What does the future of the eco-friendly promotional products industry hold? This is the question that co-founders Denise Taschereau (CEO) and Sarah White (COO) of Fairware are pondering during this unique time in our history. Fairware helps businesses to better engage their customers, employees, and partners through the creation of custom-branded sustainable products. They ensure that a business’s promotional merchandise helps tell their story and animate their mission driven brand.
While working as the director of sustainability for Canada’s largest outdoor retailer, Denise recognized a major gap in the promotional merchandise space. She noticed how difficult it was to source promotional merchandise that reflected the environmental and social concerns of many of the brands she personally admired.
Fairware officially launched in Sarah’s garage in 2005. Fast forward 15 years to today, they now have a bustling community in Vancouver, British Columbia, enhanced by the B-Corporation community, of which they have been a part for a decade. Not many organizations can say they have had that certification for so long, which demonstrates that they are clearly an example of a leading socially and environmentally responsible company.
Certified in 2010, Fairware is proud to be a founding member of the Canadian B Corp. They’ve been committed to business as a force for good and a meaningful way to make a difference since day one.
They are also deeply involved in the activism side of the B-Corporation community. Sarah in particular has been heavily involved in We the Change, a movement that focuses on promoting women- and LGBTQ+-owned businesses. While they have always prioritized climate change action, they are now interested and hopeful to see how the future will promote businesses that are focused on both sustainability and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
In our episode, we discuss what Denise and Sarah have taken away from being a part of the B-Corp community for 10 years as well as tips they can provide from having gone through their certification and re-certification processes.
We talk about their thoughts and philosophies regarding ethical sourcing and where they believe this industry is headed. We also reflect on the early days of Fairware. What helped them to gain early traction? How did they grow as a business to create what is the immense and admirable social and environmental impact they have today?
“You can sell a great ethically made, sustainable T-shirt, but if they don’t have a great experience in how that gets delivered from beginning to end of the sales cycle, they don’t necessarily come back if the T-shirt was great. Don’t forget the basics because that is what will really keep you going over the long haul as a company.” -Denise Taschereau
- Fairware’s involvement in the activism side of the B-Corporation community
- Insights they’ve gained from being a certified B Corporation for 10 years
- Tips on the B Corp certification and re-certification process
- Their thoughts and philosophies on ethical sourcing
- The beginnings of Fairware and their evolution in the past 15 years
- The urgency to address the intersection between sustainability and diversity, equity, and inclusion in today’s political climate
Links from the Episode:
- Denise on LinkedIn
- Sarah on LinkedIn
- Fairware on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn
- Ben & Jerry’s
- Decisive by Chip Heath & Dan Heath
- How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
Building a Better World, Together
Grow Ensemble, a 1% For the Planet business member, is an Impact Media + Marketing company on a mission to make more sustainable living and business the norm.