Green Commerce Blog

Basque craft store goes green 2012-01-10 - No Comments

In the last Green Commerce Bulletin published in December, issue #8, we tried to bring some testimonies directly from the beneficiaries of Green Commerce project, the retail stores. One of the testimonies came from San Sebastian, from a small craft store located in the heart of the city.

The responsible of the store, Maite Jauregi, gave us an insight view of what has been done and what Green Commerce meant for them.

1.    Describe your retail store and activity?

Alboka is one of the stores located in the Old Part of Donostia-San Sebastian.

It specializes in Basque handicrafts, typical  autochthonous jackets (kaikus), figurines representing  the Basque sport (pelota vasca), the folk music of our land, wood carvings called Kutxa (carved oak cases where outfits or jewelry were formerly kept, etc. Another typical product is the Basque carnival puppets, and also tablecloths, aprons with indigenous designs and so on.

2.    What made you join this Green Commerce initiative?

We found out about GC through our Shopkeepers Association of the Old Town (Zaharrean) of which we are partners, dealing directly with the public authority of Fomento in San Sebastian.  Specifically, we’ve found out about GC at an event organized by the above mentioned public authority for all Trade Associations in January this year.

3.    What aspects of your business did you consider to be environmentally deficient? And which of these aspects have improved since joining the project?

When using the self-assessment tool, we found that we did not have many deficient areas.  As craft artisans we do not handle toxic chemicals, but we work with green and recycled products, for example, wood.

Alboka will soon have an Environmental Audit, which we hope will improve the sustainability of our shop.

4.    How would you value the process, the tool, the proposed solutions and the brand of  "Green Commerce"?

The Green Commerce project has helped us understand how we can become a sustainable shop without changing our sale habits.

5.    What are the aspects of this project that you consider most important?

Since we have joined the project we have become more aware of the good environmental practices that we can adapt to our daily work. For example, we have started using more sustainable packaging such as recycled cardboard instead of the plastic bubble wrap, or using cloth bags instead of plastic ones.

6.    Do you inform your clients about the project? How do they react?
From Alboka we are raising awareness among our customers, informing them about our participation in the project. Their reaction is very positive, asking us how they can get involved in the project from their work or homes.

7.    Do you have any suggestions or comments for the promoter of Green Commerce?

We would suggest that they expand Green Commerce to other sectors, not only retail, but also involving the business and household sectors. The brand of Green Commerce must be recognized by the customers and give a real value to the shop.

Through our Shopkeepers Association of Old Town (Zaharrean) we are in constant communication with the public authority of Fomento de San Sebastian, working together on this line of innovation and sustainability.

8.    What would you advise to other shops that are thinking of joining the project?

We try to inform everybody asking about the project and refer them to our Association in order to get all the information regarding the use of the self-assessment tool and how they can join Green Commerce.


Green Commerce Bulletin, issue #8 (December 2011)


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