Paint the Town Green

Auro Amazing

Auro are exacting in their standards, making the cleanest, greenest paints and finishes I have come across. Not only are they the world leaders in professional natural paints, they are a company with integrity, funding research to continually bring quality products to the market while supporting an in house culture of environmental stewardship and outstanding customer service. They’ve even been awarded the Ethical Consumer Magazine’s Best Buy Label.

Natural paints – Good for you and the environment

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are the nasties that are part of the mainstream petro-chemical production of paints and finishes. They are known to be bad for our health because they off-gas toxic molecules into the air, and yet we use these paints, glues and resins everywhere. While our families are sleeping, these chemicals are constantly being inhaled. Even when we are in the workplace, VOCs surround us. In society’s rush for cheap mass produced materials, big brand names have been filling our spaces with chemicals that are costly to our health and taxing on our environment. A positive trend of increasing awareness about VOCs have forced companies to reduce these chemicals and comply with low VOC labelling standards. This is great. But wouldn’t it be better to just do without these nasty chemicals all together? Auro have done just that. They have certified no VOC products because of their dedication to ethical standards of production and use. Auro have a catalogue of products that will make you breathe easy knowing your family is safe.

Rainbow Fantastic

Being environmentally friendly and safe for our health are great benefits for products that are always with us, when we work. Auro also have you covered with a broad selection of colour palettes and textures for the most descerning interior designers.

Natural Builders Dream

Kevin McCloud of Grand Designs fame and his eco building consortium, Haboakus, develop sustainable living opportunities and seek on the best suppliers for their projects. Auro was specially chosen for the Applewood development which transformed the former Cashes Green Hospital into environmentally and socially sustainable housing. For Applewood, Haboakus used Auro 321 natural resin wall paint which is VOC free and certified ‘medically recommended for lodgings’. Auro products are supplied to natural building projects across the United Kingdom. Check out their favoured stockists here.

Full Disclosure

Auro is a rare company that walks the walk on all ethical issues they encounter. They have a culture of full transparency: declaring every ingredient on product labels; providing certification on all products and their source materials; buying all equipment and ingredients from local suppliers as much as possible; and to top it of with a vibrant gloss, their production facility is carbon neutral.

For more details on their products…

Visit www.auro.co.uk

Email sales@auroorganic.co.uk

Phone 01452 772020 (United Kingdom +44)

Green Pioneers of Plastic Toy Production

Build a Bouquet

Green Toys Make You Feel Good

Ever bought a toy for a kid and felt bad about all of the plastics involved? Ever wondered about the conditions for people working in the factories that made it? We want to buy products for our children that are not destroying the planet and short changing hard workers. In today’s mass produced world of toys, buying a product to give with one hand is inadvertently taking away with the other.

Green Toys have solved this problem for you. Each of their products is created from recycled plastics and is made in the USA, where Green Toys pay fare wages for quality workmanship.

Green Toys BannerEnvironmentally Friendly & Socially Responsible

Green Toys was founded by Robert von Goeben and Laurie Hyman in 2007 with the vision to provide environmentally friendly and socially responsible toys made in the USA. They use recycled food grade plastics from milk containers for their toys which contain no BPA, phthalates, PVC or melamine. Makes you wonder about your toy boxes at home full of plastics of unknown origin. Green Toys bring you an assurance of quality the other manufacturers won’t.

All the Way to the OceanEthical Supply Chain with Rigorous Standards

California is Green Toys’ base of operations and they source their plastics from local curb-side collections. Each phase of the enterprise is centrally located; from toy design to manufacture, assembly to distribution. This gives Green Toys total control of production and allows them to observe rigorous standards for their quality toys, ensuring better workplace safety and improved conditions of work for their dedicated staff. Not only that; it saves energy and reduces their carbon footprint.

How safe are Green Toys?

In addition to all of the above, Green Toys are designed without external coatings so children won’t be exposed to toxic residues from worn paint or laminates. The colours are part of the plastic itself. They comply with international and local safety standards including ASTM F963, EN-71, ISO 8124, and Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). They also meet FDA requirements for food contact and are dishwasher safe.

Green Eats BannerLoads of Toys and Tableware Too

Check out Green Toys website for their full catalogue of creations.

www.greentoys.com

Make the next toy you buy a green one.

Follow the link below to a list of retailers who stock Green Toys.

Retailers list

STATE Bags Has Your Back

bag_drop_collageGotta Bag it up!

STATE bags is making more than a material difference to struggling children in the United States. They are behind a movement to motivate and renew the spirit of disadvantaged youth. STATE hand delivers a bag to a child in need for every bag that is sold through their store. The hand delivery is where the magic really happens.

Making Positive ChangeSTATE LOGO

These donated bags are not only packed full of essential tools for success, they come with a motivational rally lead by Packmen and Packwomen who transform each bag into a symbol of change. An uplifting symbol of possibility and self belief. The Packmen and Packwomen are child development specialists who have risen from at-risk neighbourhoods and found success. They are powerful role models for the children as can be seen in this video where STATE partnered with Jacobson Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, dropping 200 bag to underprivileged kids in Florida.

Social Entrepreneurs

STATE Bags was founded by husband and wife team, Scot and Jacqueline Tatelman, who describe their company as “a for-profit company with a non-profit pedigree.” They have combined accessible and desirable design, functionality and philanthropy. The success of their business model is amplified by its collaborations, increasing its positive contribution to the community. STATE Bags is an agile company proving ethics and business are perfect partners.scot_jacqbanner

I had the pleasure to pitch some questions to STATE Bags.

  1. How has collaboration with other ethical orgs helped STATE Bags mission? Eg. BeyGood campaign; The Mark Wahlberg Foundation and The Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester, Massachusetts to create Camp Northbound.

Before there were any ideas of building out a company that makes cool bags, our main focus was creating a genuine, impactful social mission, proving that we were about more than just the bottom line. Partnering with Mark Wahlberg’s org in creating Camp Northbound is really where this movement began as it opened our eyes to the need right here in our own backyard. Scot and Jacq – the co-founders of STATE – wanted to duplicate the Camp Northbound model for kids living in underfunded neighborhoods of Brooklyn and teamed up with nonprofits doing remarkable things in neighborhoods of very high need. Following the creation of Camp POWER – which has now served thousands of kids in three of Brooklyn’s most at-risk communities – it fueled the launch of STATE. Watching countless kids arriving at camp with their belongings in trash bags while seeing many socially conscious companies serving kids overseas, Scot and Jacq wanted to do more for local kids growing up in similar situations as both the Camp Northbound and POWER kids. Since launching in January 2013, STATE has donated thousands of bags – packed with the essential tools for success – to kids across the US…thanks in very large part to the nonprofit orgs, charter and public schools we’ve partnered with.

Partnering with Beyonce’s BeyGOOD charitable initiative was our moment to show the world what we do, and how do it differently in our more built out buy one, give one model. Our back to school initiative targeted communities in very high need across six cities, and teamed up with nonprofit organizations, charter and public schools that were going above and beyond for their kids. In less than one month, we hand-delivered thousands of bags through our signature motivational bag drop events and prepared kids with not only the material tools for success – such as new backpacks and school supplies – but the positive role models and messaging to motivate them to chase their goals this school year. Check out this video link, documenting our biggest drop yet on day one of school in Brooklyn for an entire elementary school.

  1. Your branding and marketing is out of sight with its high quality production values. Who have you worked with to promote the STATE Bags brand and marketing strategy?

It’s been a collaborative effort from the moment we launched. We do much of our branding in house, but have also worked with many, many insanely talented designers and marketing minds.

  1. How important has fashion and design been in the success of the STATE Bags work?

We’ve quickly learned that if your product can’t stand alone, it won’t sell. Our mission of serving American children in various situations of need is obviously central to so much of what we do, but if we can’t design and produce a bag that people are going to want to wear, we’re nowhere. We need to sell a lotta bags to give a lotta bags, and so much of that starts with how they’re made, how they look and how they feel when you’re wearing them!

  1. STATE Bags has a core promise with every bag sold, another is given. This ‘one for one’ exchange is a powerful symbol. How do you think symbols of charity like this uplift our community to give through a purchase, where the same consumer may not give a monetary donation to a similar cause?

There seems to be a new wave of consumers who are looking to buy products that have a deeper meaning…which is fantastic on so many levels. One of the things our customers love so much about our get one give one mission is that it’s effortlessly giving back – making that decision to buy a socially conscious product is as simple as buying it…and we do all the rest. It’s really inspiring to see so many people out there choosing to buy products that help other people who they’ve never even met, nor ever will – that’s a beautiful building block to a better world!

  1. What lessons can charities learn from the ethical business world?

When you have a story to tell, you have to walk that line of balancing that with your product. A lot of socially conscious companies do it perfectly, while others are still trying to find that line. I think nonprofits could learn how for profits position both their product and mission in a really effective way. Some orgs might want to focus more on their story and mission while others may want to showcase their programs and staff. It’s a balancing act, but if played well can really make a difference!

  1.      What lessons can the business world learn from charities?

We are always looking for ways to continually engage and inspire youth we serve beyond our bag drop events. We are frequently looking at models in the nonprofit world that we could use as inspiration as to how our impact could be longer-term in a genuine, ethical manner.

 

Head over to www.statebags.com and check them out.

Special thanks to Southard Communications for their assistance.

Urban Greening – French Aesthetics Bring Renewable Energy Back to Nature

L-Arbre-Vent_wideNew Wind for Design Innovation

French renewable energy firm New Wind have scaled down wind powered electricity generation to better compliment a more natural way of living. The innovative tree design of their new breed of generators fits into an urban environment without creating aesthetic objections or urban planning conundrums sometimes brought about by industrial scale wind generation.

L-Arbre-Vent_ART80_reduit319pxArbre à Vent®

Imagine one of these ‘trees’ in you backyard. Check out one in action here. One can power a home for a family of four. Imagine one on in the middle of a round about, powering the streetlights. Imagine one in a local park or open air shopping mall, powering a wi-fi network or in a carpark offering an electric car charging top up.

Engineering Masterpiece

The magic of the design is not just that it looks pretty. Creating a valuable utility that looks like a piece of art is just scratching the surface of New Winds use of technology. Each tree is actually made of 72 silent Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWTs). This turbine design catches wind from all directions and can make use of lower wind speeds. This is perfect for urban areas where the wind direction and speed is chaotic due to all the structures we build around us. Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines (HAWTs) like we see on hillsides or towering above open stretches are more suited to constant winds of higher velocity.

 

Just the BeginningAeroleaf®

New wind has all sorts of designs on the books to bring wind generation to a human level and seamlessly incorporate it into our urban environments. Aeroleaf® kits are a scalable innovation making the technology more accessible to all markets. New wind envision smaller ‘bush style’ designs and kits for roof tops, balconies and roadsides.

Find out more

New Wind have a handy PDF presentation in English here.

Contact them here for any updates on their projects.


Julia Revuz, PhDJulia Revuz

I had the opportunity to speak with Julia Revuz from New Wind. She’s extremely busy working on the roll out of Aeroleaf® and Arbre à Vent®, but I was lucky enough to pinch a bit of her time.

You’re the aerolic engineer for New Wind. Can you tell us what you do and what makes New Wind special?

I try to better understand and optimize the aerodynamics of the wind turbine developed at NewWind: the Aeroleaf. We also work on the interactions of multiple Aeroleaf wakes.
We do experiments, and also lots of modeling with CFD code.
New Wind is special because we have combined two important ideas to great effect. Firstly, we have developed a high performance micro wind turbine. Secondly we have engineered a platform that uses multiple turbines to great effect.

New Wind has received enormous praise and support for the Arbre à Vent® in France. How has it been received overseas? Do you have plans to market your products elsewhere? I’d love to see these popping up everywhere.

The arbre à Vent has also received very good praise from overseas. In fact, we plan to launch sales overseas in 2017.
The Arbre à Vent® is the most artistically pleasing VAWT system I have seen. Tell us about the design design vs functionality? Does the Arbre à Vent® have a perfect balance?

The Arbre à vent is a compromise between functionality and biomorphic considerations. In order to achieve the perfect balance for the Arbre à Vent, our technical team work very closely with the design team.

Can you tell us about the future of wind based renewables?

We think the future of the urban wind energy is very positive for lots of reasons. Auxiliary energy or energy in isolated locations is in demand today, and will still be needed in the future. There’s a lot of room in the marketplace innovative solutions like those New Wind has developed. Our projects are an important chapter in the evolving story of renewable energy.

Ethical Role Models

Ethicalwriter.com soon to feature ethical role models.

If you are looking for inspiration to drive your ethical enterprise or charity, look no further. I’ll be featuring and interviewing a wide range of people from diverse organisations to find out what has worked for them and what hasn’t. I want to shine a spotlight on the brilliant work that people are doing all around us—many of whom get no credit—while they help make the world a better place.

Show us what you’re made of. Get onboard for your own feature.

Are you looking for new ways to improve your exposure? I’d love to hear what you are up to and organise a feature for you. It is totally free and you are welcome to use the feature in any of your own publicity too. If you are interested in promoting your organisation, get your name on my interview list and contact me now.

Hire a Creative Writer with Stamina

Epic Fantasy Dragon Choir Takes Flight

My debut novel has hit the shelves and is proving to be a great success!

Creativity and Discipline

When you hire me, you’re hiring a writer with creativity and discipline. A novel is a major creative task that requires endurance. A novelist must weave believable characters into a strong plot, all cast within an immersive setting. A good book will engage the reader’s imagination and transport them into another world. In the case of my epic fantasy, Dragon Choir, readers embark on a journey filled with political intrigue, hostile magic and awe-inspiring battles. These are difficult ideas to express, yet good writers weave fantastic concepts into a living, breathing reality that sparks the imagination in all of us.

Copywriting Finesse

A skilled copywriter will carefully craft your organisation’s message to engage the target market and make them want to keep reading. Belligerent sales techniques might bump up figures in the short term, but clients will not be happy with a product or service that is mismatched to the false idea they bought into. The concept and feeling of your message has to match what you are offering or your organisation will have an unstable customer base with negative brand associations. Here’s the solution.

Make it a Page Turner

Great copywriters entice and encourage the market to get to know and trust your brand, your products and services. Use a professional with the stamina to keep readers turning your pages, telling their friends, and coming back for more.

When the days stretch and the land bakes, dragons will again scour the sky. A city of bones and a city of gold plot against each other while the rebellion gathers strength. A young man is caught in a tempest of intrigue that will forge a new era of freedom, or forever scar the land. He must discover the secret of the Dragon Choir to save his father and end the stranglehold of an unforgiven nation.

www.benjamindescovich.com

The Gift of Giving

CHURCHILL LRGCharities have a tough job doing their good works without having to worry about finding the right words for the plethora writing tasks that plague them. Behind the scenes of every charity worth its salt are people writing reports, submissions, training protocols, press releases, newsletters and so much more. Not to mention the ever present outreach campaigns to fund the projects which make our world a better place to live.

I’ve volunteered and worked with many different charities in my life. I know the difficulties they face and am always ready to lend a hand with my writing skills.

I donate 50% of my fee back to any charity that hires me.

That’s right. You read that correctly.

All ethical charities receive 50% off their bill when they hire me.

What’s more, I’m on the look out for charities in need of a leg up. If your charity has a writing project that needs some TLC and your budget has bottomed out, contact me now and tell me about it. Win me over and I’ll do it for you Pro Bono. I am a firm believer in paying it forward and see an enormous non-monetary payoff through giving. My business will benefit from positive collaborations and your charity will benefit from the good will and brilliant writing.

Old World Tech in Dubrovnik (Hrvatska)

IMG_0344On Srđ Mountain, high above the fortress walls of Dubrovnik, an artisan markets a taste of the old world rarely seen. A cable car ferries his target market up the steep slopes to the look out, memorial and museum. Hundreds of tourists take in the spectacular view every day; among them are people looking for a token of Dubrovnik that speaks of its heritage and its fortitude through a turbulent history.

The artisan brings a sledge hammer crashing down upon a press, drawing the crowds’ attention to his stall. He disengages the die and I witness the birth of a freshly minted coin, bearing the mark of the Dubrovnik Republic (1385-1808) on one side and Navigare Necesse Est (To Sail is Necessary) on the other. I couldn’t resist – my wallet was out before I could exhale. I’m a sucker for old world tech and politics. This was a perfect momento of my time in Dubrovnik, seeing the strength of the old world live on in the present.

I had one thought as I ran my fingers over the replica of the past — this guy needs a simple website to reach more of his target market; the folk who didn’t happen to ascend Srđ Mountain.