"You can call us lazy, but millennials are powerful, and here’s some news, we’ve grown too clever for mindless consumerism, forcing producers to become more ethical, more inclusive, and more liberal if they want our money." says Lucy Harbron.
Vancouver is home to lots of growing small businesses and many of them are genuinely committed to social and environmental change and sustainability to meet the demands of the modern generation.
Here's a few of many:
Lunapads is a owned and run by women who are passionate about sustainable and gender inclusive menstrual products. Lunapads recognizes that not only women have periods and so develop products that are comfortable and appropriate for people of all genders. Their products are also super eco-friendly as they are washable and reusable! Committed to their customer's well-being, they offer a comprehensive guide on why switching to sustainable menstrual products is a great personal and financial investment.
"We’re deeply committed to building a more environmentally - friendly and socially just way of doing business to ensure a better future for menstruating people and the planet. We’re particularly proud of how our customers help divert twenty million disposable pads and tampons from North American landfills every year."
Big Bro's Barbershop is a trans-owned and run barbershop based in East Vancouver. Beyond haircuts, the shop offers a range of gender-affirming products that are rarely available in high street stores. Furthermore, Big Bro's offers accessible sliding scale prices to ensure that everyone can access their services and runs a free clothing swap.
"Big Bro’s Barbershop continues to serve its community as one of the few physical spaces dedicated to enhancing the lives of Vancouver’s trans community beyond the context of medical transition."
HEX Metals & Minerals is a jewellery company based in Vancouver, committed to community work and gender-inclusive design. They strive to use ungendered language in their work and assert that all of their designs can look and feel good on any person, regardless of their body or gender expression and identity. HEX designers use queer and trans people of colour as their models and donate 3% of their sales to Catherine White Holman Resource Centre.
Owner and designer, Adrienne Yeung says, "I am proud to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community. I am proud to be Chinese. My QPOC [queer person of colour] identity inspires everything that I do."
ZG Communications is run by an all-women team; they're passionate about sharing amazing books with the world. They help authors develop personal brands and get publicity for their work; many of their clients produce work that is feminist, political and socially conscious.
ZG Communications is a certified B Corp company, meaning they are committed to
transparency, social and environmental performance and legal accountability. They donate portions of their profits to charity, strive to offset their carbon footprint and volunteer in their local community.
Brewery and The Beast is a local beer and food company that cares about sustainability and animal welfare. They also commit to raising funds for various charities and non-profits through their events including BC Hospitality Foundation and Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship Program.
"Brewery & The Beast is proud to promote and showcase producers from BC and Alberta that are dedicated to natural, responsible and ethical farming practices. This level of care and attention results in a cleaner, healthier, low-stress environment for animals to live in, a progressive approach to caring for the farmland and environment, and a superior quality product for consumers."
6. Conscious PR
Conscious PR is a B Corp certified public relations company that strives to diversify and shift media relationships towards a more inclusive and sustainable society. Their cultural manifesto includes creating positive change and committing to uplifting women and marginalized populations.
"Conscious Public Relations Inc.’s mission is to positively change what we see in the media and online by passionately embodying Positive Relations in all aspects of our work and lives. We believe that every word published and story told can be a small but powerful step toward the awareness of, and contribution to, a more cohesive, sustainable, and conscious human force on the planet."
Reciprocal Consulting's mission is to contribute to the wellbeing and justice of Indigenous communities through programming and research. They work from the Truth and Reconciliation Act and its calls to action in order to shift how organizations engage with Indigenous communities. They also put conscious effort into supporting Indigenous undergraduates students with their research.
"We approach research with a sense of responsibility, where integrity, humility and ethical conduct is maintained, and strategic and appropriate dissemination techniques... Reciprocity means that we work to the benefit of others, such as sharing skills, mentoring, and incorporating capacity development in evaluation plans where possible."
Shorba Broth Bar is a pop-up shop that serves gluten free broth, intended to warm and nourish the soul and body. Their recipes are inspired by the owner's Indian roots and strive to share sacred traditional recipes and medicines to Vancouverites. Shorba's meats are all ethically and locally sourced from BC farms and their dishes are high in healthy and enriching ingredients.
"Shorba Broth Bar serves nourishing bone broth based beverages and meals inspired by ancient food-as-medicine wisdom to people pursuing wellness but also convenience in the modern world. We are passionate about using old world culinary and medicinal knowledge to inform our present health needs."
Vaka Street Casting is a casting agency that intentionally seeks to diversify film, commercials, television and media by representing models and actors of all races, ages, genders, body types, abilities etc. They work to change the face of media and make sure that a variety of identities get included in the images we see.
"We are excited about a world that wakes to - and celebrates - all communities and groups, especially those who are underrepresented in mainstream media."
Kasandy is a fairtrade store located in Downtown Vancouver that specializes in handmade items from artists in East African countries and other parts of the world. The store makes sure that global artisans are paid well for their art and receive support on their entrepreneurial journey. They help artists improve their product design and business acument in order to meet industry standards and then ensure their work is celebrated and well compensated. On top of this, they actively support charities and initiatives such as Steetlife Vancouver and Sisterhood of Survivors.
"By providing a platform for underemployed artists to share their work: beautiful, high-quality, design led, ethically produced and environmentally friendly one of a kind products to the global marketplace. We believe that buying small, supporting one another, and creating opportunity empowers people, their art, and communities."