WARNING: there’s going to be a lot of greenspeak and greenwashing today. Just as it’s easy to say that a toy is “educational” because it’s donning a letter from the alphabet, it’s also easy to say that you’re “green” because you have a recycling bin in the office. As many of you already know, it’s much harder to actually be green. Without denigrating said greening efforts and statements in the slightest, we’d argue that the burden is actually on you to seek more transparency around the milieu of eco-friendly messages that get tossed your way . “Going green,” is hard to do if you’re honest about it. It tends to be a more expensive and time consuming path. Sound like a healthy direction for a cash-strapped start-up? We’re doing our best and below is our honest account.
We take environmental stewardship very seriously at Tegu, and to celebrate Earth Day, we’ve decided to “up our game”. We encourage you to do the same.
To begin, Tegu thinks about environmental stewardship in the larger context of our corporate social responsibility plan.
Every time a Tegu toy is sold, a positive chain of events is set in motion; it doesn’t just end with a happy child flexing his or her creative horsepower. We give every buyer a choice to either plant a dozen trees or to send a Honduran child to school for a day, as part of the purchase. But it’s not only the environment and children that benefit. As Tegu grows, we continue to add jobs at our factory in Honduras where we aspire to one day be the employer of choice. As you can see, great toys are only the start.
Thanks to our great customers, we’ve already planted 4,839 trees and donated 710 school days! Watch the badges on the left-hand margin of our website; we’ve made it easy to track these efforts in real-time.
Culturally, we also take environmental stewardship seriously because “Stewardship” is one our core values. To quote directly from our core values document, “we are committed to being a responsible steward of resources: people, capital, property, and environment.”
Now that you know where we stand, let’s talk about what we’ve done, what we plan to do, and how you can help.
How is Tegu working to go green?
We’ve implemented a small (but effective) sustainability program for our office space. The elements of this plan include a certain fastidiousness around recycling, increasing our energy reduction awareness, reducing our water consumption, and purchasing green office supplies and materials. We also encourage our employees and partners to implement these changes in their personal lives. For example, Tegu employees have requested that trees be planted in New York City near their homes, purchased shares in a CSA program (Community Supported Agriculture), and reported various other acts of stewardship using the Billion Acts of Green feature on the Earth Day website. Lastly, we keep updated on the latest research and thought leadership provided by organizations and groups like Earth Day Network, RecycleBank, and the US EPA.
How are Tegu products environmentally sustainable?
At Tegu, we really do believe that less is more. We oppose the prevailing wisdom which states that certain toys are only appropriate for certain stages of development. While this might be uniquely true for specific products like teething or clasping toys, we’d encourage you to stand your ground on a few, special toys, whose play matures with the maturity of the user. Tegu blocks are built to last through the generations. We also have a block recycling program in place that our customers can utilize if they no longer want their blocks. The blocks are made of sustainably-harvested natural Honduran hardwoods, most of which come with FSC certification. Finally, we use a non-toxic water-based lacquer.
Going forward, we plan to do more and we’ll use this space to keep you posted on our efforts. Tomorrow, we plan to take advantage of the Grand Central EarthFair to learn how we can further improve our stewardship initiatives. Drop brandon [at] tegu dot com an email if you plan to be there too!
What can you do?
Help the planet and a child by getting your hands on a set of Tegu blocks now. Become an advocate for Tegu and other like-minded products and companies. Purchase a bundle of trees to help our replanting efforts in Honduras. Friend us on Facebook. Sign up for our newsletters about which pertain to our social and environmental impact. Consider self-reporting your green acts on Billions Acts of Green.
In summary, let us reiterate that we are not perfect, but we’re serious about doing this right and we’ll remain committed to transparency and honesty as we proceed. We’d love to hear about your experiences and insights around this topic. As always, contact us at anytime!