Kia ora eco legends and thank you for being here, it means that you care as much as we do. Here is where you will find more info about our impact, where and how our products are made and all the other good stuff we do as a social enterprise.
We are a certified Social Enterprise
CaliWoods is woman-led, NZ owned and exists to reduce waste and inspire people to live more sustainably. Social enterprise means that we are a for-impact business that operates to make a profit - you can think of this as a middle ground between a charity and a traditional business. We are certified in Aotearoa by Ākina and BCORP.
Our impact looks a little bit like this...
Our impact is directly linked to our products. They reduce waste by replacing single use and less sustainable alternatives. Our sustainability education is the other area of impact where we focus on inspiring change on the individual, business and governmental policy level.
We aren’t perfect but are genuinely doing our best to create positive change in the sustainability space. We pay a living wage and have this page up so you know exactly what we get up to and what you are supporting. More on this further down...
We donate 1% of our revenue to local environmental causes
By the end of each financial year 1% of CaliWoods revenue has been donated to environmental causes. Today, only 3% of total philanthropy goes toward environmental giving.
When we first saw 1% for the Planet (before owning a business) we thought "Wait, what, that's hardly anything - surely a business can donate more than that!". When you actually run a business, you realise that 1% of Revenue (not profit) can be quite a bit. Out of the revenue you need to take out all your expenses - so rent, staff, cost of product etc.
We give our 1% to local conservation efforts in Aotearoa - mainly those that are ocean-related. Not all are registered charities because there are some epic groups doing rad things that aren't registered. In the last year we have donated to the following groups:
Save The Children Yemen Appeal
We dedicate 80 hours a month to environmental impact work
To do all this work takes a lot of woman-hours behind the scenes! We carefully plan out our communications and campaigns months in advance so that we are effectively spreading awareness into the mainstream cohort. Our end goal is to engage over 100,000 kiwis each year with information that inspires positive change.
One of the ways we use our profit for purpose is through sustainability education. We share practical tips on how to reduce our impact as individuals as well as political engagement opportunities. We send out this educational information via weekly e-newsletters, blogs, weekly stories,weekly posts and published articles.
Other work we do as a social enterprise includes various documentary screenings, presentations at environmental events and political action for systemic/top down change.
Inspiring sustainable lifestyles and change through education
Inspiring people to live sustainably and do their best is a big focus of our messaging. We understand that living low waste is a very important change that consumers will all eventually have to make for the sake of the planet, so we are here to make that journey a little bit easier. Providing educational content about climate change and waste is very important to us but we also are aware that too much confronting information can be overwhelming. This is why we couple our educational content with practical tips and tricks for low waste living and political action to encourage sustainable change across New Zealand across all sectors.
Based on a customer survey we sent out in 2020, 87% of customers or people engaging with us learned at least one new thing about sustainability. We aim to increase this by 1% per year. Setting specific and transparent goals about sustainability education and reach keeps us on track and grounded to our purpose.
We take political action for the environment
In 2020 we wrote an open letter to the government along with some environmental experts as The Sustainable Reset Collective. The open letter gained over 330 business signatories and the supporting petition on Action Station gained 3,000 signatures. Billions of dollars, borrowed from future generations, is being spent through the COVID19 stimulus - and we figured this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in the regeneration Papatūānuku/Mother Earth desperately needs.
so we wrote to ask that this money be spent with our climate agreements and targets in mind, not used to bail out big polluters. A few months after sending in the open letter, the Sustainable Reset Collective were invited to speak to the Finance and Expenditure Committee to expand on the open letter and speak straight to members of parliament. Follow the link above to watch a live stream of the video oral submission.
We made a submission to the Climate Change Commission regarding their Draft Advice for the government. Their advice will greatly sway what the next three budgets look like and recommended actions to take to reach net-zero by 2050, so it’s a pretty big deal. Here is where we owe a huge thank you to the various climate action groups that came together and made a submission guide to make it easier for people to break down the process and write in. We shared about submission guides and wrote in our advice as a businesses too.
Plastics Ban Petition - There have been a number of petitions and campaigns to ban plastic items & single use items which we always jump on board for and share about online. The biggest of all being the government's plastic item proposal which was open for public feedback. We shared submission guides online and also sent in our thoughts as a businesses
We actively work with various environmentalists and engage in political action wherever possible. One of the most powerful environmental actions we can all take is using our voice.
We have Carbon Zero & Carbon Negative Goals
We monitor our carbon and set goals around our carbon footprint as a business. Our emissions as a business are already pretty low because our team works almost exclusively from home. Although we are a virtual team, we still have employee stewardship policies. This is about encouraging the whole CaliCrew to dispose of any work related waste sustainably (like E-waste), to work from home to reduce transport emissions and put into place other environmental practices at home.
Plastic production is very carbon intensive which is why we are an almost entirely plastic free store and have a plastic free shipping policy, which you can read more about by following the link. We will only post your eco goods in cardboard that can be kurbside recycled because we believe that businesses should care about their impact and ‘closing the loop’ even with packaging.
Partnering with CarbonClick means that we give consumers the opportunity to also contribute to reducing our collective carbon impact from freight and production of our eco foods.
Calculating our carbon emissions, most of which are from freight, is one of our goals set for 2021. We will keep you posted!
Product Stewardship and Customer feedback is key in our design process.
You might be wondering what product stewardship is? It basically means that we take care to make our products be high quality, last a long time and be easy to dispose of responsibly at the end of their life. Even though it seems counter intuitive for a business, we would much rather have one eco item last 10 years instead of 1 or 2.
Another example of this is selling product parts so that less is ‘consumed’ if something breaks. A few examples being that we sell razor replacement parts, blade recycling return program, reusable tumbler lids separately to the tumblers. This means that consumers not only have choice about what they are getting, but that everything will be used and given a long life. This also means that consumers do not have to buy an entire new item (like a whole new razor) if just one part of the eco item does break.
We want to divert 2 million pieces of single use plastic from being used or thrown away.
The way we calculate this is by recording how many reusable items we sell and then multiplying that number by how many disposable items will likely be saved. We keep this number generously safe (e.g. we assume that each tumbler will save 10 disposable cups even though it may be a lot more) and even with that, we are still well on track. When you hear us drum on about how ‘every little action adds up’ we really mean it because we see and calculate it everyday.
We want to reach over 100,000 kiwis with inspiring eco tips
Practical eco tips and small changes also add up to have a huge impact so this goal is pretty important to us. We record the reach on our educational media posts across various mediums of communication and add it all up. We are on track to meet this goal too.
Have any other questions about our impact work?