This month, the crowdfunding organization, Start Something Good, challenged the public to think about, “What change will you create [in 2016]?”

We decided to take this challenge personally and determine what we could do, as a company, to do more, “good”. However, instead of trying to “do good” solo, we decided to work as part of a larger team and support suppliers who are effecting positive change. What we’ve learned is that you can always do good. Sometimes, you’re the pioneer, other times,you’re the voice for those who are already actualizing good.

It All Starts With Paper

When we started Non-Scents, we knew that we wanted goodness to be a part of the company’s core. Still, we kept failing at incorporating it from the ground up. We finally had to take a step back and ask ourselves, “Are we the best people for this job?”. Part of being a successful entrepreneur is knowing your strengths and weaknesses. Our conclusion; we were not the right people for the job.Thankfully, our team found three organizations who were perfect for it, and it all starts with the paper.

Bonoful Handmade Paper

Women at workspace for Prokritee

Bonoful Handmade Paper, a sub-section of Prokritee, is the supplier of our marbled papers. Founded in 1995, they are also a member of the World Fair Trade Organization. Bonoful is located in the Dharagram village of the Mymesingh district of Bangladesh with a mission to,

Bonoful Map Location in Bangladesh

Develop the social and economic capacity of poor, rural, disadvantaged women in Bangladesh by creating productive employment opportunities and sustainable linkages to world markets.

The organization employs 49 regular employees and seven seasonal workers. According to Annika Buxman, many of these women are the main income earners for their households. At Bonoful, they teach necessary job-skills from the ground-up, are dedicated to preserving the environment, and benefiting the people. If you’ve ever received a bouquet from us, you may have noticed the uniqe texture of the paper. Bonoful uses natural and locally sourced materials described by them as, “indigenous, recycled, bio-degradable, and natural”. Exact materials include: hemp, wheat-straw, pineapple leaves, coconut fibers, recycled paper, and cotton waste from a prevalent local textile industry.

Mr. Ellie Pooh Paper

Process of making Ellie Pooh Paper

Mr. Ellie Pooh is another paper manufacturer, working out of Sri Lanka, with a rather unique goal in mind. Karl and Thusitha, the company’s founders, explain;Ellie Pooh Paper Card

It is our hope that this project will raise the tolerance of farmers toward elephants. As the elephant is seen more as an asset and less of a threat, villagers will not want to see these noble creatures disappear. In the final analysis, all our conservation efforts will be futile if we do not have the support of local communities.

When they say that their papers are 100% recycledm they mean it!

Karl and Thusitha believe that providing sustainable paper-making and artisan jobs making paper will give value to saving elephants. Their paper is composed of 30% fiber from elephant dung, and 70% post-consumer paper.

“It is based on making as much natural paper as we can. The more paper we sell, the more jobs we create. These jobs are essential if our conservation program is going to work.” — Dr. Karl Wald, Mr. Ellie Pooh

Asian Elephants in Sri Lanka

Why elephant dung? Sri Lanka has approximately one tenth of the world’s Asian Elephant population. Of this population, thousands are being killed for their tusks, meat, hides, and to simply remove a nuissiance for local farmers. By using elephant dung to create a product, Mr. Ellie Pooh papers are redefining the elephant’s role in society and how the Sri Lanka people view them; instead of ruining crops and costing money, the elephants are now benefiting the people. The company has partnered with the Wildlife Alliance, an organization with the mission of, “Protecting endangered and trafficked wildlife and their habitat”. Since the Wildlife Alliance was founded in 2001, they have saved over 60,000 animals and two-million acres of wildlife habitat.

 

Giftsland Paper

Giftsland Earthquake Relief Efforts in Nepal

Our final source of paper comes from Nepal and a company called, Giftsland. They make the finer, eco-friendly, papers we work with, using only the bark of the Lokta plant, and water, to create the paper itself. The company, Giftsland Enterprises, began in Nepal, in 1978 as an exporter of Nepalese handicrafts, including their handmade Lokta papers. In addition to their support of high labor and environmental standards, they also provide earthquake relief through job opportunities for women in affected areas.

Thanks Goes to Our Network

Marbled Paper by Sustain and Heal

Our paper suppliers are inspiring, but we wouldn’t have met them without the help of our network. Sustain and Heal is our source to many of our paper suppliers. It is because of this company, and the National Stationery Show, that we were introduced to many of these amazing global companies. We also attribute our development as a socially conscious company to the people who taught us what, “social enterprise”, is, and that it is possible to have a for-profit company with a social foundation.

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