Contact: Leslie Anderson Maloy, Hastings Group, (703) 276-3256

Profiles

Photo of ECOBAGS CEO Sharon Rowe

Profile:  Sharon Rowe
CEO & Founder
Eco-Bags Products Inc.
800-720-2247
High-Res headshot (2464 × 2831)

ECOBAGS® Brand
Website: www.ecobags.com
Facebook: ECOBAGSdotcom
Twitter: @ecobags
Product Logo (1050×967)

 

Tell us about your business.

“Our mission is to offer responsibly produced products to get people to re-think, reduce, reuse, recycle and re-imagine the world we live in.  Our bags are responsibly produced using environmentally-preferable materials. We have product lines for retail and promotions, offering custom print and custom bag “made to order” manufacturing services.  Consumers and resellers can purchase products, see what we offer or contact us through our website at www.ecobags.com.”

What was your motivation for embracing green practices?

“Sustainability is part of our DNA.  I started Eco-Bags Products Inc.  23 years ago in New York City specifically to replace single-use plastic bags and reduce the amount of personal plastic waste I was creating.  I began to use  the classic string bags I’d seen in Europe.  People started taking notice,  asking me why I was bringing my own bags when the other ones were “free.”  Shoppers and shop owners  were curious.   I decided, with my husband, to create a business to introduce the concept of reusable bags in the USA.  The ECOBAGS® brand was born.

At that time, there were no “ban the bag” movements, and no one was talking about eco-friendly inks or responsible manufacturing.  We marked our goods with “Fair Wage and Fair Labor” for almost twenty years before the “marketplace” woke up.  We honestly had no idea that the market would embrace what we were doing to the extent that it has today, when we started. We were hopeful.

From the beginning, we’ve had a “leave no trace” approach to our product line. Our mission, “cleaning up the planet one bag at a time™” has always carefully considered the environmental consequences of our manufacturing processes and life cycle of our products.  We looked at how bags are traditionally produced (the quality of the factory, the conditions of the workers) and decided to use the most sustainable materials and socially responsible measures possible to produce our line of ECOBAGS®.”

How has the market responded to your green offerings?

“We imagined the reusable bag movement growing but we didn’t know when it would tip, or how much.  The transformation of this market has been astounding, and as recognized pioneers and thought leaders in this space, we’re definitely realizing huge benefits of the shift.

At the beginning, we were kind of “out there” relative to the mainstream consumer.  But our products made sense to people who were starting to really think about their environmental impact. Initially we focused on the natural products marketplace (even before Whole Foods) and other “conscious consumer” or LOHAS channels.

We also focused on making high-quality bags that looked great, because we knew that style counts. The more ECOBAGS® were out in the marketplace, the more people began to think about their own habits. Social cues matter too.  Being the only person on line with a reusable bag is different than being the only person without a reusable bag. 

Also, once you’re thinking about using reusable bags, you start to see plastic bags blowing all over – in the parks, trees, at the beach.  The personal shift becomes easier.

The thing about our brand is that it actually reflects a whole movement;   a movement  that has spread all over world, with consumers opting to bring their own bags and governments banning and taxing single-use plastic bags. ECOBAGS® was part of the Modbury, UK bag ban…one of the first in the world as well as the “well recognized” ban in Ireland.

Everyone is beginning to understand that  “there is no away” when you  ”throw away” a single-use bag or single-use anything  and that there are real social and financial costs to the waste that’s created.    Films like “BagIt” are reaching into communities and schools with this message.  Local and state governments are crafting legislation.

With this consciousness-raising, our company has grown and we have stayed true to our mission.  We now offer a complete retail line that is sold in the U.S. and internationally,  as well  as  a  custom  division for events,  and promotions, and our made-to-order  custom bag manufacturing  service  for  brands.  We provide retailers and organizations, from Fortune 500 companies to local schools   and everything in between.”

How has your business benefited from greening its internal operations?

“As a business, we think about the bottom-line all the time.  A benefit of our environmental focus is that we get to feel good about not creating unnecessary waste and about making the more obvious eco-choices. A few years ago there weren’t that many options as there are now and they weren’t as affordable either.

We actively internalize the “social costs” that many other companies try to externalize.  We maximize organic and recycled content—and recyclability of our entire product line, we use other green-certified businesses throughout our operations, and we package our products (only when the retailers require it) using 100 percent recyclable FSC paper and minimal waste. We also have third party certifications that meet European standards which are higher than US standards. We were recently awarded Best for the Environment by B Corporation.

Some businesses would view some of the choices we make as “costs” but to us it’s simply the way things should be done, like saying “no thank you” to Styrofoam cups or single use bags.  We share the stories about what we’re doing to be more sustainable and listen to stories from our customers. We want to create this kind of community.”

 

Warwick Fulfillment Solutions LogoProfile: Chris Mushinsky
Vice President
Warwick Fulfillment Solutions

 

Tell us about your business.

“Warwick Fulfillment Solutions is a full service end to end provider of both B2C and B2B fulfillment. Our clients select Warwick based on our depth of expertise across diverse product categories, our strategic location, which provides speed of delivery to the end consumer, a labor pool with a passion for going the extra mile each day, technology and operational solutions with flexibility to meet each clients’ unique requirements and an eye on green practices.”

What motivated you to embrace green practices?

“Warwick looks to be a good corporate citizen and includes green practices today and looks to expand these as we grow. Being green is not a once and done deal. It is an ongoing process and one for which we look to resources like EcoVentures International (EVI)  to keep ourselves abreast of new green business practice ideas.”

How has the market responded to your green offerings?

Our clients and prospects expect Warwick to provide options for things like packaging, for example, that are green. Our clients and new prospects look to Warwick to include green practices in our daily operation as Warwick is providing a service on their behalf and their customers are often demanding green practices from the company’s from whom they decide to make a purchase. Of course, the challenge is to provide green practices that do not raise the cost of our services or what the end consumer is paying.”

How has your business benefited from greening its internal operations?

We have continued to decrease our use of non-biodegradable waste like bubble wrap and Styrofoam pellets to reduce delivery costs and waste, which we market to potential green-minded clients.  EVI is also recommending additional cost savings measures, including increasing the number of light sensors, integrating computer server power management to reduce energy costs, performing a formal energy audit to determine appropriate upgrades, formalizing a light reduction and day lighting protocol, introducing an energy use awareness campaign with employees, and purchasing energy efficient office equipment.”