We are a proud member of the Designers Accord. The following guidelines were inspired by a recent Designers Accord gathering where maintaining sustainable design practices in an (ugh) ailing economy was the topic of discussion. For the record, Studio 22′s stance is that these actions are “baked in” to our process.
1. Analyze what is in your control, such as paper selection, bindings, or packaging/containment method. Make choices as part of the design exploration process.
2. Make it as easy as possible to disassemble the piece (if bound or packaged) for recycling at the end of its life cycle.
3. Estimate quantities based on past usage of similar projects as closely as possible so that you don’t over-produce. Even if you recycle your leftovers, it’s still waste.
4. Cut back on unnecessary wordiness in your text to reduce page count – not only does this help save on production costs, it saves paper and reduces postage expenses.
5. Evaluate how your audience will use your communications piece. Do they want to read an 8-page product brochure, or would they rather have a line sheet with highlights? Making it convenient for the end user can result in reduced materials consumption.
What should you do during “recessionary times?” Both.
As stated on Twitter earlier this week (find us @studio_22), consumers 18-34 will be driving green trends in the next decade. We also said that when you promote your products to this group, you should do so in a sustainable way.
If you’re a brand that can demonstrate a genuine commitment to responsible practices, tell consumers your sustainability story. Do it authentically. Brands can gain a competitive edge when they engage consumers on issues that they care about. Do it on a hang-tag. Do it in your catalog. Do it on your website. The person buying your product or service will feel good about making the purchase because it supports a belief that they subscribe to. You’ll provide added value – an important quality at the moment.
Now, about those sustainable communications…those hang-tags, brochures, catalogs, reports. There’s more to a sustainable marketing piece than slapping some ink on 30% recycled content paper. We won’t bore you with substrates here, but care must be taken with the imagery and text, colors, sizing, and ink used in producing your communications. Even the firm you choose to work with has an impact on the footprint of your printed materials. Embracing this concept on the back end will push you even further ahead of the competition in the eyes of your customers.
Three pieces have been chosen to appear in Crescent Hill Books’ “Big Book of Green Design” due out this fall, and we are quite excited!
From Amazon: “This book is very much a ‘see what your colleagues are doing’, idea-sharing, inspiration-generating compilation for agencies, freelance designers, printers and other creative professionals. With a foreword by Eric Benson, creator of website named re-nourish and an expert on sustainable procedures within graphic design, the book will be comprised of eight chapters, all fully illustrated with graphic design ideas, drawings, and photographs: Recycled and FSC Papers; Vegetable-Based Inks; Green Clients; Repurposed Design; Natural Elements; Biodegradable; Anti-Packaging; and, Sharing the Word.” The following sustainably-produced pieces will be featured:
Naukabout brand introduction brochure
Evolution Markets sustainability report
LEROS Point to Point driving guide and informational brochure
This past Monday, the Sustainable Business Network of Washington hosted a lecture given by the founder of a new performance clothing company called Atayne. They are based here in the D.C. area and are giving their company a great foundation.
A sustainable business, Atayne is creating their sport tops out of…well, trash. They are sourcing recycled polyester (from plastic bottles) and activated carbon (from coconut shells) for the fabric to make their clothing. They also have a take-back program to recycle retired garments, and sponsor running events where they collect trash and recycleables (not necessarily for their garments!).
Some interesting tidbits we took away from the presentation:
25% of all chemicals are used by the textile industry.
There is an 85% chance that a garment will end up in a landfill within 1 year.
80% of environmental impact comes from an item’s use.
50% of all clothing is polyester.
It was refreshing not only to listen to a company talk about starting up and the challenges they are facing to maintain their vision, but to learn about a performance apparel company that’s based in the D.C. area!
Call us behind the times, but we recently discovered Patagonia’s Footprint Chronicles website. There, the apparel manufacturing company tells the story of specific products’ marks on the environment. The highly interactive site is not only well designed, but truly informative.
“We believe that to avoid complacency, we must constantly examine our internal processes to improve upon the positive and mitigate the negative,” said Casey Sheahan, president and CEO of Patagonia. “The Footprint Chronicles allows us to do this publicly — sort of learning out loud.”
Site users are also able to leave comments relating to each product detail. Pretty brave on Patagonia’s part!
Not every person or company can be perfect, but we can all implement strategies to reduce our impact. Could you do this in some way with your business?
The recent push from retailers for greener packaging has suppliers realizing a few additional benefits: smaller packaging reduces the amount of space and fuel needed for transporting the products, and reduces the amount of shelf space needed to display the products – thus getting more products on shelves at once.
Surprisingly, Wal-Mart is one of the retailers at the forefront of the packaging reduction movement. Perhaps, because its plan to reduce packaging by 5% in the next 6 years will save the company a projected $3.4 billion.
Solutions to greener packaging can include bio-based and recycled/recyclable content, to simple size reduction.
How can your company reduce the packaging on its products?
If you don’t manufacture products, how can you reduce the amount of resources you use to promote or sell your service?
Evidence shows that social and environmental responsibility pays–in the form of improved employee loyalty, better brand recognition, stronger community relations, and fewer environmental problems. But in order to fully realize the benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), people need to know about your commitment.
That is why we’ve launched a new division of Studio 22 — SustainabilityReports.com. The new site answers the questions that many executives and business owners have about CSR. Reporting on your practices will connect your organization with its stakeholders–investors, employees, the media, the community.
We’re scheduling kick-off meetings now for the months of October through December. Let us know how we can assist your company in creating a CSR program, or how we can help you communicate what you’re already doing!
Said GreenBiz.com yesterday:
“A majority of big companies concerned with corporate responsibility issues acknowledge that they lack an active strategy to develop new business opportunities based on those concerns.
…Nearly half (46%) of the responding companies say that corporate citizenship and sustainability are major sources of business opportunity and not only sources of business risk alone. When added to the 44% who see these issues as sources of both risk and opportunity, a total of 90% of participating companies say their company’s approach to corporate citizenship and sustainability issues reflects at least some belief in the potential rewards.”
The potential rewards include: increased brand awareness in new markets as well as your current market; innovation; increased stakeholder loyalty; employee retention; competitive edge. All of which reflect positively on your bottom line.
But, you can’t take advantage of these rewards if you aren’t reporting on your corporate social responsibility (CSR). This can take the form of an annual sustainability report, an internal or external newsletter, or a dedicated section of your website.
Maybe you’re not aware if your organization’s internal or external programs are in the realm of CSR. Consultants can assess this for you and help you put a plan into action.
With consumers and business owners becoming more conscious about their health, communities and environment, your market is changing. Realize what companies like Nike, HP, McDonald’s and the Gap have known for years—CSR reporting is worth doing. Of course, we can help.