BCBusiness Innovators 2012, Debrand Services Inc. | BCBusiness

BCBusiness Innovators 2012, Debrand Services Inc. | BCBusiness
Back: 2012 BCBusiness Guide to Innovation

Congratulations to Debrand Services Inc., #14 in 2012's Most Innovative Companies in B.C.

Amelia Ufford and Wes Baker were sitting on a beach in Sri Lanka watching branded corporate jetsam flow in with the tide when they realized that branding had run headlong into the conflicting imperative for corporate social responsibility. So Ufford and Baker formed Debrand.

“We influence the waste streams by closing the loop . . . producing entry and exit strategies for all materials in a campaign,” says Ufford. She explains Debrand’s threefold strategy: shredding fabrics into fibres that can be used in new products such as clothing, insulation and furniture stuffing; debranding products and display material so that they can be used again by other companies; and consulting with clients to produce more sustainable campaigns from conception.

Last year the four-year-old company diverted 40,000 kilograms of textile waste and 20,000 kilograms of product and display detritus from landfills. Its clients include Royal Bank of Canada, Telus Corp. and B.C. Pavilion Corp. Another client, Lululemon Athletica Inc., vouches for Debrand on its website, calling its services “the only acceptable way to do business.”

Ufford points out that “the value for a client is as much in the security as the green angle.” For example, a company can’t simply round up old uniforms and other logo-covered marketing material and dump it at the front door of the Salvation Army.

It’s this marriage of environmental and secure disposal that our panel saw as truly innovative. And Debrand has clearly tapped a plump vein in the world of branded corporate waste: its revenues in 2011 were just over $300,000 – up 300 per cent from 2010.