A love of postcards and graphic design is what originally inspired Virginie St-Jean, owner of Green Banana Cards, to attempt to turn her two passions into a business.
During her planning process, she decided to be realistic about the fact that Joe Schmo on the street isn’t necessarily interested in buying packs of beautifully designed postcards. However, if she differentiated her cards in a very unique (and Canadian way), her idea might just be viable.
“Since postcards are not as popular as they used to be with the general public, I thought that the only way to be successful selling postcards was to create a novelty product,” she says.
So, she began by designing a moose into her first product. Customers who receive the card can cut out the various parts and assemble them into a three-dimensional paper moose. And as the popularity of the product grew, she added on other animal designs, including a puffin, wolf and mammoth. St-Jean is currently up to 14 designs total, and has plans to add animals from Down Under to her line of cards in the spring.
Her designs are ordered wholesale for gift shops all over the U.S. and Canada, and she also offers smaller custom orders through her Etsy store.
Another aspect of her business that sets her apart is her commitment to using sustainable papers and inks for her products. Green Printer Online‘s line of eco-friendly paper and the ability to order directly online is why St-Jean chose to work with us exclusively.
“I get a quality product and it often ships faster than expected, which is great.”
While the fair Canadian city of Vancouver has the noble goal of becoming the greenest city in the world by 2020, there’s a small town in Germany that may have already earned that title.
The university town of Freiberg I’m Breisgau, nestled in southwest Germany’s Black Forest, is considered by many to be the “greenest” or most sustainable city in the world currently. According to a report from The Vancouver Sun, the town’s reliance on numerous solar panels for energy in both commercial and residential buildings plays a major role in the title.
It also helps that many of Freiberg’s approximately 230,000 residents either use public transit via the tram, bicycles or their own two legs to get them wherever they need to go.
Additionally, the city has several energy sustainable neighbourhoods, including one that is hailed as being the only one in the world that creates more energy than it consumes, which it then feeds back into the city’s power grid (for a tidy profit, of course).
Perhaps Canadian towns and companies could learn a thing or two from the way residents and workers in Freiberg tackle sustainability together.
The verdict is in from the top social media honchos: social media isn’t just a fringe benefit to add as a complementary side dish to your regular marketing plan – it is your main marketing plan for 2009.
What is interesting is that Etsy has intentionally avoided big glossy ads in magazines in favour of seller-created street teams and video content to pull off the best, tried-and-true marketing strategy of all: word of mouth (WOM). Read the rest of this entry »
We scoured the web for you, dear readers (okay, we did our due diligence and browsed numerous sites) and here are five resolutions you can take action on the first week back at the office. Or, more realistically, as soon as you recuperate from your New Year and holiday festivities.
1. Automate it… and cut out more green duty to remember in January
In “10 Resolutions to Green Your Technology“, Anna Jaeger from the TechSoup blog suggests setting up an office-wide policy on computer settings. She recommends taking a few minutes to set up a power-management feature (available on a Mac and a PC) that can help save money, reduce impact on the environment and extend the life of the office hardware for years to come. According to Climate Savers Computing Initiative, one of the leading power-management advocacy organizations in the United States, the average desktop PC wastes nearly half the power it pulls from the wall as heat. Read the rest of this entry »
You cannot stop a negative habit without knowing how much and how often you are doing it. Enter the financial “carrot”: the online environmental calculator with a finance edge.
True, public demand, employee engagement, shareholder interest and newly defined sustainability goals are the “pressure points” for companies to cut their consumption habits and curb carbon emissions.
But today, organizations like Xerox, RecycleBank and Creative Citizen are offering more than just a climate change reason to decrease consumption: money. And, they are doing it by showing your employees the financial figures generated in conjunction with their online, environmental calculators. Read the rest of this entry »
My assumption is that kids are already well ahead of their parents in terms of incorporating green living (with less fuss than adults) into their lives and those of their peers. In fact, kids often pressure parents to recycle, according to a study published in the BBC.
Still, raising children to be good citizens and those that can quickly make the link between paper usage, recycling, deforestation, government action and climate change later in their life (I coin these savvy “Forest Citizens”) is not easy but it is well worth it on many levels. Here is who we are watching to help us raise good Forest Citizens as we embark on the craziness of the school year: Read the rest of this entry »
Myth no. 1: The paper production industry is low on the GHG emitter totem pole.
Not so, actually the paper and pulp industry is the third largest polluter in both Canada and the United States. The Green Press Initiative (GPI) states that one of the biggest benefits of using recycled fiber is that it emits 38 percent less GHGs. Recycled fiber also uses 44 percent less energy to produce, and conserves up to 34 mature trees for every ton replacing virgin fiber. Read the rest of this entry »
This week, greenwash fatigued bloggers (Gawker describes it as improbable a real news item as ‘the hot dog industry going vegetarian’) and non-profit spokespersons turned a skeptical eye on a group of direct marketing companies called the Green Marketing Coalition (GMC). Corporate clients, including Microsoft, Washington Mutual and OptimaHealth, are also in on the initiative.
GMC’s goal? Altruistic enough. According to the New York Times article “Direct marketing goes green. No, really”, these marketers are joining hands and taking small, albeit very conservative, steps to make an inherently unsustainable practice (i.e. sending wads of personal junk mail) at least a little bit greener. We have already written about junk mail solutions and naughty, catalogue-sending companies before and so we were curious about what best practices the industry funded group came up with. Read the rest of this entry »
Mandy Haggith with the ‘paper mountain’ she built to show what a year’s waste looks like. Photo by Angus Bruce, The Independent.
“The paperless-society goal is a very nice and noble one,” said Arpad Horvath, an associate professor at the University of California-Berkeley who has studied the issue of replacing paper with wireless technologies. “Unfortunately, I don’t see any trace of progress toward it.” Read the rest of this entry »
According to Patricia Calkins, Xerox vice-president for Environment, Health and Safety, being smarter about paper use is a win for the environment and for the bottom line, so it is no surprise businesses would zero in on improving their performance in that area.
While long an “evangelist” for greener operations, Xerox is, at its core, a global document management company, which manufactures and sells a range of color and black-and-white printers, multifunction systems, digital production printing presses, and related consulting services and supplies.
And so, the question that Jeff McIntire-Strasburg asked in April still hovers: “can a company that manufactures copy machines, and sells more paper than any other single brand, really walk the talk on sustainable business practices?” Read the rest of this entry »