At the Raw Office we believe in our core values. We expect our manufacturers to hold similar values and adhere to a high-degree of environmental awareness. We felt that this should be clearly reflected within our sustainability standards. Not only do we ensure that we carry the most eco forward products – but that these products are produced by manufacturers with a verifiable commitment to reducing environmental impact. It is these companies that are intent on pursuing the three pillars of sustainability: from an environmental, economical, and social perspective. We only curate products manufactured with a minimum of fifty percent-recycled materials or agricultural fibers - except for inks, toner, soaps, and sanitizers, of course. These get a pass on our recycled content baseline, as they are office must-haves and fit some of our other criteria for ranking.
Our assessment process looks at sustainability criteria on a company level and then on a product level, where implementation of company standards occurs. There are five main focuses, among several, that we consider important in defining these criteria:Raw Materials
Energy Use Manufacturing
Mercury Natural Systems
Certified Forest Management
Sensitive Forest Fiber Credible Verification
Life Cycle Studies Social Impact
Labor and Human Rights
Human Health and Safety
North American Made
We also look at whether the manufacturer has a recent sustainability report. These are good overall indicators of a commitment to environmental improvement. Some of these reports are certified by the Global Reporting Initiative, which adds further transparency.
Certain companies will be listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index – we take this into account as well. Other indices such as the FTSE4GOOD, ISO certifications, and voluntary disclosure programs are also highly recognizable accolades that we consider when selecting our manufacturers.
Credible verifications are easy to check. These represent life cycle studies, ISO Type I environmental labels, or ISO Type II environmental claims. These have all been backed up by sound scientific study and must adhere to either the FTC or Canadian Competition Bureau standards for environmental claims.
These federal standards are constantly evolving due to the amount of research presently being done. As such, we revise our standards annually in order to ensure compliance. The FTC has recently issued a warning that several companies were misleading in reporting the settings of their studies, and thus the validity of these self-declared claims is in question. This is one of the reasons we rank products with certified labels and transparent studies much higher than products with self-declared claims made by the manufacturer.
Social impact is an often-overlooked yet extremely important standard that we recognize and include in our ranking system. Whether it be working with disadvantaged or disabled manufacturers, or sourcing our products from local communities to give back to the job market, not only do we care about the sustainability of our planet – but the sustainability of its people, too.
You can find all of this information summarized visually in our manufacturer scorecards.
Please remember – this is not a competition. We seek to keep you informed on who is responsible for the environmental innovation you find at the Raw Office. Should you have any feedback on any of the products or manufacturers listed on our site do not hesitate to contact us.