• Company vehicles that reduce emis-
sions or dependence on fossil fuels
such as hybrids or biodiesel. Look
for trucking companies that incor-
Ensuring Eco-Friendly Packaging porate biofuel.
One of the biggest ways to reduce waste is through your packaging system. Through non-profits. Join up with
There are so many more eco-friendly options these days, it would take an entire an organization that is taking action
article to get into the details. In fact, Organic Processing actually covered this environmental intitatives. One Percent
specifically in “Breaking Down Sustainable Packaging Options” in the For The Planet is a group of hundreds
March/April 2008 issue, which you can read at www.organicprocessing.com. of companies that donate 1 percent of
LCA and the soon-to-be-updated MERGE b oth offer their sales to a network of over 1400
ways to analyze packaging options. The new owner environmental organizations world-of MERGE, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, “Aveda uses a minimum wide. Co-op America, a consumer
also has great advice on their website, and green business awareness
www.sustainablepackaging.org. of 80 percent post-consumer and activism group, is another
When Aveda was researching packaging great way to learn more about
options, they used a variety of resources recycled materials in their green initiatives and support
including the pre-updated MERGE, along eco-awareness. Green 2 Gold,
with a “Materials Use Toolkit,” which features packaging, reducing their a non-profit that helps develop
a plastic hierarchy that ranks the material by need for virgin plastic by green buiness ideas and eco-
its environmental impact. Today, Aveda uses a friendly solutions, is also a great
minimum of 80 percent (and up to 95 percent) 300 tons annually.” resource.
post-consumer recycled materials (PCR) in their Through employees. Encourage
packaging, reducing their need for virgin plastic by your employees to take part in eco-
300 tons annually. Their bottles are all recyclable, with the friendly practices by creating car pool-
exception of the cap, which they are launching a collection project for this year. ing and bike to work programs. Some
companies also offer paid time off or
reward systems for employees to volun-
teer with environmental organizations.
describing all the activities and inputs and then analyzing each piece of the
process to determine where waste exists, what creates waste, and how you might
change the process to eliminate the waste.
Supporting Other Green Efforts
Through your marketing. Use of PCR materials and other eco-friendly products for marketing efforts at trade shows and such can make a huge difference.
By simply choosing to print their Spring Catalog on PCR paper without chlorine,
Earth shoes preserved 494 trees, saved 209,499 gallons of waste water and conserved 347,350,000 BTUs of energy. Also make sure that you chose a marketing
partner that specializes in sustainable companies so that they understand your
vision and can help you come up with creative green marketing strategies.
Through your purchases. From supplies to services, businesses have more
green alternatives to choose from today than ever. Research everything that your
company spends money on and see if there is a more eco-friendly option. In
their National Green Pages, Co-op America lists thousands of companies that
provide green products and services. Try to purchase:
• Office supplies made from PCR materials (paper, pens, binders, etc).
• Equipment that is Energy Star rated (printers, monitors and computers).
• Products that avoid or minimize hazardous materials in the product and during manufacture (powder coated rather than spray painted products, etc).
• Products that are certified through an eco-label such as Green Seal (for multiple items including paper, cleaners and paints), Forest Stewardship Council
(FSC) for wood products or Cradle to Cradle for office seating and other-product categories. Many other eco-labels exist; not all are equally rigorous,
but they are useful for identifying products with environmental attributes.
• Services, such as web hosting, that incorporate renewable energies such as solar
and wind power. Many green office cleaning services are available, too.
You Can Do It
Sustainability is a process, not an
end. All it takes to get started is you
saying that it’s time to start. Yes, it takes
some time. And yes, it does take some
resources. But the benefits to your
company, employees, the communities
in which you operate and your customers are tangible and valuable. All
you have to do is take a first step.
Michael S. Brown is a principal of Brown
( www.bw-environmen-tal.com), an environmental
consulting firm that has
worked with many compa-
nies from Aveda and Stonyfield Farm to
FedEx and Ben & Jerry’s. You can reach him