April '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 7 A P R I L P R I N T W E A R || 63 also focus on social or financial concerns and center around creating a company that has long-term value, or on creating pro- grams that support company employees, customers, and the communities in which the company exists. There is no cut-and-dry policy agenda that covers all businesses hop- ing to be sustainable. The practices put in place will be different for each organization. Reaching sustainability may seem like a big and overwhelming goal, but that's not the case. Making a business sustainable does not require completely overhauling the ex- isting production structure or changing every policy in a single day. Most sustain- ability programs start small, changing one thing at a time and receiving the benefits in increments. Installing energy-efficient light- ing or windows helps reduce energy con- sumption. Replacing old equipment with newer models that consume less energy or have less harmful output also reduces power consumption and energy costs. Sending out invoices and statements via email rather than on paper reduces the consumption of paper and ink or toner. Setting up a bonus program for employees who lose weight or quit smoking can lead to reduced spending on overall employee healthcare. These small things will build up over time and eventu- ally generate a substantial benefit to the en- vironment and, in many cases, the bottom line of the business. While the main goal of creating a sustain- able business is to be a better steward of available resources and to create a more en- vironmentally and socially responsible com- pany, sustainable business practices are also financially beneficial to the company itself. Investing in more energy-efficient equip- ment helps save on power costs. Using eco- friendly chemicals, cleaners, and inks can reduce the need for special disposal proce- dures and may help a company avoid po- tential conflicts with existing environmen- tal laws that often have heavy fines. Even something as simple as lessening paper us- age can result in reduced costs. Implementing a company wellness pro- gram can lead to healthier employees, lower health insurance costs, and a decrease in the number of sickness-related absences. The government may also offer subsidies or monetary support for businesses that put sustainable practices in place. Another, perhaps unintended, benefit of becoming a sustainable business stems from the fact that environmental protec- tion and social responsibility are important to many consumers. Granted, there are those who don't care or are unwilling to support such endeavors if they raise prices, but a reasonable portion of any given com- pany's customer base will likely have some commitment to preventing and reversing environmental damage. Companies that practice sustainability are not only do- ing good for the environment, they may also be making themselves more attractive to their customer base. Such companies should let their customers know about the sustainability programs being used. The notification could be as simple as a note on

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