GreenStep is here to save the world through business, and we make a positive impact through the work we do with clients. At the same time, we also try to make sustainable choices internally. This post looks at how we approach our sustainable purchasing policy, and what it looks like in action. 

As part of GreenStep’s Sustainable Purchasing Policy, when we choose suppliers and make purchasing decisions, we look for product and service options that are: 

  • Local (Kelowna first, then BC, then Canada, then beyond)
  • Certified B Corps
  • Low carbon
  • Water, energy, and waste-conscious
  • Used or recycled
  • Non-toxic
  • Fair Trade Certified 
  • Minority, Indigenous, and/or women-owned

We love the fact that used items are basically zero carbon (since we’re saving items from the landfill, their “new” lifecycle starts when the previous owner offers an item for sale), and we avoid the need for a new product to be manufactured. When we need to buy a new computer, monitor, or piece of office furniture, we always look for used or refurbished options for these capital purchases.

While we are close to a paper-free office, sometimes we do have to print things. When we do, we use Sugar Sheets from Social Print Paper, a BC-based supplier, which is made with the residue waste of sugar cane. Business cards are from Kelowna Instaprint, a local supplier, and are made from 100% post-consumer waste recycled content. Other office supplies come from Mills, a BC-based Certified B Corp.

Our coffee comes from Kootenay Coffee Company which is Certified Fair Trade and Organic. They use a plastic bag rather than the typical laminated foil/plastic/paper which is really hard to recycle. Our loose-leaf tea comes from the local, woman-owned ChaiBaba, which also lets us bring our own container to fill. Both of these suppliers are within walking distance from GreenStep’s office. 

When we cater food we order from various places in Kelowna, but some of our favourites are the locally-owned and vegan Naked Cafe, BC-owned Cactus Club, and  Pacific Poke. Pacific Poke uses responsible sourcing and works with ChopValue to upcycle bamboo chopsticks. We often do a zero-waste picnic, where we bring our own to-go containers!

Recently GreenStep purchased branded jackets and polo shirts for the team. The jackets were purchased from Patagonia because of their long history of sustainability and climate action, and their recent decision to dedicate profit from the company to Holdfast Collective to fight climate change. The polos came from a local company BC Sportswear where we chose STORMTECH Pure Earth fabric which is made of recycled polyester and certified BCI cotton. 

Our office space is in downtown Kelowna, within walking distance to many resources, and transit. However, like many organizations, we lease our office space and don’t pay our own electricity and natural gas bills. However, we do purchase 100% low-impact renewable electricity and natural gas from Bullfrog Power, which purchases and retires Renewable Energy Certificates from wind, solar, or low-impact hydro generators, as well as renewable natural gas. Of course, we recycle (it’s a bylaw, so doesn’t really count as “being green”), and in addition to what is collected by our janitorial staff, we also recycle styrofoam, glass, batteries, and various types of plastic and foil packaging, and more. We also compost most of our organic waste onsite, in our super cool Urbalive worm farm (with local worms which were delivered by a farmer). The dirt/worm castings then go to office plants, and team members can take the extras home. 

What about GreenStep’s remote employees? We haven’t forgotten them. As part of our 2023 Carbon Action Plan, our team is working on a guideline for making home offices more sustainable. 

Of course, as a growing company that is working to scale our impact, there are times when Zoom won’t do and members of the GreenStep team have to fly. This year we started booking our travel through Melon/ Corporate Traveler to track travel-related carbon emissions all in one spot, and to help find routes with lower carbon emissions. We are also working towards becoming better at tracking the carbon reductions we help our customers make so that we can quantify how much carbon we generate for each tonne that we help our customers eliminate. Ultimately our goal is to be making a 10x net positive impact.

It can be tough to hit all eight of our sustainable purchasing criteria, but we do keep them foremost in our minds when we are making purchasing decisions. We are proud of the list of our suppliers and hope they inspire you as well.

Written by: Kristy Dyer

1 Comment

Sridhar · May 14, 2023 at 5:06 pm

Excellent report….motivational to employees and other companies towards sustainable purchasing

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