Reeve Blog

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.

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.

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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.

Now Released: Report on the State of Municipal Sustainable Procurement in Canada

The fourth annual report on the State of Municipal Sustainable Procurement in Canada from Reeve Consulting, co-authored with the representatives from the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Purchasing (MCSP), is now available for public distribution. This latest report documents current trends, best practices and the major challenges faced by municipalities as they implement sustainable and ethical procurement. It presents a best practices framework for sustainable purchasing leadership and a snapshot of how major Canadian municipalities are progressing at implementing their programs
 
If you are an MCSP participant, make the most of your report by sharing it with your City Council as an example of the value of peer-to-peer collaborations.
 
>> Download the full 2013 report [PDF]
 
Please note that preparation of the 2014 annual report will be starting in September 2014 and will be using an enhanced self-evaluation framework that allows for more precise self-reporting.

Sustainability at the 4th Green Sports Alliance Summit

Green Sports Alliance SummitI am excited to speak at the 4th Green Sports Alliance Summit http://summit.greensportsalliance.org/ on July 21-22 in Santa Clara, California. More than 600 industry stakeholders will be listening to 80+ industry leaders, discussing how companies can promote better environmental sustainability, engage in community outreach, and advance the green sports movement. Pivotal issues to be explored by a wide selection of dedicated individuals.READ MORE

Environmental Sustainability at Putin’s 2014 Russian Olympics

Like other Canadians, I was excited about all the gold medals we won at the Sochi 2014 Olympics, especially in hockey, our national sport, and in giant slalom, a personal favourite of mine. It was an honour to be involved in the event’s development. After serving as a Strategic Advisor for Vancouver’s 2010 Olympics, I was approached by Russian authorities for advice on how to minimize the 2014 Olympics’ effect on the environment.

This wasn’t a minor issue. Sochi is a popular choice for eco-tourism because of its biodiversity and breathtaking natural wonders, and the International Olympic Committee had concerns about the Sochi environment and potential environmental impacts from its role as Olympic host. It was a great opportunity to be able to work with the Sochi environmental team. Many plans and initiative were incorporated into the country’s preparations, which can be seen in detail on the Sochi 2014 website < http://www.sochi2014.com/en/development-harmony>. These changes included habitat restoration, animal resettlement, compensation of the Games’ carbon footprint, innovative waste management systems, and using only wood and paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Many of the Olympic sponsors did their part as well, such as Dow Chemical, who provided a new technology and resources to keep the 2014 Olympics carbon neutral.

Companies such as Dow Chemical recognize the value of associating their brand with an environmentally sustainable Olympics. Of course promoting green practices and sustainability preserves the environment, a priceless goal, but it makes good business sense as well. Sustainable methods create less waste and are therefore more efficient. Furthermore, by getting involved, companies such as Dow show to the world that they’re industry leaders, and that their brand philosophy is about more than simply making a quick buck. It earns them respect, which can be invaluable.

The results of the Sochi 2014 sustainability sadly weren’t perfect. The Russian marketplace was not well-prepared for the demands of a green Olympics and many initiatives weren’t implemented as comprehensively as they could have been. However, it was a definite step in the right direction. Hopefully it will give Russians inspiration for further sustainability initiatives in the future. Certainly the Olympics’ marketing campaign frequently mentioned its use of FSC-approved materials and hopefully that idea has resonated with suppliers. Perhaps in the near future, people will look back on the 2014 Olympics and say that that was a catalyst for a new green movement in Russia.

Advantage Green at the US Open

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The US Open ended on Monday with plenty of excitement and an inspiring win by Rafael Nadal. Plenty of records were set and matched during the week in all sorts of categories…and the players weren’t the only ones setting them.

The US Open organizing committee together with the United States Tennis Association (USTA) has been working since 2008 on reducing the impact of the US Open on the environment and this year they went further than ever. For example, over the last two years, the US Open collected an average of 121 tons of compostable waste each year. This year they expect to collect over 155 tons.  The US Open has expanded their composting program to include fan generated waste as well as kitchen waste; they offset not only the carbon emissions generated by the fuel consumed by the event, but also the emissions generated by player travel to the event; they participated in a meeting for representatives from all four Grand Slam tournaments to exchange ideas about sustainability; and, if that wasn’t enough, Tournament organizers also produced and aired a 30 second public service announcement encouraging sustainability.

These last two points are significant. Sustainability really is about cooperation. We must work together to create real change and to make real progress towards a sustainable future. In that regard, sporting events are in a unique position to model social responsibility and encourage sustainable behaviours. They have direct access to millions of fans worldwide and, more significantly, the influence necessary to promote change. In the US Open’s words, they have the advantage – and they have impact.

Reeve Consulting recently attended the annual meeting of the Green Sports Alliance in New York. There, hundreds of representatives of the sporting world and sustainable business met to discuss progress and opportunities for sport to be that model of social responsibility and, of course, to reap the financial and promotional benefits of sustainable and green practices. We like where this conversation is going, and see our role as helping to broaden the scope of discussion to include a complete triple match point on sustainability – a look at the environmental, social and economic impacts of major sporting events.

Do You Know Your Water Footprint?

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This week is World Water Week and the UN has declared 2013 the Year of Water Co-operation. I didn’t know that, and I’d be willing to bet a lot of Canadians don’t know it. After all, we are privileged to live in a part of the world with such an abundance of water that we rarely even consider it. Yet, if we are to run environmentally conscious, sustainable companies, then we must look beyond our piece of paradise and consider the wider repercussions of our impact on the water supply.

One of the newer developments in business sustainability is water footprinting. Like carbon footprinting, water footprinting is a measure of how much water is used and to what extent water is polluted by a business, family, or individual. In the recent Global Risks 2013 survey, international leaders and business executives identified water availability as one of the top 5 global business risks today. The survey urges businesses to consider the risks to production, the supply chain, their reputation and their relationships with the community, and ultimately their bottom line from water scarcity and pollution. The risks are present in most industries, but they are particularly pertinent to sectors such as fashion and manufacturing where the supply chain includes goods being produced in India, Mexico and other water-poor areas.

One method of identifying our impact on the water supply is to apply Water Footprint Network’s water footprint assessment methodology. The assessment involves a four-stage process:

  • setting the goal and scope of the assessment;
  • calculating the total volume of freshwater used to produce goods and services (the water footprint);
  • assessing sustainability in terms of local water scarcity and pollution levels; and
  • working to reduce the water footprint or improve sustainability.

At Reeve Consulting, we endeavour to consider all the risks in every aspect of your supply chain, and we’ll help you find the ones you haven’t thought of yet.

Whole Foods Tops 2013 Seafood Retailer Scorecard

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According to the annual CATO Report recently published by Greenpeace, Whole Foods supermarkets has moved to the top of seafood retailers by focusing on the sustainability of their supply chain. The report outlines the current state of retail seafood and discusses the practices, both positive and negative, that are part of the supply chain that puts fish on grocery store shelves. Additionally, Greenpeace ranks the retailers on four criterion: policy, initiatives, transparency, and red list inventory (a list of 22 priority species).

Whole Foods captured the crown by reining in its seafood supply chain; reducing the number of red list fish, offering a selection of sustainable canned tuna, and introducing quantitative policies and initiatives that govern its purchasing decisions. Other notable grocers from this years report include Safeway, who came in second place with their goal of selling no unsustainable seafood by 2015, and Trader Joe’s, who improved from 15th in last year’s report to 3rd this year by significantly stepping up efforts in all four areas.

While there is still work to be done to implement sustainable seafood practices globally, all three of the CATO Report’s top retailers are actively reducing their environmental impact by developing and implementing a thorough sustainable purchasing policy. This is true in many other purchasing areas as well as seafood and can be applied to any business. Reeve Consulting has had experience helping our partners to build out and implement sustainable purchasing policies in dozens of those areas.