There’s something very personal about a pen. It’s what you use to sign your name. Get used to your favorite one and you’ll search the whole house for it, even if a tacky logo mug full of crappy ballpoints sits within easy reach. That’s why from a green marketing perspective, it’s critical to tell the green pen story from the point of view of the writer.
Personally, I like a rollerball pen, for its frictionless speed across the paper in a rabid idea jam, and the scan-ability of its fine jet black lines. So I was pleased to discover that Pilot has a Green Pen version of this very item. The BegreeN GreenBall, has a case made from 89.2% recycled plastic, and refills are available in black, blue or red. Yet Pilot has missed a huge opportunity to tell this story. First, a Google search for Pilot Begreen Greenball does not lead quickly to their site. More search variations lead to a purchased link which simply goes to their home page. By digging around I finally find the BeGreen page, with nary a green benefit in sight. Obviously Pilot just doesn’t get it. Skip the Pilot site and buy it from Frogfile.
For the ultimate eco and ethically responsible pen, I turned to Saul Brown, owner of Saul Good Gift Co, an expert on the subject, having compiled market research on the subject of green pens for the Net Impact CESR Challenge held in Vancouver in March 2006.
“People like specific pens because they are comfortable to use and also for specific attributes like how fine the point is and how smoothly it flows over a page.” Saul says. “If a ‘green’ pen doesn’t meet these needs then people won’t want to use them, even if they want to support sustainable business.”
Saul takes these attributes to heart, offering pens handmade from recycled hardwoods by TradeWorks, a Vancouver-based manufacturer who helps employ and train disadvantaged women from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The pens feel beautiful, are made locally, are refillable, can be custom laser-engraved, and help offer hope for Canada’s poorest neighbourhood.
It’s an eco product with performance and an unbeatable story to tell. Now there’s something you can feel good signing off on.
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