The thoughtful comments and practical actions of the many sustainability-minded partners, customers and suppliers in our business ecosystem often prove inspiring.
Below are 5 takeaways from blogposts on these inspirational leaders, to prompt your sustainability effort.
1. Developing policy: Watch your language, if you want to be a leader
Canopy is an international non-profit organization dedicated to protecting our forests, species and climate. It has worked for 15 years with publishers, printers, major paper buyers, and pulp and paper mills (including Rolland) to develop and implement sustainable paper procurement policies.
Over that period, a clear gap has emerged between sustainability leaders and the rest of the pack, according to Canopy’s Neva Murtha: “In the more rigorous policies, where real leadership is displayed, there is language that states a company’s commitment to go well beyond what the local laws require, a commitment backed up with targets and timelines for implementation…”
A sustainability report that transparently reveals progress with implementation closes the loop in the best policies.
2. Setting sustainability goals: Aim for the stars or even the STARS
Colorado State University, with 33,000 students, was the first and only institution in the world to receive the STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) Platinum ranking in 2015.
STARS is considered the most comprehensive and prestigious sustainability performance measurement program in higher education, and tracks the efforts of more than 700 universities across the world.
CSU received the even more demanding STARS 2.1 ranking in 2017, and Bonnie Palmatory of the Colorado State University said: “Aiming high is good – even if we don’t get the recognition, we will still have made a lot of progress.”
3. Aligning strategy and operations: Make sustainability a company-wide priority
LUSH – the inventor, manufacturer and retailer of fresh, handmade cosmetics with 900 stores worldwide – sees sustainability as “giving back more to the planet than we are taking or consuming.”
Katrina Shum, Sustainability Officer, and Karen Moll, Ethical Buyer, said LUSH makes sustainability a strategic and operational priority, company-wide: “Our senior leadership team has defined our overall strategic goals over the next three years, and we were thrilled to see that environmental sustainability is one of our five pillars. This is integrated into the planning and budgeting process at a department level.”
As a result, LUSH teams across the business work on plans that demonstrate how their initiatives line up with the five strategic pillars – including sustainability.
Watch for the full LUSH conversation in one of our upcoming blogposts.
4. Taking action: Reduce environmental impact, wherever and however you do business
Last year entertainment powerhouse Cirque du Soleil avoided creating 2,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions at its travelling big top shows, through new ways of managing energy usage.
And this year the big top shows will be even more energy-sensitive, said Jean-François Michaud, Senior Advisor – Corporate Social Responsibility at Cirque du Soleil:
“Our big tops used to be yellow and blue, then we moved to lighter colors, and in 2017 they are grey and white. Lighter tones reflect sunlight, reducing heat under the big top, lessening energy consumption.”
This is typical of Cirque du Soleil’s drive to be an environmentally responsible citizen while playing to 11 million spectators a year – under the big top, in theaters, and in arenas.
5. Tracking environmental impact: Rely on the latest science
Environmental consulting firm Groupe AGÉCO, which conducted the life cycle assessment (LCA) of the environmental impact of Rolland papers in 2016, recommended using the newest scientific concepts in the field. This addressed limitations in the conventional methodology still generally used for forest products LCAs (e.g. inadequate assessment of the impacts of forestry on biodiversity and carbon stocks).
“Based on AGÉCO’s experience, and on the UNEP/SETAC1 Life Cycle Initiative’s recommendations, we have selected and applied new methods which are more representative of the reality,” said Francois Charron-Doucet and Madavine Tom of Groupe AGÉCO, recognized for its leading-edge LCA expertise.
All this made Rolland’s LCA even more relevant, and strengthened our reputation as the most transparent company in our industry.
1The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) launched in 2002 an International Life Cycle Partnership, known as the Life Cycle Initiative (LCI), to enable users around the world to put life cycle thinking into effective practice.