Posts Tagged ‘sustainable’

Bamboozled? Getting the facts on Bamboo Textiles

June 11, 2012

We’ve re-posted this from 2010 because it’s still a good primer on bamboo & it’s still a material that people have lots of questions about.

At Fairware we’ve had plenty of interest in apparel with bamboo content. In addition to being easy to care for, soft and silky, bamboo fibers have been loudly touted as the newest and greatest in eco-apparel.

But there are conflicting facts about the environmental attributes of bamboo textiles so we’ve taken a closer look. The following is based on our online research and we welcome your comments, input and suggestions.

Bamboo: The Plant

The premise that bamboo textiles are eco-friendly is largely based on the sustainability merits of the plant. Part of the grass family, bamboo is the fastest growing plant on Earth (giant kelp is second). Instead of taking centuries to mature, like hardwood, bamboo can be harvested after only 3 to 5 years.

Bamboo is also self-sustaining with an extensive root system that sends up new shoots each year. This substantially reduces the need for intense cultivation practices. The large root system also helps prevent soil erosion and improves the water-holding capacity of the watershed. With sufficient rainfall, bamboo crops don’t require irrigation. (more…)

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.

Sustainable Purchasing & Eco-Labels

May 16, 2010

Flickr / schizoform

A couple weeks ago I attended a Metro Vancouver Community Sustainability Breakfast. The focus of this month’s session was sustainable purchasing and eco-labels. Metro Vancouver did a great job in selecting speakers. The panel featured Trevor Bowden from Big Room Inc., Tim Reeve of Reeve Consulting and Bob Purdy from the Fraser Basin Council.

Ecolabelling.org

The session started with a ‘big picture’ description of eco-labels by Trevor Bowden. Big Room Inc. is the creator of ecolabelling.org, a website which hosts a database of all the eco-labels available on the marketplace. It’s a really helpful, free tool which anyone can use to look up a specific eco-label and find out the type of products it covers, the length of time its been in existence, how products are verified, links to additional resources and more. Basically it allows visitors to judge eco-labels on a variety of merits, and determine which programs are in line with their concerns.

So many eco-labels to consider…

Given the great number and range of eco-labels currently in action (ecolabelling.org tracks more than 300 different programs!) Trevor suggested breaking them down into categories based on the number of environmental attributes and life cycle phases a label covers. Energy Star, for example, is considered a single stage, single issue label since it looks at consumer use of a product and the amount of energy the item consumes. Ecologo on the other hand is a multi-stage, multi-issue label since it examines the manufacture, use and disposal of products and a variety of environmental attributes.

When choosing an eco-label, a good starting point is considering what the largest impacts of a given product will be. For example, with a new computer, certified sustainable packaging isn’t nearly as valuable as a logo recognizing low energy consumption or clean production.

Characteristics of a good eco-logo

To further simplify your eco-logo choices, Trevor shed some light on the characteristics of good ones, including:

  1. Independent 3rd party verification of claims – A party other than the manufacturer or certifying body has verified the claims. A study from Yale University showed the most trusted eco-labels are validated by environmental groups. Not surprisingly, the least trusted are validated by industry.
  2. Life-cycle based – The entire life of the product is considered
  3. An open and  transparent standard development process
  4. Publicly available standards

An additional characteristic Trevor raised is the level to which an eco-label is “future proof”, meaning that as new standards and science develops, the eco-label is able to adapt and change.

The International Standard Organization (ISO) has put together a group of standards for governing environmental labeling. You can read more about it on the ISO website.

Eco-labels for purchasers

While these guidelines and tools are helpful, without a deep understanding of the field and exposure to constant updates, it can still be tricky to choose an eco-logo program that represents your organization’s needs.

(more…)

Bike to Work Week

April 13, 2010

Flickr / neotint

Bike to Work Week is fast approaching. At Fairware we’re almost ready to go. Half of us have our bikes out for the season and a couple colleagues will be pulling theirs out in the coming weeks. Fairware is well set-up for cycling staff. We have a shower in the bathroom, adequate bike storage, a casual dress code and central Vancouver location. Plus, we love bikes and the passion is contagious.

There are many benefits to businesses that encourage staff to commute by active transportation including better employee retention, less sick days, improved morale, productivity and more. From an employee perspective, it feels good to get a little exercise before and after work and it’s a nice break from public transit. Plus it’s fun!

Here in Vancouver, the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition manages Bike to Work Week – and helps mobilize workplaces across the Vancouver Region to get staff out of their cars.

Is your workplace ready for the fair weather bike season? If you’re looking for direction, we found some great online guides for helping offices become more bike-friendly. We’ve included a list of our favourite links at the end of this post.

Check out this excellent article in Momentum Magazine which outlines some of the more innovative cash and tax incentives being offered in places like San Francisco, Oregon, the UK, and Australia. Pretty exciting stuff!

How is your office preparing for Bike to Work Week? Leave a comment below.

And stay tuned, we’re in the process of adding more products to the Bike to Work section on our website. It’s filled with useful products to promote your commitment to active lifestyles and sustainable transportation.

Guides to help your office become cycle-friendly:

Employer’s Commuting Guide: Is promoting bike commuting right for you? – San Francisco Bicycle Coalition

Be a Bike Friendly Workplace – Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition

The Cycle-Friendly Workplace: Your step-by-step guide – Australian Government, Department of the Environment and Water Resources, Department of Health and Ageing

A Guide for Employers: Getting your workplace cycle-friendly – London Cycling Campaign

Employer Guide to Bicycle Commuting – Baltimore Metropolitan Council and Baltimore Regional Transportation Board

A minute with the new guy at GLOBE

March 30, 2010

I attended the GLOBE 2010 Trade Fair last week with Stefan, our new Business Development Coordinator. We had a fantastic time cruising “the marketplace for sustainable solutions”. There was so much to look at!

We met reps from alternative energy companies, environmental management firms, green building suppliers, industry associations and more. It was fascinating to hear about the latest and greatest innovations emerging from these sectors.

And because we’re promo product geeks, it was also interesting to see the wide selection of SWAG being handed out by exhibitors.

For a summary of our outing, here’s a minute with the new guy at GLOBE:

Fairware at the Olympics: Vancouver House

March 22, 2010

During the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Fairware was featured in Vancouver House. The City of Vancouver set up the “House” to highlight the city’s Green Capital Initiative. The Vancouver Green Capital brand is at the heart of the creation of a robust, long-term economic strategy that will guide the City’s pursuit of economic opportunities around the world.

The exhibit included products and images from many innovative and sustainability-focused businesses in Vancouver. We were proud to be in such cool company – profiled along with Vancouver based businesses Fluevog Shoes and  Red Flag Designs.

We recently uploaded some photos of the exhibit to our Flickr site. You can view them HERE.

To learn more about the City of Vancouver’s Green Capital initiative, click HERE.

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.

Green guides for your next meeting, event or conference

November 13, 2009

notebooks_rs

Have an event coming up? Whether it’s a small meeting or large conference you can be sure attendants will be taking note of your greening efforts (especially if they’re lacking).

Ensure you’re presenting your brand as progressive and responsible by taking steps to reduce the environmental impact of your event. There are simple ways to improve your promotions, venue, meeting materials, transportation and more – it just takes a little planning.

We’ve searched the net for quality resources to help you present your greenest event yet. View the guides, sites and articles below for ideas on reducing your event’s environmental footprint.

Guides

Green Meeting Guide, Environment Canada

It’s Easy Being Green! A Guide to Planning and Conducting Environmentally Aware Meetings and Events, USEPA

Green Meetings Report, Convention Industry Council

Green Meetings Policy, Natrional Recycling Coalition

Web Sites

Green Events Guide, Space Share

BlueGreen Meetings, Oceans Blue Foundation

Articles

How to Host a Sustainable, Carbon Neutral Conference or other Event, David Suzuki Foundation

American Green Meeting Standards (Draft Document), American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and Convention Industry Council (CIC)


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