Our efforts to improve our own social and environmental performance revolve around three areas of our operations: Environmental Impact, Community Impact and Company Culture.
Fairware has participated in Climate Smart, a program focussed on helping small and medium sized enterprises measure and reduce their carbon emissions since 2010. Following the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, Fairware has undertaken three inventories of our scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions.
Through the inventory process, we found that approximately 87% of our emissions come from shipping our orders to clients, followed by air travel by our own staff for business trips (8.5%). The remaining 4.5% of emissions are tied to our head office operations. Our impact is greatest when our products or staff leave the office.
We’re currently working on an updated baseline for 2015. In the past few years, we’ve completed an LED retrofit of our workspace, we support active transportation by our staff, use FSC, recycled content products and more. But clearly we need to move beyond our own space to make an impact.
A key area of emissions, as noted in the chart above, are those that result from transporting our product from suppliers to clients. This year we plan to both educate our clients on the emissions impact of air shipping (often the result of inadequate planning and scheduling for events) and to explore how we may engage our clients in reducing transportation emissions that result from our orders.
Fairware is a bike-friendly workplace, providing staff with secure bike storage and access to a private bathroom complete with a shower, changing area and storage space. An important factor in selecting our current location was its centrality in Vancouver, making it an easy bike ride from most residential neighbourhoods. We encourage staff to use transit for business meetings.
We pride ourselves on creating an inclusive and casual work environment. We work hard, but we also have fun. Fairware is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
We’re particularly proud of our monthly staff food-sharing lunches – it’s a great way to eat healthy local food. We provide staff with extended medical and dental benefits, a progressive leave of absence program, staff volunteerism, good laughs and high fives.
We believe that true change has to happen beyond our office walls. As such, we’ve embraced advocacy as a core part of our sustainability agenda. Our advocacy work extends in to the many presentations our Co-Founders, Sarah White and Denise Taschereau, deliver each year across North America where they speak to leveraging business to drive political and organizational change.
Fairware has been a cheerleader, supporter and sponsor of the Vancouver Street Soccer League since our early days. VSSL is an inspiring organization that uses the power of sport to empower and transform lives. Over the years, we have donated and/or provided goods at cost to help support fundraising efforts.
In 2013 we stepped up to become an official sponsor and provided close to $20,000 worth of uniforms for all 9 teams in the league. Players were thrilled to have brand new jerseys with their team logos and names as well as shorts and socks.
In addition to the uniforms we collect our good quality samples that we no longer need and pass them along to the league. We focus this collection of goods around Christmas and in 2013 we were able to provide gifts for many players that attended the annual holiday party. Gifts included brand new apparel, bags, hats, and other fun stuff.
In June of 2013, VSSL became an official organization (society) and elected a board of directors. Fairware’s COO, Sarah White, joined the board as the director of Sponsorships and works with a great group of committed volunteers to raise awareness and money for the League.