Conscious Business:
Green Business Grown Up

May 2, 2016 / Buzz

You’ve heard of "Green Business", but what about Conscious Business?

It means we looked at each little step in the process of printing & framing our customers’ & clients’ orders, and actively sought out ways to reduce our footprint. After 2+ years of sustainability initiatives, stewarded by amazing Sustainability C4um (made up of members of our work family, who are wildly passionate about ensuring the longevity of our planet, for generations to come) the result was outstanding. We became a Zero Landfill Manufacturer. That’s right! Absolutely NOTHING from your orders will go to a landfill (okay, this is a little presumptuous… but if you haven’t placed an order yet, we’d like to humbly suggest that you do 😉)

To us, living consciously is second nature. It’s in our DNA (Consciousness is one of the C4 values we live by, along with Community, Collaboration & Creativity), it’s within our walls (literally, with our energy-efficient HVAC systems, our heat reflective roof, 70% post-consumer content flooring & more), and it’s in our habits (from how we source materials, to how we consume them, to how we handle waste).

A Focus On Sustainability Even Before It Was Cool

Across two generations, our family-owned company has always taken environmental responsibility into account in our business decisions. Since many of our products are made from wood, our earliest efforts, decades ago, were focused on supporting sustainable forestry initiatives, starting with our co-founding of an initiative designed to ensure that our industry never removed more trees than it planted, and evolving into supporting other well-established replanting programs.

Carrying The (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) Torch

A couple of years ago, our Chairperson of the Board & Co-Owner, Lauri Feinsod, invited our Sustainability C4um to dream big (a "BHAG", as we like to call them, a.k.a. big, hairy, audacious goal), when thinking about where to focus their energy. What they came up with, was a mission for us to become a zero landfill manufacturer. They knew that accomplishing this would be no east feat, given that we actually make things – completely custom, non-restockable wall art & decor – and have been doing so, for over 50 years, but they were absolutely certain it was worth doing, and could actually be possible.

Recycling Flash Mob

So, our Sustainability C4um set about raising awareness across our entire organization, creating new production habits, finding new answers, and forging new partnerships with both our suppliers and recyclers. A favorite among our work family, was the time some of our passionate Sustainability leaders (affectionately named the Green Team for performance sake) burst onto the production floor in a spontaneous "trash mob" (a riff on the "flash mob" phenomenon). They dropped their inhibitions to dance, sing and rally around the space as they dropped recyclable material into bins and made up impromptu rhymes about what materials go into which receptacles. Their performances were unscripted and unrehearsed – and a bit on the goofy side – so we don’t expect any spying talents scouts would have been taking down names. But the trash mob was impossible to ignore – or forget!

Also memorable, was the Sustainability C4um’s monthly contest where employees were challenged to guess that month’s power bill figure, to promote awareness of how much power a large workshop like our uses. Since most of us understand the meaning and value of a dollar more than a kilowatt-hour, they thought putting the guessing-game in dollars would connect better. The objective: to drive home the scale of our energy usage and give all our employees a picture of the impact we can accomplish even with small incremental changes. It amazed us how small changes make a large difference!

Mindfully Expanding Into A Greener Business

We believe that a business should be like a plant that nourishes the soil it grows in – the soil of the community that sustains the business, and the planet that sustains the community. Among our many efforts to add to our campus footprint without expanding our environmental footprint, we’ve installed optimally efficient lighting and plumbing systems, renovated office spaces with upcycled flooring, and decorated a distinctive designer lobby with paneling made from reclaimed barnwood that we designed and produced in-house! We’ve also concentrated on conscious disposal of everything we’ve replaced – recycling over 7,000 pounds of reclaimed electrical wiring, and donating all usable plumbing and construction materials to Habitat for Humanity ReStores.

These initiatives are just a sampling of what we do here to help nourish the soil we grow in – and they’re just the first of many steps forward to not only be a Zero Landfill Manufacturer, but to also inspire and drive sustainability through innovation.

Learn more about how we help the planet and how you can too!