A Policy is a Path – Part 1: Planning Environmental Sustainability into your Company’s Future
Some days, learning something from a client can be as simple as rethinking a typeface choice because of their reaction. Sometimes, it can completely revolutionize the way you do business.
A couple of years ago we were meeting with a potential client about a sustainability report. During the interview the prospect asked us, “What’s your firm’s sustainability policy?” It totally caught us off guard. We knew that we didn’t have a good answer to that, and truthfully, it really bugged us that we didn’t. It was a critical realization for our firm and we decided to make that positive step forward.
Although the “green” movement was well underway and the word “sustainability” was as common as most conjunctions, as a firm we never really considered how we could become more sustainable beyond the basics, such as recycling paper. It’s not just us, either. When you look at the green issues of many major design publications, the main focus is environmental issues – but sustainability is way more than that.
As our prospect, now client told us, many companies are already engaging in sustainable behavior, but haven’t formalized the effort. We decided to formalize a true, holistic policy, covering all three tenets of sustainability – environmental, economic and social. We started with the most recognizable branch of sustainability, looking at how our work affected the environment.
At Savage we already recycled – but how effectively? We decided to elevate our efforts:
- We had been recycling paper. Now we print on both sides of the sheet and then recycle it.
- We used to have one central recycling bin, but realized most material wasn’t making it to the bin because people were always busy at their desks. To increase the volume of recycling we purchased smaller recycling bins for each employee’s desk.
- With approximately 30 employees, we drink a lot of soft drinks, so we recycle as many of those cans as we can.
- When conference rooms and bathrooms aren’t being used, we turn off the lights.
- Since we purchase a lot of printing, we decided to only work with FSC-certified printers, and we include at least one FSC-certified or environmentally-friendly paper option in each set of print specifications.
This is only the tip of the iceberg, and it may be a drop in the collective environmental bucket, but we’re doing our part – and every person who works here supports it.