Posts Tagged ‘Ethical Sourcing’

From the floor: PPAI 2013

January 27, 2013

 

Does your lip balm have a pedigree?

Does your lip balm have a pedigree?

The 2013 Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) Expo took place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Centre in Las Vegas from 14-18 January. Fairware was there, sharing ideas with colleagues, scoping out new products, and noting trends.

What really struck us as we walked the floor of this vast trade show? It was the way that the concept of product responsibility has leapt onto the radar. Historically, the promotional product industry has viewed product responsibility through a compliance-based lens and paid attention strictly to the letter of the law. But in the Product Safety 201 session held at PPAI, Rick Brenner, CEO of Primeline, was quick to point out that product “safety” needs to expand to a product “responsibility” framework that includes social compliance, product quality and environmental standards.

When we walked the trade show floor, we made a conscious decision to ask vendors if they could supply compliance testing reports for their products to see where random suppliers stood on the safety aspect of the conversation. We were surprised at how many could supply those reports, and were clearly up-to-date on the issues. Our preferred organic lip balm supplier even had a poster of their testing and labelling standards in their booth.

The two sessions on product responsibility that we attended were full, and there were lively discussions regarding whose responsibility it is to manage product safety in an industry in which products travel through many hands before they reach the end user.

Also noted was the profile and attention PPAI has given to this important issue. They have a well-developed internal resource centre for members, featuring a dozen educational and capacity-building guides (from “How to Read a Compliance Document” to a guide on product, social and environmental best practices) as well as the Turbo Test, an intuitive online roadmap that will help distributors ascertain which rules, regulations and tests apply to which products.

We think that staying ahead of the curve on matters of safety and responsibility is good business, good citizenship, and good sense. It was great to see that so many of our industry peers think so, too.

 

 

Fairware featured in PPB Magazine

March 31, 2010

Denise Taschereau, Co-Founder of Fairware, was recently featured in the article Straight to the Source in PPB Magazine.

In the article Denise answers questions about Fairware’s ethical sourcing policy and practices and shares some of her experiences from a recent factory audit trip to Shanghai, China.

“A distributor committed to ethical sourcing shares how she helps eco-conscious brands stay true to their cause.

After working in sustainability and ethical sourcing for the retail industry, Denise Taschereau, co-founder of Vancouver, British Columbia-based distributor Fairware Promotional Products, Ltd. (UPIC: fairware), spotted an opportunity to provide the same services to companies interested in promotional products marketing…”

Read the rest of the article HERE.

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).

Ethical & sustainable purchasing around the dinner table

December 15, 2009

This post was written by Tim Reeve of Reeve Consulting and re-posted with his permission. For more great posts, view the full Reeve Consulting Blog.

Photo by nodomain.cc

What happens when you bring some of the leading policy makers and practitioners in ethical and sustainable purchasing together over dinner? Lively and informative discussion on maintaining VANOC’s Ethical and Sustainable Purchasing (ESP) momentum, the influence of larger contracts vs. smaller ones, concerns of audit fatigue, as well as the importance of supplier engagement and looking inward at your own practices were all subjects discussed in a recent congregation of Vancouver-based thought leaders.

On November 30th Reeve Consulting hosted an Ethical and Sustainable Purchasing dinner with the goal of facilitating conversation between some of Vancouver’s movers and shakers and exploring the opportunities and challenges facing the ESP movement. (more…)


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