Part of the territory of being an ESC employee is volunteering in the local Indianapolis community. Over the years ESC has volunteered at several Indy organizations including the Humane Society and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. Most recently ESC employees have been serving lunch at the Wheeler Mission, a shelter that helps the homeless population of Indianapolis.
While the company all ready gives back 10% of its net profits to its partners, it also believes that taking the time to reach-out locally is an important aspect of its overall mission to give back. Most recently ESC teamed-up with the Peace Learning Center to participate in the Indiana Service Challenge.
As part of the service challenge ESC worked on a project for Peace Learning Center’s Be the Change Workshop and Exhibit. ESC employee’s spent a sunny April afternoon away from their desks making a whale out of trash that the Peace Learning Center had collected to represent the types of things that have been found in a whale’s stomach. The hope is that the summer groups that visit the center that are primarily young schoolchildren, will see the whale project and have a better understanding of what happens to their trash when they don’t recycle or properly dispose it.
So how do you give back in your local community? We would love to hear from you and it may just spark some ideas for us!
After 20 years ESC is celebrating in a big way! We have teamed up with the Non-GMO Project to extend our non-GMO verification to our natural chocolate line making all of ESC dark chocolate non-GMO verified.
We’re also extending our collaboration with the Rainforest AllianceTM to our natural line. Rainforest Alliance certification promotes the well-being of workers and helps their communities to adopt better farming practices.
We plan on continuing the celebration by having some more announcements later in the year so stay tuned!
As Endangered Species Chocolate has continued to expand its product offerings over the past few years, we’ve never had a place where we could try out new recipes without having to worry about invading precious production space. A small area in production was sanctioned where new product development took place…but that changed a few months ago when Endangered Species Chocolate converted part of an old storage area into a new test kitchen!
Our test kitchen gives us a dedicated space where we can get creative. This new space includes a tiny tempering machine to heat chocolate and stir in inclusions. A mini fridge cools down the chocolate and stores samples until they’re ready to be tasted…I mean tested.
This test kitchen has gotten a workout over the past few months! We’ll be introducing TWO NEW FLAVORS in January and a brand new product line (shhh – top secret) is in the works, set to launch in early 2014. So tell us, what would YOU cook up in our new test kitchen? Comment below with flavors you’d like to see from Endangered Species Chocolate.
We just wrapped up an Earth Day sweepstakes on Facebook, Win a Feel Good Moment, where we offered a chance to win $1000 for the non-profit of the winner’s choice. Choosing an eco-charity to support is a difficult one – there are so many great ones out there! We know this firsthand. To fulfill our 10% GiveBack Promise, we scour stacks of applications and dig deep into each organization. Here are shortcuts we’ve learned along the way to help you narrow down your choices and match up with the perfect conservation org:
1. PINPOINT YOUR CAUSE. Whether you’re interested in wildlife preservation, land conservation or climate change, there are resources to help you find an environmental org that supports your interests. Spend some time with a search engine to get a sense of the organizations out there that share your environmental concerns.
2. CHECK THEIR PERFORMANCE. Once you have a handful of organizations that speak to your eco concerns, Charity Navigator (for larger charities) and Better Business Bureau Giving Alliance (for local giving) are great places to dig deeper. These sites offer free tools to evaluate the financials, accountability and transparency of non-profits. With a few simple clicks, you’ll know which charities are trustworthy.
3. GET TO KNOW THEM, THEN JOIN THEM. Now that you’ve honed in on groups that mesh with your ideals, visit their websites. Sign up for their newsletters. Follow them on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc). You’ll quickly gain an understanding of the scope of their work and involvement with their members. A good match will make you feel good, excited and involved in making an impact.
What advice would you give to someone who’s looking for a charity to support? Comment below and share your experiences.
Halloween is right around the corner. Time to start thinking about costumes! Instead of buying, consider a more eek-o-minded approach. Saturday, October 8th is National Costume Swap Day™ – a planet friendly way to get kids recycling in the funniest way possible – trading (reusing) princess gowns, witch’s hats and superhero capes!
Costume swaps or making your own costumes from materials you have on hand means less resources, less packaging and less waste. Wrap your mind around this fact: swapping (aka reusing) just half the costumes kids wear at Halloween would reduce annual landfill waste by 6,250 tons! It also means you can be original and decide exactly what you want to be for Halloween. Imagine trying to find a tornado costume at a big box store!
DIY Tornado Costume
- black t-shirt and pants
- masking tape
- assorted small tornado victims (leaves, toy tractor, barnyard animal figures)
Wrap masking tape up one pant leg (crinkle tape a bit for authentic tornado texture!). Repeat with t-shirt, wrapping tape in a spiral up to neck. Tie assorted toys and figures to short bits of fishing line. Tie fishing lined tornado victims to random spots on t-shirt and pants. Muss up child’s hair and brush a bit of dusty brown eyeshadow across face to complete the transformation!
Swaps can be as simple as getting together with a few neighbors or as large as a citywide event; check Costume Swap’s site to find local swaps you can attend. No matter the size of your event, a costume swap is the perfect way to save the resources it takes to create new costumes. Plus, trading costumes saves you money! Check out this incredibly cute video; twin brothers, Tristin and Tyler, show you how it’s done.
Find more ways to green up your holiday at Green Halloween®.
Do I blame the endless summer heat for squelching my creative process? (that one gets my vote) Could it be that I am still struggling to get back in the swing of work, post-vacation? (doubt it – I took 2 weeks off and returned refreshed) Maybe the fact that I stopped exercising 3 weeks ago has something to do with it. (ugh, I feel really guilty about that one)
The ideas just aren’t flowing, y’all. I feel like a turtle tucked in a shell – hiding from my writing. I have neglected to compose an engaging post (or any post for that matter) for 3 weeks. No thoughts on chocolate. No inspiring words about the importance of conservation. Nothing. Zilch. Nada.
But, ya know, maybe the cure lies in just admitting that I have a problem. Because – strangely - penning this mediocre post is actually making me feel freer, more relaxed…and dare I say it, unblocked. Finally facing the fact that my mojo is lost has also encouraged me to take control and seek out ways to recapture it. This list, 33 Ways to Stay Creative, is my new mentor.
Thanks for being patience with my humanness. Carry on.
With Earth Day (April 22) falling right in the lap of Easter (April 24, 2011) this year, I’m thinking of nixing the traditional basket filler and tucking in goodies that encourage an appreciation of nature. I’m pretty confident my outdoorsy, totally-curious-about-the-world 4-year old son will love it.
Reducing by Reusing
It really surprises me to learn that lots of folks trash their baskets after Easter. Think of all of those sad, pastel baskets sitting in landfills for eons – discarded and forgotten. And don’t get me started on those (soulless) cellophane wrapped pre-filled baskets you see in big box stores! The Easter Bunny is way more creative and nature-conscious than that.
Growing up, my brother and I always reused the same baskets year after year. Lots of memories tied to those baskets! It was like seeing an old friend when my parents would pull my basket out of the attic each spring. Believe it or not, my mom also saved and reused our Easter basket grass from year to year. Her reasoning was rooted in saving money and getting the most use out of everything. My mom’s example fits right in to my environmental outlook on life (not to mention my budget). I bought a sturdy natural woven basket and a couple of bundles of green recycled paper grass for my son’s first Easter – and – four years later, we are still making holiday memories with them.
Gifts that last
As I set out shopping to help the Easter Bunny find gifts to fill my child’s basket, I noticed that some stores set out a dizzying array of disposable trinkets as filler for baskets. The Easter-specific toys I spied seemed like they’d last a week before breaking. Needless to say, I was uninspired.
With Earth Day in mind, I aimed to seek out items that would be fun, useful and encourage our kid to get outside and commune with nature. Here are some of the ideas I thought up; share yours too – I still have some room to fill.
Books about bugs, butterflies, birds can open up a young one’s eyes to the importance of conservation.
Springtime is a good time to replenish art supplies – a quality sketchpad and colored pencils could help a young artist to bloom.
A colorful water bottle can keep your kid hydrated and keep plastic out of landfills.
Encourage your young one to dig nature by tucking a few flower, herb or vegetable seed packets into their basket.
Look for organic, all-natural sweets made with ingredients sourced with care. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Endangered Species Chocolate’s Easter Collections. *smile* Chocolate that not only tastes indulgent – it funds species conservation, promotes fair trade and encourages sustainable cacao farming.
Comment below and tell us how you green up Easter! Or add other eco-minded Easter basket ideas to our list.
Walk into our production facility and you’ll see a shiny, metallic maze of tanks, tubes and tracks that continuously melt, move and wrap chocolate bars that support conservation. How do we power all of those chocolate-filled machines? With wind! 100% of the electrical energy used to power our office, warehouse and production facility comes from clean, green wind power. This renewable energy source is harvested from wind farms here in Indian, purchased through Indianapolis Power & Light Green Power Option.
In order to make a commitment to renewable energy, we needed to find room in our budget. Interestingly enough, our investment in wind power was made possible by greening up our energy usage. A 2009 power audit prompted us to make smart improvements to our HVAC system – which reduced Endangered Species Chocolate’s energy consumption by 40%. A small portion of this savings was all that was needed to invest in purchasing 100% renewable energy for our building. Endangered Species Chocolate has been an EPA Green Power Partner ever since!
Our annual green power purchase eliminates 501 metric tons of CO2 emissions associated with our purchased electricity – that’s the equivalent of taking 110 cars off the road every year. Buying green power is truly one of the easiest and most effective ways we’ve improved our facility’s environmental performance.
Comment and share how you’ve reduced energy consumption in your home or office.
When my refrigerator went kaput last summer, I spent an entire day researching a replacement – comparing cost, quality, Energy Star ratings, company profiles, etc (while simultaneously consuming all the ice cream in my lukewarm freezer).
With big purchases, I’m all about digging deep to ensure that the product I’m investing in matches not only my budget – but my values too. But I admit, with it comes to day-to-day, grab-and-go buys, I don’t always do my homework. I mean, who has space in their brain to remember which juice brand hinders clean water access abroad or which pasta sauce earned a Greenwash Award for public deception?
When Endangered Species Chocolate was named one of the 20 Best Companiesby Better World Shopper, they sent us a complimentary copy of the indispensable guide. The Better World Shopping Guide (available for ipod too) can turn a grocery list into a powerful tool for changing the world. It grades popular products on five essential issues:
- Human Rights
- The Environment
- Animal Protection
- Community Involvement
- Social Justice
Using an easy to grasp A+ to F grading system, I can quickly identify companies to lovingly embrace (“Corporate Heroes”) and ones to avoid like the plague (“Corporate Villains”). A good place to start is with changes that make to the most impact, Top 10 Things to Change. Me, I’m tucking this pocket-sized guide in my purse and heading to the grocery store. Hopefully fellow shoppers will stop and ask why I have my nose in a book. I’ll give them a sweet, green-minded earful – especially if I don’t see reuseable shopping bags on them! *wink*
Which products/services have your switched in order to better align with your beliefs and values?
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