As a small family business, the sustainable nature of Canterbury Bears has been an implicit part of how we have operated for the past forty years.
Our relationships with suppliers are always personal and our fabrics are carefully sourced. We use hand-blown glass eyes made by artisans in the Midlands; wool, tweed and tartans from weavers in Yorkshire and Scotland. When we source from beyond the UK, the process is a thoughtful one that is made because we demand the very best quality and in those particular fabrics there is not a viable British alternative, such as silks from Japan.
Jointed bears are created using sustainably-sourced English wood. We use a polyester filling, because it is soft, light and hygienic but is most importantly made from 100% recycled materials. For our more ‘solid’ bears we use 100% wood wool as a stuffing, essentially wood slivers cut from FSC® timber. Wood wool was used extensively in the 19th century, particularly by the pottery industry as a packaging material. In the 1950s the invention of polystyrene forced most of the wood wool factories to close. Now, in a more eco-friendly time, this incredible material is making a comeback and we are proud to be part of that revival.
Our bears are hand-made, in a small workshop where an ethos of ‘recycle, reuse and repurpose’ drives us forward. Although adhering to the highest safety standards our machinery was made in a time when longevity and functionality were essential design features … and the fact that we still use them is testament to that. In essence we are a refreshingly ‘low-tech’ business, effectively operating in the digital age!
Of course, sustainability is also about ethics, about how we treat the people behind Canterbury Bears, not only our suppliers and customers but most importantly our employees. We are a family business and employ a small workforce who are incredibly valued for their skills and dedication to making the very best British bears: without them we would not be able to supply you with a bear to last a lifetime and we are deeply grateful for their place in the Canterbury Bear story.