GOOD ON YA – News on Companies Doing Good Stuff

Merge Cafe’s Socks for Souls Initiative

Amongst all the quirk and flare of Auckland’s Karangahape Road, is Merge Cafe, a cafe with a mission to support those in need. Operated by the not-for-profit charity, Lifewise, they have created a unique space to bring together “those who are hungry and those who hunger to make a difference”.

Here’s a place you can have your caffeine fix, while doing good at the same time.

Recently, Lifewise Merge Cafe has launched  the Socks for Souls initiative, with support from the New Zealand menswear store, Barkers.

From the 27th of September- October 13th with every 3 coffees purchased at Lifewise Merge with the coffee card, they will donate a pair of Barker’s socks to a person in need.

For more information about Socks for Souls, checkout the Facebook event 

Prior to Merge Cafe, the establishment was a well-known soup kitchen, serving over 40,000 meals a year to Auckland’s homeless people since 1885.

In 2010, Lifewise made the decision to shut the soups kitchen doors and try out a new approach. Merge cafe opened in its place, an innovative approach seeking to solve the problem rather than nurturing it.

There are a number of ways you can help, from the Socks for Soul initiate, and various pay it forward meal scheme.

Merge Cafe hopes to break the barriers of marginalisation, connecting and welcoming people of all backgrounds, regardless of their social or economic status.

Here at Ecomailbox, we love hearing about the contributions businesses are doing for the community.  ‘Good on Ya ‘ Lifewise Merge Cafe for your efforts in helping those in need.  Visit their website  Lifewise Merge Cafe for more info and ways you can support! 

 

Repurposing Paper Waste into Good-looking Notebooks

 

Pictured left to right: Jenny Buckler and Kareena Harris

The Misprint Co. have your guilt-free solution to putting perfectly good paper into recycling bins. Established in 2014, Misprint Co. is a business repurposing paper waste into functional and trendy looking notebooks. Founders, Jenny and Kareena, turned their passion for design and love for stationery into a forward thinking solution. The business runs as a collaborative effort through the input of non-confidential paper waste donations from Wellington offices and schools. The paper is then repurposed into uniquely designed notebooks to be purchased back or for retail distribution. Here at Ecomailbox, we love the innovative sustainability concept of The Misprint Co. and the encouragement it brings to businesses and schools to get involved.

We had the pleasure of chatting to Jenny from The Misprint Co.

What is the story behind Misprint Co.? Tell us about how the business began and the innovative concept behind repurposing paper into notebooks.

The idea originally started out as part of a University project. We had to find a problem and come up with a business and design solution to solve it. As Designers by trade we often used and wasted a lot of paper. Most of this paper was basically blank. Doing further research into the paper industry, how it’s made and the process of making paper we found out that the water footprint of a single A4 sheet of paper uses 10 litres of water to make it. When we found this out we thought we had to do something about this! So we started repurposing this waste paper into notebooks and stationery.

By repurposing paper before recycling we are extending the papers lifecycle, therefore reducing the amount of water, chemicals and emissions otherwise used in the recycling process.

We created two services Ecoloop and Offset targeted towards businesses and schools to help them repurpose their waste paper into stationery. Our services are easy to use and have many benefits. We keep track of how much paper each organisation repurposes and how much water they have saved. These stats can be used in annual reports and add to their environmental bottom line.

 

What key messages do you want to communicate from the repurposing paper initiative?
We have a few key messages we’re trying to communicate, first is how easy it is to engage in a sustainable practice. We use our notebooks as a vehicle for behaviour change, by repurposing businesses own paper into notebooks we’re educating people about the benefits of adding value to an otherwise waste product. Another key message of ours is focused on saving water. Water is becoming an increasing global issue. We aim to educate people to be aware of how their resources are made and what they can do to help save water and reduce waste simply by using our services.

 

How are “Ecoloopers” incorporating their repurposed notebooks into their businesses or schools?

When we create Ecoloop notebooks they are most often used as in-house stationery for the business. However, quite a few also use our notebooks as corporate gifts and promotional material. By allowing organisations to customise their notebooks either with a design or their logo allows them to personalise our product to promote themselves. We often include in the notebook how much water and paper each organisation has saved by repurposing their paper. Our Ecoloopers have told us they enjoy seeing their work turned into something else. When they receive their notebooks back they often rummage through to find the notebook featuring their own work.

What has been the most rewarding part about working for Misprint Co.?

For both of us it has been hugely rewarding seeing how much we have learned and achieved in two years of business. Creating a social enterprise businesses in particular from the ground up is very exciting and rewarding to be a part of.

How would you like to see Misprint Co. grow in the future?

We’d like to see Misprint grow into a franchise with multiple Misprint Hubs around New Zealand and overseas. Our next step is to tackle the Auckland Market and replicate what we have created in Wellington. We’ll be on the look for a dedicated sales person who is passionate about Misprint and social enterprise to work for us and help us on our journey to grow Misprint.
 

What are your favourite Wellington cafe spots?

Oh my gosh, so many! Our regular haunt is Egmont St Eatery, it’s right around the corner from our office. They have great coffee and in particular cheese scones. Sixes and Sevens is also great for a delicious lunch – their cabinet food it off the chain! To be honest we’re spoilt for choice where we are based, we certainly lucked out when finding our office space.

Thanks Misprint we love what you do! Good On Ya

Are you a Wellington based business with non-confidential paper waste? Head to The Misprint Co. website for more information on how your can sign up as an ecolooper or offsetter.

-Sammy Ritchie

Introducing NZ Store Tummah Ethical Trade #Fairtradefortnight

We’re pleased to kick off Fairtrade Fortnight by introducing you to one of NZ’s online clothing stores at the forefront of doing good business. Tummah Ethical Trade is an online clothing website that operates within the values of honesty, decency and fairness.

In their own words, integrity acts as an anchor for the business. In fact, the unique name “Tummah”, translates as the Biblical Hebrew word for integrity. The website stocks products that have been certified both Fairtrade and Organic; allowing shoppers to browse easily, online and guilt-free. Categories listed on the website include Accessories, Men’s Clothing, Women’s Clothing and even sports equipment.

Here at Ecomailbox, we understand that living in the 21st century, being conscious about shopping decisions isn’t always easy. However, Tummah Ethical Trade is making this possible. We commend this business, not only for working with sincerity but for their wholehearted effort to provide New Zealanders with an opportunity to shop with sincerity. Ecomailbox had the pleasure of talking with Founder, Caleb Morris, about how and why Tummah Ethical Trade does what they do.

How did Tummah Ethical Trade begin – how did this business get started? 

We began a personal journey ourselves of discovering what values and ethics we wanted to support with items we purchased. Initially, friends introduced us to the idea and benefits of choosing organic foods. From there, we went deeper and when the time came to purchase clothing again, we decided that we wanted to choose Fairtrade clothing. Buying items are so much more than merely consuming. When it came to trying to source these Fairtrade clothing options, we found it difficult in New Zealand. There was no Fairtrade underwear available, and the clothing options were more in the designer line and hence, fairly expensive. Everyday affordable ethical options did not really exist, so we decided to do something about it, and make Fairtrade clothing more accessible to the ever-increasing movement of those conscious consumers.

Here at Ecomailbox, we have so much respect for businesses that do good. What was the motivation behind stocking fair-trade and organic clothing?

When there is a choice between conventional fashion and Fairtrade certified fashion, then the decision is a no brainer. Fairtrade is about more than just a fair price. It’s about ensuring the livelihood of farmers and factory workers in the manufacturing process; whilst also supporting the communities they are a part of. The motivation isn’t about making ourselves appear morally superior, it’s more than the other option simply isn’t okay. Effectively with conventional fashion, we are saying as consumers that we are okay for farmers to be exposed to harsh chemical or workers to face horrendous working conditions, just so we can get a shirt for a few dollars less.

Our motivation for choosing Fairtrade and organic is simply – because it is better for the farmer, the manufacturer, and the consumer who wears the product. Simply put, it’s better for everyone!

What are the key messages you would like potential shoppers to understand about Tummah Ethical Trade?

We exist to make Fairtrade organic clothing more accessible and affordable for all New Zealanders. Consumers need to understand that our products are never going to be cheap as some places, that’s simply not possible. Those clothes are so cheap because of one glaring reason. Although we aren’t a not-for-profit business, our margins are low. Tummah Ethical Trade is a labour of love, not the next big money-making enterprise.

What challenges having you faced whilst working for Tummah Ethical Trade?

Firstly, this business is completely funded out of our own pockets, and we are just your average everyday young couple. As mentioned above, it has been a labour of love to get this off the ground. However, once we had the dream for this we just had to do it, there was no turning back.

One thing we have struggled a bit with is getting our name out there. Further, trying to get people on board with the Fairtrade movement has not been easy, as a lot of people shop solely on price and will not actually investigate what the Fairtrade difference even is. In saying that, everyone we’ve worked with has responded positively and been very supportive of what we are doing.

Finally, we are targeting ‘conscious consumers’. Consumers who think about their purchases, and do not buy willy-nilly all the time. Therefore, a loyal customer for us may only purchase something every few months, instead of every couple of weeks as at other fashion stores.

What are some goals for the future of Tummah Ethical Trade?

We would love to be able to bring in new brands to offer a more comprehensive range to consumers. Included in this would be the introduction of children’s clothing, which should be starting very soon. However, we, unfortunately, do not have the equity at the moment to really expand our range. Another dream would be to have a brick and mortar store! This would be a fantastic opportunity to introduce and educate more people about Fairtrade, through foot traffic of everyday shoppers. Ultimately, we want to introduce more people to the benefits of ethical clothing, and begin a change in the New Zealand market. To ensure that products stocked in New Zealand are made by workers who are making a decent living.

What’s the one piece of advice you would hope for readers to take away from this article?

Don’t be discouraged or feel guilty if it takes a time to get started. Yes, it can seem like it will cost a lot to switch to ethical clothing, but if you are choosing a wardrobe more consciously, then the cost will even out. When you treat clothing as an investment rather than a consumable – and actually get the full life out of the products – then the quality of Fairtrade organic clothing will begin to shine through over time. Also, you get the health benefits of organic clothing, as you are no longer exposed to the harsh chemicals that remain in the fabric of conventional clothing. Even trying to buy less from fast fashion stores so they aren’t getting your money and therefore your vote is a great step in the right direction.

“It’s about starting to ask questions before you purchase: do I know who made this, how they were treated, how long it will last, and whether I will actually wear it a lot?”

Good On Ya, Tummah Ethical Trade! ☺ Shop their beautiful range here