Over the past two years I have had countless discussions with customers about the topic of fur, sustainability, wildlife conservation, support for rural and Indigenous cultures, craftsmanship, animal welfare and animal rights. I always enjoy these conversations, providing they stay respectful and educational - for the most part they do.
In my past roles, I led Canada’s trap research and testing program, working with veterinarians, wildlife biologists, government officials, trappers and Indigenous elders to guide this work, collaborating with government agencies in Canada, the USA, Europe and Russia. I developed Sustainability and Traceability programs for some of the world's largest luxury fashion brands in North America and Europe. I participated and spoke at World Conservation Congresses held by the IUCN, and I helped to run land-based skills programs in remote First Nations communities in the Northwest Territories and Northern Manitoba to address social issues for youth at risk.
From 1996 when I received my Environmental Studies Degree at Trent University to 2020 when I returned to Peterborough, I was heavily involved in programs like these based in Toronto and Ottawa. During this time, I travelled extensively to meet with people in rural and Indigenous communities, government elected officials, civil servants, scientists, fashion designers, craftspeople, exporters and retailers. The work was very interesting, and it took me to 5 Continents, 27 countries, every Canadian Province and Territory, multiple US States, multiple EU Member States, Eastern Europe and Asia, earning over 1 million Aeroplan miles. I was fortunate to make many connections and lifetime friendships around the world.
Now, having been back in Peterborough for two years, it is time that I begin to reflect on these experiences and how they impact and influence our family business. You will see a link below that takes you to a new ‘sustainability’ section on our website. I believe it is more appropriately called: “Our Philosophy”, as it truly represents what we stand for at Cahill’s. From my experience, a lot of company’s ‘Sustainability’ statements and positions are more about saying things they want people to hear, going with the latest trends, with the hidden objective of driving sales and discouraging ‘anti’ campaigns against them. Yes, some are very authentic. I guess I’ve seen the best and the worst.
Here in this blog, I am attempting to present what we believe AND what we practice here at Cahill’s. While our beliefs will not mesh with everyone, I believe it is important to clarify what we do and why we do it. I am also hoping that this will become a forum for the sharing of thoughts, knowledge and experiences about important social, environmental and ethical challenges that we face in society today.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I encourage you to also read “Our Philosophy” to better understand what we stand for at Cahill’s, how we select our current collections, the services we offer, and what you can expect as we continue to evolve as a local family-owned business, located in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.