Every day, we work with clients who stand for more than what they do for business. They take an interest in wider causes, and engage with those causes to make a difference in our world. It’s important as a business to stand for more. VP Demand Creation Services has several sustainable use, environmentally friendly initiatives that are company standard, and we encourage our clients to participate in them, too.
We Have a Responsibility as a Company
As a longstanding printer and publisher, we understand the importance of incorporating sustainability initiatives into the running of our business to ensure that our business conduct and processes – for ourselves and our clients – will help to enrich the future.
We recycle the scrap from each of the 35 magazine titles regularly printed every year. Each machine in our facility which trims paper in any manner is attached to a “Cyclone System” which vacuums all paper scraps into a large bale (imagine a very large hay bale). Then, the scrap bale is removed from the Cyclone, weighed, and sent to a recycling facility. In 2014 alone, we recycled 345 skids of paper – 400,886 pounds!
Bales of Scrap Handled (number of skids)
- 2014 345 (avg. 1,161 lbs. per skid)
- 2013 317
- 2012 369
- 2011 328
For our foodservice clients, we offer gang printing and co-shipping initiatives, created with sustainability in mind:
- Gang printing is combining printings – multiple jobs – of sales collateral into one job. We report “fast-moving” inventory items to our clients, and they use this report to combine jobs printing on common paper stock. This can yield a 20-30 percent savings for our clients because of the reduction in consumption of paper and printing plates.
- Co-shipping is our approach where foodservice clients’ who utilize “common” brokers can shop on multiple websites but ship only one order. This reduces the carbon footprint, and cuts down on the number of shipping containers, packaging materials, and shipping labels used.
For all printing jobs, regardless of industry, we practice responsible material selection:
- We are certified by SCS Global Services (SCS) to the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) Chain of Custody standard. Certification covers the production and handling of printed material on paper stocks that are FSC 100%, FSC Mix, or FSC Recycled using the transfer system.
- Bio-Renewable Content is a set of printing inks that contain 70 percent Bio-Renewable Content (BRC). BRC is soy oil, linseed oil, etc., any material originating from plants, animals, or naturally derived sources that can be replenished in the near future. This is a big increase from prior inks, which were 10 percent soy oil.
- Our cartons are double-walled with fluting of 100 percent recycled material. The double wall helps keep the replacement rate of these cartons down since it happens less often.
Our clients adhere to a very high standard of environmental conduct through how they – and we – conduct business. We take the extra, important step of quantifying these efforts by gathering measurements on many Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to help clients prove their sustainability commitment and effectiveness – and certify them as Enviro-Smart Marketers. This certification is unique to VP Demand Creation Services.
We created a Sustainability Scorecard to help our customers meet the criteria. All of the above-mentioned sustainability initiatives are a part of this certification.
Our Clients’ Sustainability Initiatives Inspire Us
Most companies have grown aware that how they operate their business makes an impact, and their company can contribute in the world and in their communities environmentally, socially, and politically. Our clients practice responsible marketing and fulfillment through working with us, but that’s only part of their story. They are invested in other areas as well, and the initiatives they are committed to inspire us to do more. Here are examples from a few of our clients:
High Liner Foods: North America’s largest marketer of prepared frozen seafood products is committed to delivering Responsibly Sourced Seafood to its customers. They work in collaboration with other organizations and certifying bodies to ensure this. This 2014 infographic describes some of these efforts more in detail. High Liner also has plans for other areas of their business, such as energy efficiency, packaging, and recycling.
Hagerty: A global company, Hagerty still focuses on the community level. In Traverse City, for instance, the company participates and sponsors the annual Smart Commute Competition. “For car nuts, we’re pretty responsible about how we get to work. Our yearly Smart Commute Competition helps encourage us,” reports Hagerty.com. Smart Commute Week is a national initiative to help encourage individuals and businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and increase physical activity. Participants can bike, walk, jog, rollerblade, or carpool, all in an effort to reduce traffic flow and improve air quality. Hagerty also supports the classic car community through youth programs, the Historic Vehicle Association, car clubs, and an education program.
American Bonanza Society: The nonprofit arm of the Society, the ABS Air Safety Foundation, is a well-respected authority and advocate in General Aviation. One of their initiatives was participating in the Clean 100 Octane Coalition, of which the ABS Air Safety Foundation is a founding member, which helped fund the Coalition’s participation in the Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee (UAT-ARC) meetings. The purpose of this committee was “to recommend to the FAA the process by which 100LL [low lead] avgas replacement fuels should be evaluated and selected,” according to bonanza.org. These replacement fuels need to accommodate high-power piston engines such as Bonanzas. This was done successfully and was an important step toward finding an unleaded aviation fuel solution. The ABS Air Safety Foundation continues to be involved.
Sustainability is a Team Effort
Our team members take it upon themselves to contribute sustainability opportunities that make an impact on our company’s operations. These not only make an impact on the environment, they help streamline company processes and procedures, too, and set higher standards of environmental consciousness. Here are just three examples of employees making a difference:
- Ten years ago, a group of employees worked together to see whether there was an opportunity to recycle our leftover signatures instead of dumping them in the dumpster. After a thorough investigation, a solution was found and the new procedure implemented immediately. In addition to recycling the paper, we saw cost savings from our much reduced dumpster usage.
- Though we still use paper signatures, much of our workflow has transitioned into a digital environment and eliminated the use of paper proofs. By doing so, it was determined that our company would save several thousand dollars a year and enhance workflow efficiencies within the Art department and with clients since the turnaround time was greatly reduced. Digital proofing makes it simpler to share multiple proofs, and thereby also eliminates having to print multiple versions of a project during proofing.
- We also needed to be aware of how to best recycle our aluminum litho plates and Nexpress imaging cylinders after print jobs. This has long-since been a sustainability initiative of our company, but two team members determined that a local company would be a better fit for us – providing additional savings on transportation and reducing emissions.
- Skids of Consumables Ink/Plates
- 2014 337
- 2013 311
- 2012 283
- 2011 316
We also have company policies about shutting down monitors and equipment, and all are encouraged to turn off lights when they’re not needed. And during company luncheons, plates, napkins, and cups are all recyclable. We have made sustainability a priority at VP Demand Creation Services because these efforts reduce our carbon footprint, help increase our clients’ ROI, and help streamline processes.
There are so many ways your company can get smart with sustainability. Though you probably have initiatives like this going on in your company, more can always be done. What else could your company be doing?