Beginning with the basics
We care about doing things the right way. We care about making a difference in every way we can. We believe this starts with the “small” things: Keeping our packaging simple and plastic-free. Recycling paper and cardboard in our offices. Turning off computers and lights whenever we can. We know we won't get everything right in the beginning, but we promise to keep getting better at it.
Partnering with an established bindery here in Australia
In choosing a production partner, we spoke to many printers in both Sydney and Melbourne. Most of them suggested that we take our job offshore, because that would be the most "cost-effective" option. Indeed, all the mainstream research that we encountered supported this approach. So we listened with our heads and contacted printers in China. There was one, in particular, that seemed promising. Print samples were delivered quickly to us, and quotes were promptly provided. But when we started requesting information about their facilities, their staffing conditions, and their OH&S policies, we were told—quite simply—"Sorry." We could hardly believe it. We knew, of course, that we could continue our research until we tracked down an offshore printer who could give us the answers we wanted. But that reply had sparked something within us, so we started listening with our hearts instead.
We started to think beyond the profit margin. We started contemplating the true cost of making something beautiful in an ethical and responsible manner. We started speaking with binderies here in Australia—places that were equipped to make casebound journals in-house. There were surprisingly few that could handle both printing and binding without having to outsource either of the two. Eventually, our research led us to Whites Law, and within two months, a partnership was born.
Yes, producing our journals offshore would have been five times more cost-effective from a purely monetary perspective. All the mainstream printers—and all the online articles we read—were right about that. But taking this less conventional route means that our journals are individually handcrafted in small batches, rather than mass-produced by machines. We are better placed to ensure the quality of our product (as opposed to relying on a photo snapped by a third party). We get to support a family-owned business here in Australia, which means we get to support Australian jobs. We have been able to visit the workshop and witness the production of our journals with our own eyes. We have been able to meet the staff and speak with them in person. And as a result of that, we have learnt first hand how many of them have been with the bindery for more than ten years—some for more than thirty.
And now that we have started down this road, we know with our hearts and our minds that this was the right path to take.
Choosing paper that comes from certified responsible forests
The fine art paper that we use in our journals is manufactured by Gruppo Cordenons, and it is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®)—an organisation that works to promote the practice of sustainable forestry worldwide. FSC® sets standards for forest products, independently certifies that these standards have been met, and bestows labels upon the products that qualify. In other words, FSC® certification means that our paper has been sourced in an environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and economically viable manner. You can read more about Gruppo Cordenons' commitment to its responsible forest management in their 2016 Environmental Report here, and you can find out more about the FSC® and its certification requirements here.
Sourcing our materials from accredited manufacturing plants
In choosing the paper and the buckram for our journals, we carried out as much research as we could to find out where they were manufactured and whether the manufacturers were responsible and sustainable in the way that they conducted their businesses. We were satisfied on both counts, and we were particularly pleased to find that both manufacturers had well-documented environmental policies in place.
As we've mentioned already, our paper manufacturer is Gruppo Cordenons—an Italian paper mill that supplies fine and technical papers, offering over 2,500 specialty products to the global market. The company has 272 employees and has two mills: one in Cordenons and one in Scurelle. We initiated contact with them through Facebook, and they have been extremely helpful and accommodating in providing us with any information that we require. Our paper is made at their paper mill in the small village of Cordenons, Italy, which is certified to IS09001, ISO14001, and ISO18001. In other words, Cordenons' Quality Management System (QMS), Environmental Management System (EMS), and Occupational Health & Safety System (OHSAS) all meet standards that are globally recognised. In addition, all of Gruppo Cordenons' products are elemental chlorine free, total chlorine free, acid free, pH neutral, and heavy metal free. You can read the 2016 Environmental Report in its entirety here.
Our buckram is manufactured by FiberMark Red Bridge International Limited (otherwise known as FiberMark), whose mission is to be the worldwide coverings supplier of choice for customers. The company was founded in 1927 as the "Red Bridge Bookcloth Company." Our buckram is produced at their Red Bridge plant in Bolton, UK, near Manchester. Like the mill at Cordenons, Red Bridge is certified to ISO9001, ISO14001, and ISO18001. Furthermore, FiberMark's products and processes are elemental and process chlorine free, lead free, phthalate free, heavy metal free, pH neutral, non-toxic, and free of ozone-depleting chemicals. You can read more about FiberMark's environmental achievements here.
Using recycled or recyclable materials
We believe in the importance of using recycled or recyclable materials in our business wherever we can. And we are committed to putting this into practice: The fine art paper used in our journals is fully recyclable. The gift box that we use to package your journal is made up of 100% pre-consumer waste products. The product information card and the gift tag that come with the journal are both printed on FSC® certified, carbon-neutral paper stock that is fully recyclable. The mailers that we use to ship our journals are made from 100% recyclable PEFC® accredited kraft material. And there is absolutely no plastic in our packaging. None.
Reducing waste in what we do
Reducing waste is at the heart of our brand and our business.
By adopting a made-to-order production model, we prevent any inventory from going to waste.
By thinking hard about our packaging and by keeping it as simple as possible, there is basically nothing to throw out: the unbranded gift box can be repurposed as a memory or photo box, the product-information card doubles as an art print, and the gift tag itself can be used as a bookmark for the journal. The only thing left to discard is the mailer, which is fully recyclable.
But perhaps most importantly of all, our journals are made to last. They are not made for landfill. Instead, we envision them being passed on as treasured keepsakes from one generation to the next.
Giving back to those in need
We believe in blessing others with what we have been given. As such, we have chosen to support CARE Australia, an international humanitarian aid organisation that works around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty, and achieve social justice. According to CARE Australia, we cannot overcome poverty until all people have equal rights and opportunities. In the developing world, the challenges that women and girls face make them particularly vulnerable and disadvantaged. This is why women and girls are at the heart of CARE Australia's work. If one woman can break free from poverty, she is able to bring another four people with her—it's a powerful way to create lasting change. For every journal that we sell, we will donate $3.00 to CARE Australia. Read more about their work here.
To the best of our ability, we have sought to be honest and accurate in what we have written here. If you have any questions, or if you wish to discuss the accuracy of the information that we have shared, please feel free to get in touch by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Forest images above by Joshua Mikhaiel. Used with permission.)