Samuels says going the carbon neutral route demonstrates more of a commitment to the environment than simply purchasing “green” power. Also, he believes there’s a greater potential for companies buying “green” power to be examples of green washing since it is a simple step to take and only addresses the carbon emissions related to a company’s power usage, assuming it goes 100 percent green power.
Although not the objective, Pictorial’s efforts have had a financial payoff derived from greater production efficiency, reduced energy usage and enhanced employee involvement, along with being a marketing asset. The company attributes more than $4 million in recent revenue gains to new corporate clients that sought out the printer because of its environmental policies and practices.
Corporations, Johnson & Johnson among them, want to better position themselves with shareholders and customers by being environmentally responsible. This philosophy is being applied to their printed communications in general, but has also given rise to new opportunities in the form of corporate social responsibility, philanthropy and sustainability reports.
Taking Measured Steps
The roots of the current environmental initiatives at L.P. Thebault, in Parsippany, NJ, also trace back to its ISO 9001 certification. “ISO 9001 established a platform for process management, metrics, analysis and corrective action at our company,” notes Don Seitz, senior vice president of sales and marketing.
“We wanted to get the process right; get our workflow right,” adds David Podmayersky, director of continuous improvement and sustainability. “We set very stringent parameters for waste and defect control. Having gotten that done, we looked at ISO 14001, but all it would have done for us is put process to our environmental program, and were already way beyond that.
“We opted to go down the path of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) in conjunction with Ceres because it advocates public transparency in sustainability reporting that is much more robust than ISO 14000. ISO doesn’t require you to report outwardly,” Podmayersky explains.