Here are some of the ways we put our mission into action.
Office – We are headquartered in Providence, RI, in a building that had been abandoned for over thirty years. Built in the 1920s as a gas station, complete with a castle-like turret, the property had fallen into disrepair. With the help of community members, architects, volunteers, contractors, painters, solar panelists, and more, we transformed it into a fully rehabbed, solar-powered office space. In the adjacent vacant lot, we planted an organic, raised-bed garden, too. The tomatoes were pretty tasty this summer! (Don’t worry, we have no plans to introduce a tomato-flavored gum. At least, not yet…)
Packaging – We use recyclable packaging on all our products– primarily, recycled cardboard. No excess plastic. No packing peanuts. No blister packs. Fun fact: if we had used blister packs on our gum from the start, at this point we would have created enough waste to fill one and a half Boeing 747s. That’s a lot of waste!
Supported Employment – We believe in empowering people with disabilities, otherwise known as differing abilities. To that end, we are proud to work with Opportunity House, where our Glee Gum Pops and Pouches get packed, and AccessPoint RI, where our Make Your Own Candy Kits get assembled. The work service programs at both organizations help employees gain skills and become more independent.
Ingredients – We source the highest quality ingredients we can for all our products. Most conventional gum contains artificial flavors, colors (like Blue 2 Lake or Red 40), sweeteners (like Aspartame or Acesulfame K), preservatives (like BHT), and 100% synthetic gum base. In Glee Gum, we instead use natural flavors, colors (like red beet and beta carotene), sweeteners (like the Fair Trade cane sugar in Classic Glee Gum and xylitol in Sugar-Free Glee), and chicle gum base. No additives. No preservatives. All allergy-friendly, all delicious!
Tree Planting – Since 2008, Verve has partnered with Trees for the Future to plant 26,000 trees (and counting). Trees for the Future improves the livelihoods of impoverished farmers by revitalizing degraded lands. Our company also engages in tree planting locally. Here’s a quick and easy way for YOU to help plant a tree!
Education – We created Make Your Own Candy Kits to help children think about environmental and social issues in innovative, developmentally appropriate ways. Building upon ideas explored in the kits, the Learn More section of our website includes free lesson plans, supplemental stories and essays, and more. We also support schools with an environmental focus, like The Cloud Forest School of Monteverde, Costa Rica. And the prize money from our Green America People & Planet Award recently enabled us to ship complimentary Make Your Own Candy Kits to 250 public school classrooms in the US.
Scholarships – The Intercultural Maya University of Quintana Roo (UIMQROO) is an incredible public university in Mexico. Chicle, the tree sap used in Glee Gum, is harvested sustainably from this region— often by family members of UIMQROO students. We’ve seen first-hand how the harvest of non-timber forest products like chicle helps to conserve the rainforest and to provide ongoing sources of income in impoverished areas. UIMQROO gives students the tools they need to create positive change in fields like agro-ecology, social entrepreneurship, and community health. If you’d like to help us support students there, we’ll match your donation!