Think for a moment, if you wanted to make the maximum impact in greening one product area, what would it be? Cars may come to mind first, but that requires a significant commitment and investment by the buyer. While it can and will make a positive impact, there’s an area that’s much more ubiquitous and may not even register on the radar for some – office supplies.
Think about how much you use. Think about how much a company of 50 uses. 500. To use supplies that are less impactful, or perhaps even eliminating the damage they typically do, has enormous potential.
It’s this thinking that led Gil Yaron, once a lawyer focused on shareholder activism and socially responsible investing to create Vancouver based FrogFile in 2006. In his work leading up to this, he saw that many companies were interested in greening their office operations, but they didn’t quite know how or where to do that. Then once they did know what they wanted to do, there wasn’t a place to get what they needed.
FrogFile seeks to be a remedy for this quandary. And yet, you might say, green office supplies seem to be everywhere these days, both online and in office supply stores large and small. What does FrogFile contribute, and how do they stand out from this growing chorus?
First, their aim is to serve the broader public, beyond the already there green people. Their mission is no less than creating a fundamental change in the marketplace. In order to do this, you need to meet all of people’s product needs, and do it at a price that won’t make them flinch. How do they do this?
As Yaron said to me, “Green isn’t a niche for us, it’s our business.” With that in mind, they order large quantities or all their catalog offerings, getting competitive prices, and don’t choose to charge a premium on them, as other stores may presume the market will bear. It’s that kind of thinking by most that, in my opinion, has held back quicker, broader adoption by businesses.
They may have a lot to offer, but being smaller sized then the big boxers of the world, they are able to carry leading edge products like this well thought out recycled soda bottle fabric based vertical messenger bag from Act2GreenSmart.
Also, every single product on their site is vetted for being truly green. Non petro based but shipped from far away? Probably won’t show up in their catalog. Yes there’s lots of greenish products at stores, but without taking the time to dig deeper, you may not know it’s missing the mark. At Frogfile, they’ve done the heavy green lifting for you, and will not compromise.
Yaron sees FrogFile as an experiment, more about a conversation about creating change then about selling product. And this experiment seems to be paying off, as sales have increased 400% from July 2007 to July 2008, and increasingly large companies are inquiring about FrogFile’s offerings. Currently a Canadian focused business, they will be making their way into the US, starting in the northwest. Stay tuned…
Readers: Do you have innovative office supplies you’re excited about these days? Where can we learn more about greening offices? What is your business doing to be greener that we could learn from?
Going to be in Vancouver next week? The Frogfile Green Business Expo is happening at the Vancity Theatre on September 10th, which according to the site, they invite you to, “Join us at this premier event that showcases leading green products and services for your business. Share experiences on green purchasing and marketing strategies with other business leaders. Enjoy light refreshments and take in short films on critical environmental issues facing business.” For more information on this, and to RSVP, visit here.
More reading about greening your office:
Terracycle + Office Max = Innovative Green Office Supplies : Ecopreneurist
Stocking the Green Office : Sustainable Supplies : Ecopreneurist
Going Green in Your Office : Ecopreneurist