Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Interview with The Eco-Floor Store- Jared

This week, we interviewed Jared from The Eco-Floor Store.

Tell us a bit about your company?
The Eco Floor Store only sells surfaces – floors, wall coverings and countertops – that are safe for the environment and safe for use in our buildings. That means that most of our surfaces are made with recycled and/or sustainably harvested materials and that they don’t contain any toxic chemicals.

According to a recent article on, most of us spend 90% of our time indoors. Think of it: most of us work indoors, “play” indoors and then sleep indoors. That means indoor air quality has a huge impact on our health. We can build buildings with materials that can make us sick or with materials that keep us healthy.

That’s the main benefit to choosing one of our surfaces. In addition to our own research, our brands are certified by third parties, such as FloorScore®, GreenGuard and FSC, and are accepted for use in R-2000-Certified, BuiltGreen Certified and LEED Certified projects. (Read more about our Eco Commitment here.) By building with our eco-friendly brands, our clients are building healthy buildings.

To learn more about the specific products we sell, you can check out our website on our Eco Floors and Eco Surfaces pages. The most popular eco-friendly floors we sell are the Marmoleum and hardwood floors (various brands). Our top wall surfaces are the FriendlyWall, the reclaimed barn wood wall tiles and our sustainably harvested cork wall surfaces.

When was this company founded?
January 2011

Who started it?
Myself, Jared Kress.

What advice would you give to youth who are looking to go into a similar field?
Go the extra distance when it comes to quality. It’s the extra little details – usually the ones that take the most time – that make the difference between a good installation and a great installation. But it’s those details that will wow the clients.

Do you think it is important for youth to get involved in sustainable practices? Why?
Definitely. It’s important for all of us, but if we make sustainability a part of our lifestyle from an early age, then we can make an even greater impact.

Potential for internships/paid work experience at your company?
Yes, there is the opportunity for paid work experience for carpentry students or interior design students.

In a general sense, what does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability means being conscious about how our lifestyle – how each decision we make – affects our planet and our health (the two go hand in hand). Sustainability doesn’t always need to be some huge action, it’s the little things, like using less water (not watering the lawn!), turning off the lights, carpooling more often, eating less meat, that can have the biggest impact. For our family, it’s not about being perfect, but it’s about being OK with the decisions we make – and when we’re uncomfortable with one of our choices, then we make sustainability improvements to our lifestyle.

Any closing comments?
We often think of eco-friendly or sustainability as something that only affects the environment. But what affects our environment, affect us as people. That adds another layer to the definition of "green building", one that is still often overlooked. Green building isn’t just about building an energy efficient home, it’s about building a home (or other building) that’s safe for everyone, that will last for decades AND that’s energy efficient. And that means researching and selecting building materials and technologies that have a positive impact on everything – the planet and all of its occupants.

Special thanks to Jared for taking part in this interview.



Friday, July 25, 2014

Interview with Sketchbook Communications- Susana

This week, we spoke with Susana from Sketchbook Communications. This is our interview with her.

Tell us a bit about your company?
I have a company called Sketchbook Communications. We offer art and ebooks on-line at Some of the projects for reading are interactive. I am interested in working on collaborative projects with dancers, engineers, musicians, writers, film makers, business people and other artists to make books interactive.We also offer communications services to various companies.

When was this company founded?

Who started it?
Susana Roque

What advice would you give to youth who are looking to go into a similar field?
Find a good computer engineer that can help you with the website.You need to network while you are at school so you will have a a target market and places to sell your products....Without this, your aim at selling your products is a hit and miss.

Do you think it is important for youth to get involved in sustainable practices? Why?
Everyone should do at least one thing, especially if it can make a big difference. In my case, the engineer that I worked with coded a book so it could be viewed as pay-per-views. Working in a collaboration really helps. I am an artist and a writer. When you mix different fields into a project, an environmental one, the project becomes more effective and beneficial. It feels good to contribute to having a sustainable planet. Sometimes other people do not think that it is possible to make things happen, until you do it. When I starting working in my company, three of my friends also created a new business. The work you do affects people. You are teaching people by becoming environmentally responsible with what you do. Afterwards, others will follow.

Potential for internships/paid work experience at your company?
I am interested in consulting or working with computer engineers, dancers, writers, marketing specialists, film makers, musicians and writers since my creative work is becoming more interactive and collaborative.

In a general sense, what does sustainability mean to you?
You have to make sure that you leave things as you found them for yourself first and then for as many more beings as you can.

Any closing comments?
Integrate sustainability into as many aspects of your work as you can. It is a way of life.

Special thanks to Susana for taking part in this interview. 



Susana Roque's Website

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Interview with Savoury Chef Foods- Barb

This week, we talked to Barb from Savoury Chef foods.

Tell us a bit about your company?
-Savoury Chef foods, which is a high-end catering and event company
-We specialize in engineering memorable events with unparalleled service, and menus that feature the very best fresh, local and seasonal ingredients.
-We do deliveries as well but are really event specialists.
-Also do fine dining
-A lot of special events from office parties to weddings to anniversary parties

How did this company start, and what are some sustainable practices that they work on?
-Founded in 2006 by Chef Taryn Wa. She started as a personal chef and kept being asked to do parties for their clients. She eventually started this company.
-Took over Out to Lunch catering this past year.
-Out to Lunch and Savoury Chef both have vested interest in sustainability
-Some sustainability practices they took over is really good ability for bike storage. Makes it easier for staff to bike to work.
-Recycling program they have formed is community living society they have kept that up
-Food not consumed during these events are donated
-In terms of Savoury Chef, we have done great work in finding sustainable seafood, local supplies.
-It is important that all staff believe in the importance of sustainability
-Always looking to become more sustainable as we go

Is this a competitive industry?
-Industry is highly competitive
-Sustainable practices appeals to people. Helps narrow the market down. The fact that we do it in a sustainable way makes everyone happy. Good quality product as well

Advice for youth?
-Chefs table society. Kyle is one of the board members. Really great organization. One of the mandates is to help mentor young people getting into the industry.
-Do your research when looking for a company to join. Everything is available online now. Now information is more accessible and easy to find. Easier to find sustainable companies.
-Get out there and volunteer in the community. Networking and word-of-mouth. Lots of opportunity for casual work. Get involved in companies you’re interested in.

Do you think it is important for youth to get involved in sustainable practices?
-Yes, absolutely. On a personal level i have a five year old daughter and want the world to be a fantastic place for her when she gets older. It is generally youth that run the change. We are headed in the right direction. Fantastic initiatives happening right now.

Are there any openings for youth in your company?
Because there’s peaks and valleys we always encouraging people to reach out and apply because we are a growing company. Sometimes hiring, sometimes not.

What does sustainability mean to you?
-Everyone has to adopt sustainable practices into all facets of their life. From the food they eat, to even what they use to clean their homes. Everyone has to think broadly and have an open mind. And by better, i mean business have to stay profitable . Sustainability is more expensive. Need to also maintain profitability of business. Everyone has to share direction of company and be excited of the potential change that they can make on the environment, and on the world.

Thank you to Barb for being a part of this interview!





Friday, July 4, 2014

Interview with Frogbox- Mathieson

We also spoke with Mathieson from Frogbox

Tell us a bit about your company?
Frogbox is an alternative to cardboard boxes for moving. Sturdy, stackable moving boxes. Person packs them on their own, then they pick them up when done. Founded on concept of re-use. Mission is to minimize stress on earth of using cardboard boxes. All about customer service. Founded in 2008 here in Vancouver. 21 franchises and 1 corporate location (Vancouver).

There were some people doing it. Some new players regionally but really, the main competition is that people don’t know they can do it. We always consider that simple education is best marketing message. Not a moving company, just moving supplies

Advice for students?
Lots of entry level jobs. Got ways to come right into the door with little experience. All about attitude, enthusiasm, attention to detail. If you show me you care, write a cover letter that addresses that you’re a good fit, that goes a long way.

Is it important for youth to get involved in sustainability?
Definitely. Sustainable practices are important. Considering impact of transportation and products you buy. Sometimes, things you don’t do are the sustainable practices. Generally, a growing awareness for sustainability. If you are honest to your values and are willing to adapt, very important.

Internships/work experience?
Have done seasonal internships through SFU and BCIT. Mostly through marketing, digital marketing, public relations. As a small company, use all sorts of tools to grow. Don’t have internal programs around it or post positions. If people propose something, then they’ll definitely consider it.

What does sustainability mean to you?
Intermediate step. Kind of got a little wayward. Technology took over past 150 years, departed from using resources wisely. Used all the parts of a tree or an animal before then. Sustainability is an internal movement to show importance of environment. Sustainability as a word, is just a bridge to doing what we need to do. Word should faze out in 50 years. Need to build it into thinking.

Do you think sustainability and business can work together?
Yes, we’re a small part in showing that it does. It will be a slow movement. Little things in general economy that are slowing everything. People are showing that they’ll send based on values.

Closing comments?
To pursue sustainability, show a positive attitude and if it really means something to you, then pursue it. If it doesn’t, then read more about it. It can affect everybody.

Special thanks to Mathieson for the interview!




Interview with Gibsons Recycling Depot- Buddy

We recently spoke to Buddy from Gibsons Recycling Depot. This is our interview with him

Tell us a bit about your company?-
Started as Gibsons Disposal in 2001. I used to drive for Smithrite Disposal and during this time, I became concerned with throwing everything into landfills. I then started Gibsons Recycling Depot in 2003. Began to sort everything in our yard in 2003. Eventually added a store and began diverting the materials to a re-use store which opened up later We became the community recycling depot and morphed into on site processing about six years ago. We started glass aggregating about 3-4 years ago. Sell to people who make granite countertops, glass tables, etc. We have several employees that mine the waste stream before it goes to landfill.

Is there much competition?
Not really because it's labour intensive. Not going to get rich but it is connected to zero waste, sustainability and upcycling. It is about primarily managing waste, but this company is about reducing, reusing and recycling. Don’t look at anything as waste. Manage discarded waste and find new homes for them is a priority.

Do you have any advice for youth looking to go into a similar field
Start early. When i was 19,  I formed a chapter of S.T.O.P. (Society to Overcome Pollution) when i was in Montreal. Bank of Montreal started started one of the first social enterprises in Canada called the Bank of Montreal Youth Project. Bank of Montreal gave kids basic tools in 1970. Taught you to find something that you are passionate about and present it to class. I presented ideas on the environment.

Parents and grandparents aren’t gonna fix it. Up to students to get their hands dirty. I suggest that youth look at where we are living and impact on where we live based on how we treat finite resources. Previous generations have made it a challenge. Become active. Saving a planet is not a spectator sport and anyone can do it. Get active in government, resources, etc. Education is number one tool in turning this around. Think about what you want to do with your life. Easier to see something, harder to do something.

Internships/work experience?
-Hire kids out of school, mentor them on recycling and how to use machines. Inform them of how to recycle and why to recycle. Get brain wrapped around it is most important thing. Teach kids how to “raise the bar”

What does sustainability mean to you?
Look in a circular fashion. Sustainability starts with me and you. Look at where its made. Where food is made. What I can do to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Do you think corporations and companies can work together?
Absolutely. Slowly turning. Lot of the large corporations have discovered terms like zero-waste. Many of them just hire PR and marketing firms to slather greenwash. Need products that have long term value, not plastic (only using one time and throwing it out).

Any last comments?-
Take the opportunity to be bold. Nobody is coming to do this for you.

Thanks to Buddy for taking part in this interview!