Monday, April 23, 2012

MGS Oakland County Event

First... I'd like to recognize John Carlos of for a special award that we received together last week at Davenport University in Grand Rapids Michigan.  It was an honor to share the stage with John and be recognized as one of the 101 Best and Brightest Sustainable Companies in Michigan by Corp Magazine,  The Grand Rapids Press, and Davenport University.  Congratulations John.... he is the "James Brown"... the hardest working man in the green business.

We listened to Key note speaker ,  Fred Keller of Cascade Industries talk about his companies mission and goals of being a designated B Corporation which adds a level of commitment on the organizations part to reach their business goals while being a good steward of the earth, community and company at the same time or Triple Bottom line standards.  This is significant in that they are not only working toward profitability for the company... but doing so in ways that go far beyond effecting the bottom line.  Fred talked about the efforts his company puts forth to use recycled content in the products they create and demand the same from their supplier base.  He talked about innovative programs that went beyond the bottom line and into effecting social causes like unemployment, underemployment and event prisoner release to work programs.

I am honored to be here with you all today to celebrate in your achievements and to be recognized for your efforts within your schools to meet the Michigan Green Schools Standards of achievement this year in 2012.  

 It is with the B corp model in mind that I created  just over a year ago in April 2010.  Last year we engaged in an effort to raise awareness, educate and raise funds for Michigan Green Schools of Oakland County.  We did so through the promotion of a simple tool...small yet significant... that many of you purchased for use in your home.... a simple old idea made new again that we learned from our grand parents in their garden years ago... composting.  This compost bucket is simply a new twist on an old idea.  Focusing our efforts on sorting biodegradable and compostable materials out of the regular waste stream and back into our own gardens.  This bucket contains a special corn starch based liner that allows for simple, no smell, no mess under the kitchen counter composting.  The bag and its contents can go right into your yard composting barrel or in my case right into the compost pile... contents and bag right back into the earth.   Last year we were able to provide Debbie Dunn with a check for $200.00 from the proceeds of the sale of those buckets to help offset her costs for last years program and to show our capabilities as an organization committed to education, awareness, and advocacy of "green shifts" in the course of daily living.

This year.... we decided to back to the original fund raising concept of an Eco Tee Shirt.  After working through the politics of use of the logo... why does that always come up?  We were able to gain approval to move forward with the project.   With Debby's support the word of the partnership made it out to the MGS schools in Oakland County.  This year we had 10 school districts engage with us on the first wave of Eco Tees that are here today for delivery.

But... there is more to the story.  The first shirt we selected... we found upon going to place the order... wasn't going to be available until May.  Well... that just wasn't going to work well for us since we wanted the shirts ready for today's event and other events in Macomb, Washtenaw, Huron, and Wayne Counties that were planned in April.  Interest in the project was gaining support in other counties... but the request was clear....  they were interested in a shirt not only that met our eco standards of being organic cotton and eco friendly imprint... but also made in the USA.  That is a pretty important issue today AND believe me when I tell you I was raised in a GM family with a  buy American... buy local attitude at an early age.

And so... we found the perfect match in the Royal avocado Eco Tee.  Our promise on this partnership is simple... we do the labor of creating and implementing the project.  We cover our overhead costs and costs of production, imprinting, AND then share in the proceeds with our partners. in this project 25% of the proceeds go to the partnering schools AND 25% of the proceeds go the the MGS at the administrative level.

Today I am happy to present Debby Dunn with a check for $150 to make good on the promise of that partnership.   Thank you Debby for your support and continued partnership on this project.  Checks will be mailed out to the partnering schools at the end of the month.

FYI....  we are accepting orders for the next wave that will conclude at the end of this month.    See us at our display in the lobby for more details on your way out today.

Last thing... Rochester High School... You Rock... You were by far the biggest supporter on this project with 39 tees ordered for your group alone.  Thanks for your support!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Michigan Green Schools Events 2012

Most people get excited about certain days on the calendar mostly because there is something in it for them so to speak.  Children love Christmas... for obvious reasons.... and get excited about birthdays and really that goes without saying.  ME?  I am not so big on these for my own personal reasons.   I think Christmas has lost focus on the true reason and has become a retail bonanza AND personally I believe that the mother who birthed the child should get the cards, cake, and presents... I am the father of 4 and witnessed each of the blessed birthing events... MOM's deserve gifts!

So... it will come as no surprise that I will tell you that on the eve of Earth Day... I am excited and patiently waiting to celebrate the gifts that the earth is springing forth to us.   As I write this blog I can catch a scent of the beautiful flowers my wife has harvested and placed in a vase in our family room.  In spite of allergies...the perfume scent is intoxicating.  The birds have returned and are singing in their finest tune... Twitter... move over for the real deal!

Each year for the past couple now I have selected a song to post on Earth Day that I find meaningful to the continued need to bring focus to the natural gifts provided to us in this world... that for 354 days of the year many just take for granted.   So this year.... I have selected a song from my youth...  all the really good songs have already been written... right?  And... to that point the ultimate statement to that is when a young and upcoming star finds it necessary to rip off the success of the past and create a "re-do" of the glories of the past.  I find this somewhat disturbing... since most of the youth today have not idea that this musical "borrowing" from the past has actually taken place.

This year.... I want to share a blast from the past from non other than....

Yes... Joni Mitchell... Big Yellow Taxi... which I have always known as "Pave paradise, put up a parking lot...".  The words ring true now today more than ever.... in light of the ever expanding desire to develop and expand into natural places.... deforestation and abandonment of used up urban spaces in the name of creating new places in the ever cheaper ring of suburbs.  One upside of a terrible down economy of the past 5 years in Michigan has been the abrupt pause of this expansion... which gives us time to pause and reconsider how we will proceed in the next expansion.   Will we go back into those places we have abandoned to "reuse, recycle, and reduce" OR will will continue to live in the bigger, better, more mentality of the past decade?  

This year has been blessed with the gift of opportunity in the partnership with the Michigan Green Schools program AND the creation of the MGS Eco Tee.  This iconic tee shirt is made of 100% organic cotton and uses a special non toxic imprinting technique to create a truly ecological tee shirt.  This only makes sense since it has been produced by our sister company known as The Ecological Tee Shirt Company.

The real story behind the story on this project has to do with the original selected organic cotton tee.  We selected the tee back in January and our supplier had shown it on their web site as available.... until we went to place the first wave of orders.    The explanation we got was that the tee was unavailable until May... which is a full month until after our project was set to go... and so we started on a search for an alternative.

Many of the would be partners said... "We like the idea... but frankly we want to know where the tee was made... would really would prefer a tee made in the USA" .  Now... as a relative new comer in the clothing market....I have found that the majority of clothing products are not made here and all you have to do is look through your closet to find out where they are being made.  Pretty much.... anywhere in the world... but here in the USA... right?

Enter... Royal Apparel... Let me give you the highlights below...

So... without saying too much... which I usually do....  I will leave you with this link to and the partnership with Michigan Green Schools.  We are providing 25% of the proceeds of this partnership to the schools who engage in ordering with us AND and additional 25% to the MGS at the administrative level.   Last year we partnered with Oakland County and promoted the compost bucket and corn starch liner. 

 We were able to provide a check to the Oakland County MGS program for $250 to help them offset their costs for their program.   This year with the encouragement from the Oakland County Coordinator Debby Dunn... we reached out to the leadership of the Michigan Green Schools program and proposed the concept for the expansion throughout the State of Michigan.  With presistance, patience and the spirit of co-operation....  we received a nod of approval and the program spread to Macomb, Wayne, and Washtenaw Counties.  Later... it has made it's way to all the coordinators throughout the State of Michigan.  

This year's program is really giving us leg's AND allowing us a forum to showcase our capabilities.  The real traction so far has been right here in Oakland County AND on Tuesday this coming week I will proudly provide a check to Debby Dunn for the over 250 Eco Tees we have sold so far in over 20 Oakland County Schools.  Each partnering school will receive a check for their participation in the project... and we will have fulfilled our promise.  It all comes full circle now back to the "small, yet significant" changes we can do to make a difference....  ;) 

Last thing.... Thank you to those who nominated for the 101 Best and Brightest Sustainable Companies in Michigan Award.  We were honored to take the stage with some of Michigans Very Best and Brightest... Herman Miller, Steelcase Furniture, The Grand Travese Resort... just to name a few.  Please see the full list in this article link below: 


The gift that keeps on giving... Flowers by my wife Lisa... they come up every year and each year it is a wonderful surprise and gift!