Sustainability

We all love print on paper—nothing can compare to the tactile pleasure of reading books and magazines!—but I also understand the environmental impact that producing products and selling items through e-commerce has on the environment. Here are the ways that UPPERCASE is reducing its footprint and trying to make change for the better. 

Janine Vangool, publisher / editor / designer

Since 2018, UPPERCASE has planted a tree for every subscription and renewal through TreeEra, an organization that community-funds the planting of trees to help businesses offset their carbon footprint and combat the effects of climate change. A single tree can offset up to one ton of CO₂ in its lifetime. 

As of September 14, 2020, we've planted 11,829 trees.

Paper

The interior pages of UPPERCASE magazine and books are printed on Rolland Enviro® Satin which is made of 100% post-consumer fibre. This means that the source material has already been used for its original intended purpose by individuals, households or commercial facilities, and has been reclaimed for recycling and processed chlorine-free. The paper is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. 


Rolland uses biogas energy to make their paper: "Biogas comes from decomposing landfill waste that’s been captured to prevent its release into the air. It is transported by pipeline to Rolland and used as thermal energy to produce paper instead of using traditional combustible fuels." The mill also recirculates their water in a closed-loop process, using six times less fresh water than the industry average.


The covers of UPPERCASE magazine and books vary in paper stock but always contain as much recycled content as possible.


UPPERCASE is printed in Canada through The Prolific Group. "From our materials and manufacturing methods, to our transportation choices, Prolific’s commitment to the environment is an integral part of our business. We partner with our suppliers, employees and clients to achieve real, measurable environmental improvements. Prolific uses vegetable-based inks which contain 70% bio-renewable content and have low VOC emissions."

Packaging

Since 2019, UPPERCASE is plastics-free—we do not use poly bags or shrink wrap. (If you order some older back issues, those may still be protected in shrink wrapping.) 


Subscriptions sent from our printer are mailed in 100% recycled (50% post-consumer) and recyclable kraft mailers. Conformer® Kraft Mailers (from Supremex) are certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and Forest Stewardship Council.


UPPERCASE encourages subscribers to reuse and upcycle the kraft envelopes rather than simply recycle them. Share what you make with your packaging #uppercasekraft @uppercasemag on Instagram.


We are working with our fulfillment partners to ensure that all UPPERCASE shipments are sent plastics-free and in curb-side recyclable packaging. When necessary to protect shipments, we use Geami WrapPak®, a sustainable, biodegradable and recyclable alternative to traditional bubble wrap. It has a fun crinkly texture—creative readers have incorporated it into their own projects!


Interviews: 

Sprawlcast Ep 17: These Calgarians Are Taking on Climate Change


“We all need to choose, Planet or Plastic?”: Magazines look into sustainable alternatives to polybagging

Shipping

Transportation and shipping are a sizeable carbon footprint. Using the app Offset by Shopify, our shipping emissions are carbon neutral.


The app calculates monthly shipping emissions based on the number of orders, distance travelled and total shipping distance and that amount is the payment made to offset emissions. This calculation is made on all orders, so book pre-orders and subscriptions are included. This is a cost that UPPERCASE takes on, it is not passed on to the customer. If a customer uses Shopify's Shop Pay method of payment, Shopify covers the offset cost of that transaction. Read more about Shopify's carbon offset programs here.


Offset payments go towards forest protection initiatives through Pachama.


Offset Stats
June 16 – September 13, 2020


Orders: 2,123


Distance travelled: 
7 million km


Total shipping emissions offset:

4,278.6 kilograms of CO₂


Estimated area of forest protected:

40,478.5 m²


Equivalent number of tree seedlings protected: 5,348

Other Environmental Initiatives

UPPERCASE supports Precious Plastics through a monthly donation to their Patreon. (Read about founder Dave Hakkens in UPPERCASE issue 33.) 


UPPERCASE makes an annual donation to the Plastic Bank. "An Ocean Champion stops over 420 kg of plastic, equal to 21,000 500ml water bottles from entering the ocean every year. That is equal to 5 years of plastic for an average consumer in North America."


UPPERCASE donates to The Ocean Cleanup.

Social Initiatives

UPPERCASE donates 10% of proceeds of Little U volumes 1 through 3 to UNICEF Canada


This year, UPPERCASE has supported the Calgary Food Bank's hamper program with 10% of sales on April 1, 2020 donated ($700). Personally, I support UNICEF and Doctors without Borders with monthly pledges and donate to the United Nations Refugee Agency when I can. 


Throughout the year, UPPERCASE offers a Creative Boost draw for complimentary subscriptions for those who can't afford to subscribe due to financial or health reasons. Occasionally, complimentary cartons are given to non-profit social enterprises and educators. To find out more about these initiatives as they become available, read the UPPERCASE newsletter.

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