on social media for falsely claiming to be all-natural. This stirred a debate on the difference between foods labelled “organic” and “all-natural.” Critics pointed out that Kashi had been getting away with using genetically-engineered ingredients in their foods, because its labeling as “natural” was more open to interpretation than “organic.”

Nature’s Path wants this to change. They believe consumers have a right to know what is in their food, and we agree. A clear label indicating GMOs in foods will allow customers to make an informed decision of what they eat—and hopefully encourage more food manufacturers to produce organically and GMO free.

Nature’s Path’s dedication to its mission statement, its unique take on getting its message to the public, and its continued commitment to providing consumers with organic and GMO Free makes this company deliciously crushworthy in our eyes!

“B” is for Benefit: Fairware joins the BCorp Community

April 24, 2012

Fairware recently became a member of the B Corporation Community. Certified B Corporations are recognized as using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems and are unlike traditional businesses because they meet specific criteria, including:

  • Meeting comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards;
  • Meeting higher legal accountability standards;
  • Building a business constituency of good businesses.

To become a B Corporation, Fairware had to achieve 3 things:

  1. Take and pass the B Impact Rating System which sets a benchmark for the social and environmental impact of good companies.
  2. Adopt the B Corporation Legal Framework to incorporate the mission of Fairware into our legal structure.
  3. Sign a Term Sheet that makes our certification official.

By successfully completing these steps we have joined the ranks of Patagonia, Aspen and other partners of the B Corporation Community recognized for CSR leadership. The media has been shining a light on this little known corporate structure of late with recent articles in FORBES, Christian Science Monitor, and GOOD.

For Fairware, becoming a B-Corp was driven by a few factors. First and foremost, we view the changes to our incorporation documents and shareholder agreement as an act of advocacy, of walking our talk and of sending a signal to the world that there is a different way to do things.

The B Corp rating system and questionnaire process was also a good internal ‘gut-check’ or audit – it highlighted some gaps in our own systems (e.g. while we do corporate giving in practice, it’s not guided by any policy or framework).

And finally, it serves to send a signal to our customers, vendors and peers that we’re committed to a business model that reflects community and environmental priorities. In an increasingly crowded space of ‘green’ or ethical companies, it provides us with a 3rd party stamp of approval that we’re the real deal.

We’re proud to be a B-Corp and we’re happy to announce we will be offering a 15% discount to other B Corporations on orders over $1000. We are thrilled to be working with the BCorp community!

Bike Lanes Make Me Hornby

October 12, 2010

Here in Vancouver there has been a big push to create a network of separated bike lanes in the city.  While throngs of us are thrilled at the prospect of a city that  builds infrastructure to support bikes, buses, pedestrians and cars – a lot of folks have their knickers in a knot over it. The latest street to get a dedicated bike lane is Hornby Street.

We like to ride our bikes here at Fairware and we like to be safe doing it. So, in the spirit of supporting the latest decision to create a separated bike route in Vancouver’s downtown core, we’re doing a limited run of  “Bike Lanes Make Me Hornby” T-shirts. The tees have the pithy statement and bike stencil on the front, Vision Vancouver logo on the sleeve.

Interested in a t-shirt? We’ll be selling shirts and taking orders at the upcoming Vision Vancouver Pub Night on October 20th,  “The Charles” bar at 136 Cordova St. (Near the Corner of Cordova and Cambie St.) We’ll have shirts ready for pick up at the October 20th event as well as an order form (in the case we run out of our first print run). Or you can contact Tim Chipperfield directly at to place your orders.


100% Organic T-shirt;

Men’s Sm-XL; Women’s Sm-XL;

Cost $15 including tax.

Please include your name; email and size when you contact Tim. Shirts are available for pick up only @ the Vision Offices or at Pub Night on October 20th,  “The Charles” bar at 136 Cordova St (Near the Corner of Cordova and Cambie St.).

Contact Tim Chipperfield directly at to place your orders.

Crazy Sustainable Commute – full length

August 30, 2010

On Friday we mentioned that the Fairware Team participated in the Crazy Sustainable Commute, a crazy fun event all about raising awareness on taking sustainable transportation to and from work. 5 of our staff participated by riding tiny bikes borrowed from some really cool kids we know (thanks guys!). Below is a video featuring clips from our trip.

Crazy Sustainable Commute – trailer

August 27, 2010

This morning Fairware participated in the Crazy Sustainable Commute, a crazy fun event all about raising awareness on taking sustainable transportation to and from work. We’re making a longer video documenting our team on tiny bikes, but for now here’s Nicole starting her commute.

%d bloggers like this: