Monday, May 12, 2008

Environmental Consciousness: Derwent

In the continuing examination of the products I use to create my art, I am pleased to announce that Derwent is a company whose products I will continue to use. Derwent produces a large array of artist pencils and related products. Aside from the usual drawing and colored pencils, I also use their watercolor pencils, graphitint (colored graphite) and inktense pencils (ink in pencil form!) to create my art. I went to their website to find out about their environmental policies and here is what I found:

Our factory is situated in one of the most beautiful parts of
England, in the heart of the Lake District National Park. We are therefore
probably more aware than most how important it is to protect the world around
us. We comply with the internationally recognised environmental management
standard, ISO 14001 and are committed to ensuring that our materials,
processing, products and services have minimal environmental impact. For
example, in 2002 we were awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for developing a unique, solvent free paint application system which has greatly improved the air quality in this production area. We have also been awarded the BOSS (British Office Supplies and Services) Federation Environmental Award for the past 11 years.This comprehensive award scheme covers a wide range of environmental issues, such as reducing energy consumption and improving our employees’ working conditions.

The health and safety of our employees
is, of course, paramount. In 2006, we were awarded the prestigious RoSPA (Royal
Society for the Prevention of Accidents) President’s Award for Occupational
Safety and Health. The President’s award is only open to those companies who
have already achieved 10 consecutive RoSPA Gold Awards. The RoSPA awards scheme covers all aspects of health and safety, including good health and safety
management systems, compliance with legislation, continually improving health
and safety performance, employee training and commitment. Actively involving our employees in these issues through training, health and safety audits, meetings
and regular communication is one of our greatest strengths.
Please check out the Derwent website for more information about the company and their products!

I have not heard anything from Frederix (Tara Materials) who makes the canvases I use, nor have I heard from Dr PH Martin's, or Daler Rowney, both of which make the inks and watercolors I use. I have contacted them twice now. Unless I hear back from them regarding their environmental policies, I will use up what I have of their products, and will not purchase any new materials from them. It is a shame, because I really like their products a lot. Let's hope they come through sometime in the future.



Pet said...

Arg.... I find it's nearly impossible to get environmental or labor practice info from companies who don't post said info in public already. One has to assume they aren't proud of where or how their stuff is produced.

Antony Galbraith said...

I agree.
I was very impressed with Ampersand and Golden because they were very responsive and open. I had received a message from Daler-Rowney that they forwarded my message to the appropriate person and I would hear back from them soon. That was three weeks ago.

The other companies have just out-right ignored my inquiries. I will be writing to them this week saying I will no longer purchase their products. It is frustrating because I really like their products and spent a lot of time working out techniques using them. But, on the other side, I am so pleased with the other companies that do incorporate good environmental and labor practices that I am proud to use their products. There is something to be said about really knowing what you use.

Pet said...

What really bugs me is that stores are required to have country of origin on their products-- which gives a good (though not entirely accurate) indication of whether the workers are guaranteed a living wage, whether the profits are being funneled into ethnic oppression, whether the manufacturer is concerned about their carbon footprint, etc.-- but US Customs doesn't require online stores give the same information to the customer before purchase. Sigh.

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