Orca Friendly Products at Ace!
Pacific Whale Watch Association and Ace Hardware stores in Anacortes and Friday Harbor, WA Launch “Orca Friendly Products”
Ace is the place for… saving orcas!
In a unique partnership, Ace Hardware is partnering with the Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA) in helping its customers find “Orca Friendly” products in its stores.
The pilot project will begin in Ace stores in Anacortes and Friday Harbor – Orca Country – and include in-store signs, shelf tags and labels identifying certain products as not harmful to marine wildlife, and “Pacific Whale Watch Association Approved.”
The idea of Orca Friendly Products labeling surfaced first with Capt. Hobbes Buchanan (below). owner of San Juan Island Whale & Wildlife Tours and Black Fish Tours of Friday Harbor.
“It just seemed like a great way to help the whales. As whale watch operators we work every day to reduce our footprint on the water, and we all have to do that from shore,” explained Capt. Buchanan.
“Gandhi used to say, ‘be the change you wish to see in the world,’ and people get it. We know there’s a big constituency of consumers especially here in the Pacific Northwest who want more information to inform their buying behavior, to make sure what they’re putting on their lawn or using to clean up around their house isn’t harming our endangered Southern Resident orcas – or any creature out there. Now, in these Ace stories in Anacortes and Friday Harbor, they can begin by looking for that Orca Friendly label.”
“Who doesn’t want to be Orca Friendly? We’re thrilled that Ace Hardware has stepped up like this to launch this pilot project with the Pacific Whale Watch Association,” explains Michael Harris, Executive Director of PWWA, representing 38 companies operating out of 21 ports in BC and Washington. “We believe this test run in these Ace stores in Anacortes and Friday Harbor will ultimately spread across North America, and we think the world.”
“The Dolphin-Safe Tuna campaign also started out as a great idea by our friends at Earth Island Institute in Berkeley, and that grew to what Time magazine listed as one of the top 100 environmental campaigns in history.” Harris continues. “We feel this Orca Friendly Products partnership with Ace could become as prolific and important as Dolphin-Safe – Orcas live in every ocean in the world, humans on every continent. What we do on shore makes a huge difference in their lives.”
There are currently 83 individuals in the Southern Resident Community of killer whales, with an 84th member, the L-Pod orca Tokitae or “Lolita,” now at Miami Seaquarium. The Southern Residents are listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA).
Ace Hardware is a powerful new partner in orca recovery. Founded in 1924, the company now has 4,700 stores around the globe independently owned and operated by local entrepreneurs. Ace prides itself as being “the helpful place,” with a long record of giving back to the communities it serves. Since 1991, it’s been a proud partner of Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals and the American Red Cross. Through its stores, and collaborating with vendor partners and employee giving, Ace has raised over $72 million for CMN Hospitals and continues to support the American Red Cross through product donation when a disaster strikes.
In Orca Country, Ace’s commitment to community now extends to the Southern Resident Community.
“It just reinforces the message that Ace and the whale watch community want to send,” explains Randy Burgess, Owner of Ace Hardware in Anacortes. “When it comes to recovering these orcas we have to do everything we can, including making sure the things we buy and use in our homes protect their homes, too.”
“We’ve started by putting these ‘Orca Friendly Products’ signs and labels in our stores here in Anacortes and Friday Harbor, and then see we’ll see if we can branch this idea out to other Ace Hardware stores,” continues Burgess. “We’ve always carried a wide range of green products, but now our customers will see a ‘superpod’ of Ace’s biodegradable lawn, garden and cleaning products, all approved by PWWA as non-toxic to marine life, all very easy to find. We’re very excited about this partnership.”
HOW TO HELP: For all those who want to help the whales, become a Member of The Center for Whale Research! The Pacific Whale Watch Association is proud to be a longtime supporter of Ken Balcomb and his team. Help them help the whales. www.whaleresearch.com.