At the end of the summer, IWCO Direct was invited to participate in an important national sustainability initiative with one of our clients. The client has more than 60,000 employees and the company’s chairman encourages his employees and their families to engage in eco-friendly practices. We sent two members of our team to the client’s Sustainable Supply Chain Summit and they came home with new ideas and excitement about ways to drive positive environmental change.
How’re We Doing So Far?
One of the biggest takeaways from the summit was the message that “Engagement is Key: inspire, educate, motivate, incentivize, and measure.” Our 11-member Environmental Council, led by Karen Weil, is already actively engaged in implementing best practices across IWCO Direct, and presentations at the summit confirmed that their focus is in the right place.
I’m proud to report that our Environmental Council can check the box on the following best practices, all of which were mentioned at the event:
- Set sustainability goals, track performance, and demonstrate transparency
- Identify the biggest environmental impacts of our products and find ways to reduce them
- Include supply chain when life-cycle assessment (LCA) is intiated
- Communicate “top down” support
More than Cans, Bottles, and Paper
While it’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming a company’s commitment to sustainability is demonstrated just by recycling cans, bottles, and office paper, there are many categories of commodities identified with environmental impact. The categories identified by our client include:
- Cable Fiber
- Building & Grounds Services
There was also an interesting parallel to the production efficiency initiatives taking place across IWCO Direct. One of the keys to sustainable sourcing is identifying processes that are creating unnecessary environmental impact. By eliminating unnecessary elements of those processes, measurable savings in the use of electricity and water, and reducing waste, can also have a direct and indirect financial impact.
Sustainability Starts With Us
The impact of our Environmental Council is also demonstrated by what some might consider mundane activities. In the past few weeks, our Environmental Council led a fall clean-up initiative across our facilities in Minnesota and Pennsylvania. Groups of volunteers collected trash and large debris—about seven to eight bags at each site, helping to improve the environment in four different communities.
Sometimes having an impact on our environment happens right outside our doors. I am proud of the progress our Environmental Council is making and know we will continue to see positive change from their efforts. For more information about our commitment to sustainability and how we’re leading the charge toward eco-conscious production, please view our Sustainability Practices and Environmental Policy.
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