Sustainable Fashion?

As Vancouver Fashion Week winds down today, one might ask oneself what impact fashion might have on the environment and working conditions around the world? What, if any, positive impact would sustainable choices in fashion make to the environment? For the fashionably conscious switching from haute couture to baggy hemp garments doesn’t really seem like a choice. Is baggy hemp the only choice?

Vancouver Fashion Week brought some answers to these question last Friday at their Eco Fashion Show in the Colin Campbell building. Thanks to Paige Donner from Greening Hollywood Reeve Consutling’s Amanda Mungal had the opportunity to attend the show and was quite impressed with the work of our local designers. Not only were the clothes completely wearable and fashionable, each designer considered the environment and working conditions in their choice of textiles.

After the show Amanda met up with Paige to discuss what makes fashion eco-friendly? The most immediate answer was textiles; what is the environmental impact of their processing, what if any employment standards are adhered to in the manufacturing plants, is the resource being used sustainable? But like most things the answer is a bit more complicated.

Bamboo has of late been the hot new trend in sustainable textiles but questions have been raised in regards to its carbon footprint as well as the amount of water and chemicals used during the processing. The proponents of bamboo have argued that at least they are taking steps in the right direction, which is true. All change and innovation has a growth period during which shortfalls will need to be addressed.

Another option is 100% organic cotton. Organic cotton is currently produced in 24 countries around the globe its production is growing at a rate of 50% a year. The switch to organic cotton is important not just for the sake of feeling earth friendly but consider this: regular cotton takes up 2.4% of the worlds cultivated land mass but makes up for 16% of the use of insecticides. Imagine the impact that a large-scale move to organic cotton would have on the planet. Cotton can be grown all over the world, reducing its carbon footprint and with Fair Trade practices in place it would be a financially viable crop that supported local economies. Organic cotton is still significantly more expensive than regular cotton, but as more people get on board production will rise to meet demand and prices will come down.

Possibly the most environmentally friendly ‘R’ and the most overlooked is Re-use. Our consumer society has not embraced this notion to its fullest as we are encouraged to regularly buy the newest item that is better for the environment. Some designers have embraced the concept of Re-using by creating new items out of previously used fabrics. Planet Claire is an example of a local designer who manages to employ the concept of Re-use by selling and/or incorporating vintage clothing, using earth friendly fabrics, including seaweed and employing socially responsible labour practices.

So to answer the question can fashion be sustainable, does it matter and could making sustainable choices have an impact? Most definitely! Furthermore, as discovered at Vancouver’s Eco Fashion Show it can be cutting edge and stylish as well.

Sustainable Purchasing: a tool for tackling waste reduction

From October 19th to the 25th Canadians are being challenged to reduce their waste. 

Since 2001, Waste Reduction Week (WRW) has been organized by a coalition of provincial and territorial recycling and waste reduction associations to inform, engage and empower Canadians to reduce, reuse and recycle their waste.  The program targets schools, local governments, businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals and provides educational resources to help Canadians reduce waste in all facets of daily living.

At Reeve Consulting we stand behind the three R’s of waste management (i.e. reduce, reuse and recycle) and see sustainable purchasing as a powerful tool to reduce potential waste at the source.  More and more governments, businesses and institutions are developing sustainable purchasing programs that aim to reduce the amount of waste they are generating.  There are many simple, yet effective, strategies to managing waste at the source.  Some examples include the following:

  • Work with your suppliers to reduce the amount of packaging they use.
  • Develop take-back programs that allow you to return products and/or packaging to your suppliers for reuse and/or recycling.
  • Rent or lease products that are only needed in the short-term so that they can be returned and reused.
  • Specify when buying new products that you require them to be made of recycled materials, where possible.
  • Embed clauses in your service contracts to ensure your service providers also strive to reduce waste.

Waste Reduction Week is an excellent time to start to assess how you can leverage your purchasing power to reduce the amount of waste your organization produces.  Contact Reeve Consulting to learn more about how your organization can build a sustainable purchasing program that will help to reduce waste at the source. 

Visit www.wrwcanada.com for more information on Waste Reduction Week 2009.

Reeve Consulting and the English Bay Nature Club join together for the TD Shoreline Clean-up

This is a favourite time of year for us in English Bay – so we wanted to invite you to a special event on Friday, September 25th in the afternoon for the TD Shoreline Clean-up and evening party with food and drink.

The English Bay Nature Club, formed by my daughter Olivia as an outgrowth of her desire to “help nature”, is in its second year. Last year we kicked off the years activities with a shoreline clean-up followed by a festive social gathering. Fun was had by all and the goal of “helping nature” was achieved so we are gearing up for a repeat performance.

Part One – TD Shoreline Clean-up
We (Olivia, me and the gang at my firm Reeve Consulting) are inviting any interested parents, kids and friends to join with us in participating in the TD Shoreline Clean-up on September 25th starting at 4:00 pm at the Granville Island lagoons. This is a cool event where on the same day folks all across Canada pick-up litter along shorelines. Our group is being led jointly by Olivia and some of her Grade 2 chums from L’Ecole Bilingue along with the team from Reeve Consulting. Our goal is to leave the lagoons and shoreline around Granville Island pristine for all to enjoy.

Part Two – Nature Club Festivities
Around 6 pm we’ll be heading indoors and Reeve Consulting will be hosting a casual reception with further drinks, food and festivities. The location is being finalized at a nearby location on Granville Island.

Both Olivia and I would be thrilled if you joined us. It’s been ages since we have seen many of you – and others of you we are just getting to know. We’re taking care of all the details in terms of gear and coordination for the clean-up, as well as food and drinks for the after-party. You just need to come!

Come for Part One if you’re keen (we’ll send you a map of where to meet and details on the clean-up) – but definitely come for Part Two if you’re free for part of the evening. All we need to know is if you’re planning on coming. Please RSVP for the Clean-up, the festivities or both by September 21, 2009 by calling my colleague Amanda at 778-989-1545 or emailing Amanda@reeveconsulting.com

Reeve ‘Out and About:’ Reeve Consulting Visits Sustainable Coffee Plantation in Nicaragua

Selva Negra (Black Forest) Coffee is grown at 4,000 feet above sea level in the highlands of Northern Nicaragua. The estate has been producing fine Arabica coffee for over 100 years, with the tradition of shaded coffee which helps preserve the estate as virgin forest. At the farm they also operate a sustainable tourism venture that includes a resort, restaurant, coffee tour and grow vegetables and flowers for on-site consumption and commercial sale. In June, Kevin of Reeve Consulting visited Selva Negra to learn more about sustainable coffee and tourism.

Selva Negra is a privately owned farm that is not Fair Trade certified, since it is not a cooperatively owned and operated organization and is therefore not eligible for this certification. However, it does respect Fair Trade standards as well the Rainforest Alliance and Smithsonian Institute sustainable coffee standards. Their coffee currently holds the Rainforest Alliance “Eco-OK” label and, although not certified as “Bird Friendly,” the coffee plantations do fall into the ‘rustic’ and ‘traditional polyculture’ bird friendly shade gradient, the most bird friendly coffee plantation categories.

Quality social conditions are an important component in Selva Negra’s sustainability standards. The entire operation employs 400 individuals year-round and during the harvest season this number almost doubles with migrant workers. The quality of life of all the workers at Selva Negra appears to be quite comfortable and above average of many coffee estates. The employee’s benefits include:

• Housing
• Schooling
• On-site medical clinic
• Sponsored baseball teams and social events
• Skills training and conferences
• On-site convenience store

Selva Negra has been awarded the “Semper Virens” (Always Green) recognition in the International Ecological Summit in October 1995, and is a member of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. They are also working with the Rainforest Alliance to meet sustainable tourism standards which address both environmental and social conditions.

Selva Negra currently sells their award winning coffee across North America and can be found in select Whole Foods grocery stores. Visit www.selvanegra.com to learn more.

The Responsible Purchasing Network Releases their Annual Report: Responsible Purchasing Trends 2009

The Responsible Purchasing Network (RPN) recently published their annual Responsible Purchasing Trends 2009 report. This report summarizes socially responsible and environmentally sustainable purchasing practices and trends in 2008.

The RPN’s membership of 211 procurement and sustainability professionals was surveyed and 135 responded. Respondents included government agencies, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, religious congregations and corporations. Ninety-five percent of the respondents were from the United States and the remaining five percent were from Canada, Italy, Mexico and Spain.

It is interesting to note that the RPN’s membership more than doubled in 2008, and as result, responsible purchasing is on the rise! From January 2008 to January 2009 their membership grew from 97 to 211 members. Of the $53 billion dollars that is collectively spent annually by the 135 respondents, it is estimated that $4 – 10 billion of this was spent on socially and environmentally preferable goods and services in 2008.

Key Findings of the Responsible Purchasing Trends 2009 Report

The key findings of this survey are summarized in the Executive Summary of this report as follows:

Responsible Purchasing Policy & Criteria
Two out of three respondents have a responsible purchasing policy and two thirds of the rest say they expect to adopt one. Social and environmental concerns (e.g. energy efficiency, recycled content) are considered by many to be nearly as important as conventional procurement considerations such as cost, quality and supply.

Responsible Purchasing in Practice
The majority of respondents say they “actually consider” social and environmental criteria in most of their purchasing. Sustainability standards and certifications (e.g. eco-labels) are widely recognized and used. Many respondents report actually considering social or environmental issues even when they do not have a policy that specifically requires it.

New Members Bring Great Potential
While all but 11 respondents to the 2008 survey already had a formal or informal responsible purchasing policy, 43 of the 2009 respondents reported lacking such a policy – though 28 of those plan to adopt one. This show there is great potential to shift far more spending in a responsible direction.

Measuring & Reporting Impact
Respondents report minimal use of calculators that measure social, environmental or cost benefits related to their responsible purchasing. Similarly, fewer than one in four claim to publish an annual report summarizing their responsible purchasing activities.

Forecasting Future Trends & Opportunities
Nearly all respondents expect to do more responsible purchasing in the next two years. Factors they claim would increase their responsible purchasing include: more competitive pricing and better selection of responsible goods and services, and more training and education in responsible purchasing.

How Does this Compare to our Trend Research?

Reeve Consulting continuously conducts best practices and trends research related to responsible purchasing. The key findings of the RPN Responsible Purchasing Trends 2009 report are very similar to what we are identifying in our research. We agree that responsible purchasing is a rapidly growing trend and has moved to the forefront for many organizations as a strategy to help improve operational efficiency and reduce environmental impacts.

As stated in the RPN report, sustainability standards and certifications (e.g. eco-labels) are widely recognized and used. We have found that many organizations are using eco-logos to overcome the common challenge of identifying “green” products and services. This has lead to a boom in the development of eco-labels across North America, which is presenting a new layer of complexity. With the rapid influx of eco-labels in the marketplace, many purchasers are finding it difficult to sort through them all and identify the more trustworthy labels.

We have also discovered there is significant demand for more training and education in relation to responsible purchasing. Many purchasers would like a formal, accredited training program they could turn to in order to gain the knowledge they need to advance responsible purchasing within their organizations.

The RPN trends report is an important contribution to the field of responsible purchasing and Reeve looks forward to seeing how these trends advance overtime. By identifying and monitoring trends we can better understand how to support and advance responsible purchasing. For example, we see Reeve playing an important role in helping to meet the current demand that exists for training and education across North America.

Download this report:
www.ResponsiblePurchasing.org

Reeve ‘Out and About:’ Reeve Consulting Arrives in Montreal for the Symposium on Responsible Purchasing

Reeve Consulting is in Montreal to participate as a speaker and subject matter expert at the 2nd Symposium on Responsible Purchasing being held April 22 & 23, 2009. The Responsible Purchasing Symposium is a multi-stakeholder conference focusing on ethical purchasing and fair labour rights, sustainable supply chain practices and corporate responsibility. The first event held in Montreal in 2007 drew 200 international representatives from civil society, labour groups, NGOs, the legal profession, academics, cooperatives and institutional representatives. Check out the conference link at: www.ciso.qc.ca/colloquePAR09/programmation_en.html


Symposium organizers have assembled a high caliber group of speakers and participants. As an example, in our car travelling in from the airport was Joseph Breham a human rights lawyer from Paris. He told us about a recent settlement with one of the world’s largest uranium mining companies that will have really positive and wide ranging impacts for local communities and employees. I’m looking forward to meeting Heather White, founder of Verite, the non-profit social auditing, training organization that has been a leading source of capacity building for ethical sourcing in the last 15 years www.verite.org


After the main conference has concluded in Montreal a few of the international guests and Reeve will be taking a mini-version of the event on the road to speak in Chicoutimi (April 27) and finally in Quebec City on April 28 & 29. Our objective on this trip is to share our knowledge of best practices in ethical and sustainable purchasing and sustainable supply chain solutions by describing our experiences with clients like Vancouver 2010, the Sustainability Purchasing Network (SPN), Coast Hotels & Resorts, and the City of Calgary.

REEVE CONSULTING JOB OPPORTUNITY: EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

Love your job, make a difference, contribute to a greener world! Reeve Consulting creates exceptional results in ethical and sustainable purchasing through helping clients enhance their brand, their profitability and their social license by working with them to strategically re-think their supply chains. Clients include businesses, government and non-profit organizations in BC and across North America.

We seek an experienced, highly organized and motivated person to provide top notch administrative assistance to the team. Key responsibilities include:

  • Scheduling meetings and booking travel for firm’s president, consultants and associates
  • Designing and formatting corporate reports, proposals, executive briefings and documents
  • Preparing and editing meeting presentations in PowerPoint or similar formats
  • Desktop publishing of corporate brochures, fact sheet and related collateral materials
  • Completing expense reports, timesheet reports, producing invoices, and managing payables
  • Administering employee benefits and payroll
  • Managing accounts with suppliers for ethical and socially responsible office supplies / services
  • Handling corporate mail / filing / project file maintenance
  • Maintenance of a corporate library in both electronic and hard-copy format
  • Conducting basic internet research and information interviewing via phone and email
  • Coordinating website / blog updates with web-hosting company
  • Preparing electronic and hard copy mail distributions and coordinating print jobs

Qualifications include:

  • At least 3 years’ experience as an Executive Assistant or 5 years of related experience
  • Highly organized and able to multi-task efficiently while maintaining attention to fine details
  • Extremely proficient in MS Office including Word, Outlook, Excel and PowerPoint
  • Exceptional technical abilities including knowledge of specialized software applications (E.g.: Alisar Charting, Adobe PDF Review, Webex/GoToMeeting, Skype, Online Calendars)
  • Excellent error-free written communication skills (familiar and formal voice)
  • Excellent verbal communication skills (knowledge of French an asset)
  • Strong familiarity with QuickBooks (bookkeeping a highly desirable asset)
  • Comfort interacting with all types of clients and stakeholders from CEOs to volunteers
  • Professional and cooperative demeanour
  • A passion for sustainability issues
  • A valid BC Drivers License

We are an innovative, exciting and growing firm, which provides a great opportunity to learn and grow. You are motivated, enthusiastic and driven to make a positive contribution. Ethics and commitment will embody your every action. If you have a track-record of delivering and are known for exceeding expectations then send your resume and a cover letter to info@reeveconsulting.com, quoting “EA Posting Application from your name” in the subject line. For more information about our firm, visit www.reeveconsulting.com

We thank all applicants, however only those selected for interviews will be contacted. Resumes without cover letters will not be given priority.

LOCOG’s Sustainable Procurement Code ofConduct: An Emerging Trend in the Olympic Games

Firms who wish to do business with the London 2012 Organizing Committee (LOCOG http://www.london-2012.co.uk/) will have to meet relatively strict performance standards as outlined in its ‘Sustainable Procurement Code of Conduct’.

Similar to Vancouver 2010’s ground breaking ‘Supplier Code of Conduct for Social and Environmental Compliance,’ LOCOG has set requirements based on the following 4 principles:

  1. Responsible sourcing
  2. Use of secondary materials
  3. Minimising embodied impacts
  4. Healthy materials

Under each of these principles, the Code lays out preferences related to sustainable product specifications. Examples include requesting that a given product hold a third party eco-certification (see http://ecolabelling.org/).

The Code will be used by internal buyers as well as prospective suppliers and licensees to guide the procurement process in a way that will help to ensure the sustainability of the 2012 Games and set precedence for future games.

The initial priority categories on which the Code will focus include:

  • branded products;
  • products sourced from overseas, and;
  • labour providers

Procurement’s approach to sustainable sourcing will be based on the following questions:

1. Where does it come from?

2. Who made it?

3. What is it made of?

4. What is it wrapped in?

5. What will happen to it after the Games?

The answers to these questions will help the organizing committee determine how it will source specific products and sources. A trend is emerging in the Olympic Games in terms of sustainable purchasing and it will be interesting to see if other Olympic organizing committees will integrate similar questions into their approach to sustainable sourcing.

Related to verification of compliance to the Code, no specific action will be required on the part of suppliers and licensees beyond reading and understanding the Code. However, once a contract has been awarded, LOCOG may use various methods to ensure practices are aligned with the requirements of the tendering process.  Methods may include using ‘Supplier Ethical Data Exchange’ (https://www.sedex.org.uk) to disclose supply chain information as well as independent audits.

Thanks in large part to the work at VANOC, sustainable procurement has become an embedded component of the Games’ overall sustainability strategy. The LOCOG Code has definitely built upon this good work. VANOC, however, requires all
of its Licensees to be audited on a regular basis. LOCOG’s approach to verification seems somewhat less stringent. Reeve
Consulting will be interested to see how this all plays out and how it will influence other Olympic organizing committees in years to come.

For more information and to review the LOCOG Code, please go to:
http://www.london2012.com/news/archive/2008-11/london-2012-publishes-sustainable-sourcing-code.php

For moreinformation and to review the VANOC Code, please go to:http://www.vancouver2010.com/dl/00/55/84/-/55842/prop=data/3o3aaq/55842.pdf

Reeve Consulting ‘Green Links’

Here are a couple of interesting links we’ve come accross in the past few weeks:

Motorola Releases Eco- Cell: A cell phone made of 100% post consumer water bottles has been certified the first carbon free phone. Motorola will also offset the amount of energy required to manufacture, ship and operate the phone. A postage paid envelope will also be included for return/recycling of the phone. It will sell for about $60 US. Check out their link for more infromation:  http://www.motorola.com/consumers/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=3bd6df420e68e110VgnVCM1000008406b00aRCRD

An interview with Chris Geiger, Manager of Green Purchasing and Integrated Pest Management from the City of San Francisco. See this website for the podcast: http://audio.aworldofpossibilities.com/audio/cohen_edwards64kb20081021.mp3

New York’s Green Purchasing Policy

http://www.greenerdesign.com/news/2008/12/15/new-york-green-purchasing

12 Step program for greening your supply chain.

http://www.2sustain.com/2008/12/20-steps-towards-sustainability.html

2012 Olympics publish sustainable procurement code.

http://www.businessgreen.com/business-green/news/2231451/london-2012-pub

Reeve Consulting ‘Out and About’: World Conference on Sport and the Environment

On March 30th Reeve Consulting attended the World Conference on Sport and Environment which is organized every two years by the International Olympic Committee and the United Nations Environment Programme. The conference is designed to encourage strong social responsibility and reduce the impacts that sports events can have on the environment, particularly the Olympics.

This year the theme of the conference was ‘Innovation and Inspiration: Harnessing the Power of Sport for Change’. Reeve would like to note a few interesting points from the delegates of the conference:

Thomas Van Dyck, Senior Vice President – Financial Consultant, Senior Consulting Group RBC Wealth Management – SRI Wealth Management Group, USA delivered a compelling opening plenary presentation speaking to the critical importance of ethical and sustainable purchasing as a market mechanism to scale up a green and sustainability oriented economy.

Ann Duffy, Corporate Sustainability Officer, Vancouver 2010, and David Stubbs, Head of Environment and Sustainable Development, London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG 2012) highlighted how purchasing is a central tenant of their overall strategies to advance zero waste, carbon neutral commitments and other sustainability priorities. Reeve worked closely with Vancouver 2010 on the development of their Buy Smart program and was happy to see this program being profiled in Ann’s presentation.

Hon. Gordon Campbell, Premier of the Province of British Columbia, was impressive as he highlighted the importance of investing in a green economy and that we need to act now on the issue of climate change. He painted an optimistic vision of how we can capitalize on investments in green technologies and infrastructure to build a stronger and more productive economy in BC and beyond. Reeve Consulting shares this vision and it’s great to hear the premier of BC showing leadership on an international platform.

The conference was a great opportunity to network with likeminded firms, organizations and individuals. A couple of our observations from the conference include:

  • sport management professionals and other major event representatives at the conference are clearly hungry for details on sustainable purchasing
  • many we spoke with were looking for more tangible examples of actual program implementation / challenges and success
  • many sessions were struggling to get started and finished on time as there was a thirst for networking and folks    were keen to continue conversations outside of the sessions
  • some question periods were quite limited, which in some cases, stifled some potentially interesting discussions
  • hopefully day two will begin really start to unpeel the implementation onion and move from discussion of plans and management systems to actual results