Environmental and Ethical concerns at the heart of Roger la Borde’s manufacturing process
Roger la Borde has a long association with environmental causes dating all the way back to Jane Ray's Rain-forest Range in the 1980's, which raised funds for Green Peace and Friends of the Earth, so we've always paid attention to the environment and ethical concerns when sourcing and manufacturing.
At the Roger la Borde offices in North West London, we think a more committed bunch of re-users and recyclers would be hard to find. Padded envelopes are saved, used bubble-wrap is stored, old printouts are stacked below our printer for re-use, and we regularly street-salvage boxes for our packaging. Food waste from our legendary office-lunches is composted and each week our non-recyclable waste barely fills a bag.
In terms of our manufacturing, the wide acceptance that human actions are causing global warming has made environmental responsibility even more pressing. We are currently reviewing all our products, and placing environmental and ethical concerns at the heart of our production process.
This doesn't mean that we view our production process as in anyway perfect in this regard, but we are on a dedicated course, reviewing our processes and trying to improve them wherever we can.
When we say environmental and social concerns are at the heart of our production process, what we mean is that the first questions we ask when sourcing a product or finding a new manufacturer are:
Can we use recycled or renewable source material in this product, and does the manufacturer comply with the appropriate international standards in terms of the conditions for and treatment of its workforce?
Changes for the better
Technological advances have given us a lot more options for packaging and manufacturing with reduced environmental impact and recently we’ve been able to incorporate significant improvements:
We’ve been able to change our inks to 100% vegetable based for most of our product.
We are currently looking at ways to reduce the environmental impact of the cello bags our cards are packaged in, including biodegradable options, recyclable logos and doing without where possible.
The Forestry Steward Council (FSC) trademark now appears on the backs of almost all our cards and gift wrap indicating that the paper used in their production meets very stringent environmental standards in terms of sourcing and monitoring.
Just so you know we insist on certification that a source is renewable or recycled for all our cards, product and gift wrap, but the FSC accreditation requires a lot more than just a certified source.
You can look at the FSC website if you want more information about how it certifies papers are from trustworthy sources: http://www.fsc-uk.org/. The main thing you need to know about it is that it requires an audit trail from forest to printing press to ensure that paper is from well managed forests and is not contaminated with board from any other sources.
The social dimension
If you look on the FSC website you will see that FSC certification also takes into account a certain measure of social issues as well in its assessment of all aspects of the supply chain, but we've also been making changes to our sourcing procedures in this area.
Since 2008 we have insisted that all our overseas manufacturers supply audits demonstrating that they comply with international standards on child labour, treatment of workers, health & safety, and working conditions, at least to the ethical auditing requirements of SEDEX, ICTI or SA8000.
We hope that goes some way to demonstrating the extent to which social and environmental concerns are integral to Roger la Borde's manufacturing and sourcing procedures. We feel we've made significant strides in recent years and are committed to a continuous process of assessment and improvement going forward.