April '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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64 || P R I N T W E A R A P R I L 2 0 1 7 SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES 8 EASY WAYS A COMPANY CAN BECOME SUSTAINABLE: 1. Switch to 100 percent post-consumer waste (PCW) paper and packaging. PCW is made entirely from recycled paper and requires 45 percent less en- ergy to make. 2. Use biodegradable cleaners. This reduces exposure to harsh toxins and chemicals for both employees and the environment. 3. Use compact fluorescent or LED lights. These may cost a bit more, but they last longer and use less energy. 4. Replace older equipment with newer energy-efficient models. 5. Implement a company wellness pro- gram. Fit employees are less likely to be absent. Such programs can also reduce health insurance premiums. 6. Go paperless. Send invoices via email. Encourage employees not to print emails and other communications. Re- duce paper files. 7. Reuse or recycle packaging. If boxes are unmarked, use them to send out orders. If they are marked, have a recy- cling program for cardboard in place. 8. Volunteer. Have employees pick a char- ity and volunteer in support of that charity. the bottom of an emailed invoice or a flyer included with an order. While sustainable practices were most likely not put in place as a marketing tool, there is no harm in reaping the benefits that such a program can bring. PROGRAM OPTIONS To receive the benefits of a sustainability program, a company must first start one. There are a few things to remember if the new sustainable business initiatives are go- ing to be successful. The first is that no suc- cessful sustainable business practice was set up overnight or implemented all at once. When starting a sustainability program for your business, the first thing to do is select a few areas of focus and get those initiatives implemented before moving on to the next set of goals. There are many worthy and laudable goals to choose from, but compa- nies that elect to pursue too many at once will often find that their programs sag un- der their own weight. Setting a few goals and pursuing those to completion will give your company's sustainable business pro- gram a much better chance of success. The next thing to remember is this: all sustainability goals must be measurable. For example, it isn't enough to say you'll reduce energy consumption. There needs to be a measurable goal set which can be easily communicated to employees and for which the benefits can easily be seen. Reducing energy consumption by 10 percent over the next two years is a goal that can be mea- sured, and the benefits can be seen in re- duced power bills and perhaps the same or increased production with less energy use. A clear goal that demonstrates easily-seen ben- efits is also easier to communicate to em- ployees. It will more likely be supported by those employees as well. Numerous studies have shown that employees are more apt to accept and support change and follow new policies if those new policies make sense to them. Communication is a key factor in the suc- cess of a sustainable business initiative. For businesses that have employees, the costs and benefits of the company's sustainable business practices need to be communicated regularly. Some companies will incorporate that communication into bonus programs for employees. Others will present quarterly continued on page 95

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