Bittersweet on Easter Treats

As you plan ahead for your Easter weekend, you might be thinking about Easter egg hunts, or other chocolate goodies that the Easter Bunny will deliver. This year, go beyond planning strategic hiding spots, and consider thinking about the origin of the chocolate you purchase for your friends and loved ones.

Last week, CTV News ran an article called, “The dark side of Easter chocolate,” in which they detailed worrisome ethical concerns in the chocolate supply chain, including child labour and slavery, and a lack of sustainable income for many cocoa farmers in regions such as West Africa.

For those of us who want to feel good about our impact on others and the environment, this isn’t great news. However, you may not have to give up your annual hunt. One place to start is to look for the Fairtrade label when purchasing chocolate. Many companies, like Camino, Endangered Species, and others offer Fairtrade and sustainably-sourced chocolate Easter treats, and even large companies such as Cadbury, Nestle, and Hershey are taking steps toward stronger ethical and environmental performance.

To help you in your pursuit, CTV also cited two resources for finding ethical Easter chocolate: World Vision’s “The Good Chocolate Guide” and the “ChocoFinder” app that will help you find specialty chocolate stores selling ethical products in your area.

This year, look for chocolate that won’t compromise people or planet – we think that’s a decision you can feel really sweet about!

2014 Annual Report Reveals Current Trends & Best Practices in Municipal Sustainable Purchasing in Canada

MCSP 2014 Report Cover PageReeve Consulting and the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (MCSP) recently released the fifth annual MCSP State of the Nation Report, summarizing the latest trends, best practices, examples and case studies of Municipal Sustainable Procurement in Canada. The report provides a wealth of information on how municipalities across Canada are progressing at implementing the practice of sustainable procurement and is a valuable resource for municipal decision-makers looking to implement impactful sustainable procurement programming.

View the full report at http://blog.reeveconsulting.com/resources/

The release of the report also marks the kick-off of the 2015 programming for the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement, which through its collaboration and resource sharing programs will help participating municipalities address challenges and priorities raised in the 2014 State of the Nation report. In addition, the report specifically profiles success stories from each MCSP member municipality. By joining the MCSP in 2015, you can ensure that your municipality’s important sustainable purchasing work will be showcased in the next report, allowing you to highlight your great sustainable purchasing work, both internally and to your city council.

The Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement is led by a steering committee comprised of the cities of Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna, Ottawa, Saskatoon, and Vancouver, and is being facilitated by Reeve Consulting. Currently the Collaboration includes 13 municipalities from across Canada. Local governments of all sizes are invited to participate.

For more information about this national network, visit the MCSP website

Media Contact:

Tim Reeve

President, Reeve Consulting

Phone: 604-763-6829

Email: tim@reeveconsulting.com

Fair Trade Chocolate: Reasons to Celebrate and Indulge

Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – all perfectly excellent reasons to celebrate with chocolate. Something else we can celebrate is the ever-increasing availability of fair trade chocolate. When you purchase fair trade chocolate farmers in developing countries, receive a reliable and living wage, get a social premium to invest back into their communities. In fact, according to Fairtrade Canada “When chocolate bears the Official Fairtrade Certified logo, it means the cocoa production has been independently monitored, giving you the assurance the manufacturer’s claim is true…Fair trade also encourages sustainable farming, so when purchasing a fair trade products you’re also helping the environment.”

Fair trade chocolate has been available in health stores and specialty markets for years, but confection giants are getting in the game. In 2009 Cadbury made a commitment to use fair trade chocolate in their Cadbury Dairy Milk bars and have since added fair trade Easter Eggs. In 2009 and 2010 they were the world’s largest buyer of fair trade certified cocoa. Kraft, who recently took over Cadbury, has promised to maintain that commitment. Kit Kat, owned by Nestle, is following Cadbury’s example, due to volume, the impact of such large companies using fair trade ingredients is huge and make a real difference to the lives of families in developing countries.

While this exciting move towards the use of fair trade cocoa by large companies is exciting and impactful, it’s important that we don’t forget the Tazamania Proverb “little by little a little become a lot”. There are many artisanal, certified fair trade companies providing top quality chocolate – these specialty chocolate companies are the backbone of the fair trade cocoa movement. These small companies are passionate about making a positive impact in the world rather than just making profit. By choosing to purchase from companies that are fair trade certified, you can feel good about the choice you’ve made and sometimes making the right choice can taste sooooo good.

In a world where your purchases have more influence than your political vote, it is imperative that you take all factors into consideration before pulling out your wallet. 

-Scott Umstattd

Fairtrade Canada

Cadbury Dairy Milk – Fair Trade

Fair Trade Valentine’s Day Gifts

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Flowers for Valentine’s Day: The True Cost of Romance

Whether you ordered your stunning bouquet to be delivered by a singing messenger, or will be running into your local grocer at the last minute, chances are flowers are a big part of your Valentine’s Day. You can’t go wrong with flowers; they’re classic, romantic, aromatic, non-fattening, and a perfect and delicate expression of your love. Of course since it IS a flower holiday, the cost of skyrockets, but just like popcorn at the movies, florists count on your ignoring the cost in favour of the sentiment.

Sadly, the price tag is just one part of the high cost of flowers. Columbia is the second largest exporter of flowers, earning 1.3 billion in 2012. The Guardian recently posted an article about the growing industry and the price paid by the workers. According to the article “Behind the millions of imported flowers we buy every year is a mostly female workforce subjected to low pay and poor conditions”. These women leave their homes and children before dawn, working 16 hours, sustaining repetitive motion injuries and chemical exposure. They work at incredible speeds under tight supervision with minimal breaks, and near holidays such as Valentine’s Day they work double shifts – all of this for $269 per month.

There have been attempts, mostly unsuccessful, to form employee associations; however, members face intimidation and a culture of stigmatization. According to The Guardian, union leader López González’s was suspended without pay for four days simply for requesting a statutory break for her and her fellow workers.

The upside is that there is some slow progress being made with the forming of fair trade organizations that guarantee better conditions. The down side is low participation by Columbian flower farmers, and lack of demand by consumers for fair trade flowers. According to a spokesman for UK importer Quartz Flowers, “What we find in the UK with our customers [is that] if the product is of good quality, is consistent, then they don’t really ask for that [sustainability certification]”.

This year try looking for fair trade flowers, if your local grocer or florist doesn’t have them, ask why not and let them know you are not interested in flowers produced by suffering, impoverished workers. If you can’t find fair trade, don’t panic, there are other options – you can’t go wrong with fair trade chocolates and jewelry!

Florimex Roses – Canada’s Favourite Fair Trade Product 2014

Full Bloom Flowers

Fairtrade Canada

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Keep Your Friends Close and your Groceries Closer: BC Buy Local

Did you know we are smack in the middle of BC Buy Local Week? BC Buy Local Week takes place annually from December 1 – 7. Click the link at the bottom and watch the video, it will give you a deeper understanding of the HUGE impact that buying local has both on the economy and the environment, and more importantly, how your choices can make your community a better place.

The Buy BC Local website notes that “Local businesses enhance our community, connect and support us socially, and enhance wealth and employment by circulating dollars many times between businesses. Research shows that BC local businesses create more than double the economic impact of their chain competitors.” That means for every $100 you spend with local BC businesses, $46 is re-circulated back into the local economy compared to multi national companies where only $18 is kept locally.

A peruse of the Buy BC Local Newsletter makes it evident that many local businesses tend to be greener, more progressive and healthier. For example, Food.ee: Changing the Catering Business through Locally Sourced Foods and Compostable Packaging, or Modo the Car Coop. Not only are local businesses boosting the economy, they’re looking out for our health and the environment – a win-win-win! Add to that the fact that local businesses provide more support for local events, sports teams and charities and are more likely to buy local services and stock local products themselves – it’s seems a pretty simple choice.

Vancouver has done well with promoting local artisans and grocers. The City of Vancouver website has a devoted page to helping people locate local produce. BC Buy Local is taking the whole BC local movement one giant step forward by unifying the ideals and expanding the definition to include the whole province. In doing so they are providing much-needed information and awareness to build traction and take Buy Local from a concept to a reality.

Check out their website, sign up for the newsletter and find out where you can buy local and make a difference in your community, one dollar at a time. If you are a local vendor, they have information for you too!

Dec 1 – 7 BC Buy Local Week

Not just another fluff piece

Winter is on the way and with it, racks and racks of high-end down filled jackets, slippers and blankets promising to keep you cozy all season long. Generally speaking these are high-priced items, but a recent article has left us wondering, what is the real cost of all this down?

A review of the video attached tells you everything you didn’t want to know about how down is usually sourced. None of it is surprising for anyone who is versed in large factory farming methods, but it’s sure to bring a chill to anyone cuddle up in their down duvet! Force feeding, plucked alive, terrible conditions all suffered by these harmless birds to keep us warm and cozy.

Enter Patagonia, an outdoor apparel company who has just launched its “Responsible Apparel” campaign along with its intention to offer Fair Trade Clothing. This week they announced the launch of Patagonia® Traceable Down. The company says that the birds are neither force feed for fois gras or plucked during their lifetime. In fact, Wendy Savage, social and environmental responsibility manager for Patagonia says “Patagonia’s traceability program is hands-on every step of the way. We begin our audit at the parent farm, where the eggs are laid, and follow it all the way to the garment factory, where the down is placed in our garments. We need to understand every single part of the supply chain – otherwise we can’t truly feel comfortable claiming the down as traceable.”

Down is lightweight and efficient insulation, with Patagonia creating and following these traceability standards; it is now sustainable and a lot more ethical. Considering it already has organic cotton and recycled polyester, they are leading the charge towards sustainable apparel and should be an inspiration to other companies to utilize the holistic model set forth by Patagonia.

We’re hiring! Admin Assistant (Vancouver)

We’re excited to announce an open position with Reeve Consulting in Vancouver, BC.

Click on the links below for full job postings and application details.

The position will be filled upon finding a suitable candidate.

Reeve Consulting is a boutique consultancy based in Vancouver, BC specializing in the development and implementation of ethical and sustainable purchasing programming for business, government and non-profit organizations in BC and across North America.

New eLearning Tool for Sustainable Purchasing from Reeve Consulting

With supply chain transparency quickly rising as a corporate priority –private and public sector organizations are asking themselves how they can more effectively engage with their staff around important ethical and sustainable purchasing concepts.

That’s why a new eLearning tool called The Green Learning Centre is creating a buzz. Powered by Reeve Consulting, The Green Learning Centre is a unique online communication and training program that builds employee awareness and understanding of ethical, sustainable and green purchasing in a fast, fun and effective way.

The Green Learning Centre offers three levels of courses to enable employees to quickly learn the fundamental concepts of green purchasing and sustainable supply chains using interactive videos and the latest in online learning tools. The courses have been described as fun (when was the last time you heard of an eLearning procurement course call described as fun!); they are time efficient (from 10 minutes to 30 minutes depending on the course); and they offer a consistent message as part of an enterprise wide communication program. And by drawing on the experience of Reeve Consulting’s twenty years of experience of working with hundreds of private, public and non-profit organizations, learners receive relevant information, delivered at their own pace, without ever having to leave their own desks.

The Green Learning Centre courses are effective as a stand-alone primer for sustainable purchasing, but can also be blended with in-person seminars for an even more immersive experience. In the end, employees will come away grounded in the fundamental concepts of environmental purchasing, ethical sourcing and sustainable procurement.

The Green Learning Centre has already helped organizations such as the University of British Columbia, the BC Lottery Corporation, and London Drugs take their teams to the next level in terms of awareness and understanding of green and sustainable purchasing.

Take advantage of an exclusive offer to get a 50% discount on any Green Learning Centre course in next 30 days. Offer available to the first 100 visitors using the promotion code: 92FABD68. Simply click on this link to get started.

Supplier Engagement and Collaboration: McDonalds Releases 2014 “Best of Sustainable Supply” Report

We’ve long been advocates of the idea of working collaboratively with suppliers to scale up social and environmental performance, and a recent report released by McDonalds shows just how much can be achieved when organizations look to their suppliers for solutions to sustainability challenges. In their new report entitled, “Best of Sustainable Supply”,  McDonalds honours 36 suppliers and 51 projects that represent significant innovation towards more sustainable supply chains. McDonalds believes that innovation is key to their sustainability journey and their suppliers have a pretty impressive track record of innovating in the area of the three E’s: ethics, environment, and economics.

According to Jose Amario, Executive Vice President of Worldwide Supply Chain, one of the goals of the report is to share that innovations and knowledge with other suppliers,

“Every year, our suppliers focus even more attention on sustainability, applying innovation to make a real difference for the people, communities, animals and environment that touch our supply chain. And the benefits don’t end with us. Many of these innovations can bring about more widespread change in our suppliers’ own industries and in broader society”.

In a call for nominations McDonalds received 585 submissions, almost 40 percent more than the last time they engaged suppliers in this program. Stay tuned for information from Reeve Consulting on Supplier Collaboration and best practices as we work with one of our major retail clients on a supplier recognition program aimed to roll out in the fall of 2014.

Growing the Market for Fairtrade Products in Canada

 Did you know that Fairtrade Certification is the most widely recognized consumer eco-label in  the world? It’s not surprising given that Fairtrade certification includes minimum environmental, social and economic standards, all related to the production and distribution to a growing range of consumer products. The high recognition rate is good news for both ourselves and our friends at Fairtrade Canada, who have recently engaged Reeve Consulting to help them develop and execute a major Retail Engagement Strategy aimed at growing the availability of certified Fairtrade products in major Canadian Grocery Stores such as Loblaws, Sobeys, Metro, Whole Foods and Federated Cooperative Limited [PDF]. We’ll be working as key partner to the Fairtrade Canada Commercial team for the next 4 months as part of a new focus within the organization on the retail sector. If you’re a certified Fairtrade brand, a Fairtrade supplier or a friend of Fairtrade, we’d love to hear your ideas on how we can grow the market for Fairtrade products in Canada and beyond.