Why did corporations that ‘leaned’ toward green in 2008 perform better financially?

11 03 2009

Design Goes Green – The first of a series of articles by Green Printer on the cross-section between the environment, business and the creative communications industry.

By Contributing Writer Melissa Chungfat.

Every day we hear about companies going under and pub meals having more value than bank stocks. At at time when profits are low across the nation, some company executives think that now is not the time to implement environmental initiatives. So why did companies committed to sustainability in 2008 perform better that those that didn’t?

Management consulting firm A.T. Kearney did a study comparing the performances of  99 companies with strong commitments to sustainability against industry averages from May to November 2008. Companies that leaned towards green outperformed industry averages by 15% over the six months in 16 of the 18 industries.

As our environment continues to be a growing concern among people, more companies have been changing their practices in response to changing consumer demand. A key component to engaging target audiences is effective communication design.

Like many business people, designers are increasingly concerned about the environment and many have collaborated with their clients and printers to green their creative processes.  And what better partnership exists than people who are dedicated to the shared goal of sustainability?

AIGA, the professional association for design, is dedicated to providing designers with practical information related to sustainable business practices. The association featured the Adobe Creative Suite 3 packaging process; a great example of how engaging design can effectively communicate an organization’s goals.

Tolleson Design collaborated with the Adobe team and design consultancy IDEO to create an eco-friendly packaging system for Creative Suite 3 that eliminated waste paper.

Studies showed that up to 300,000,000 printed pages were being used for printed user guides with a shelf life of 18 to 24 months before becoming obsolete. Adobe wanted to ensure it wasn’t transferring the ecological load from one part of the process to another.

To help the environment in their production process, the company used an FSC-certified printer and 100% recycled material for a portion of the CS3 box. In addition, the majority of their suppliers use vegetable-based inks.

The right design conveys specific images and messages. But much more credibility is added when both designers and businesses practice what they preach by not only speaking green, but being green with the materials they use and their business operations.

In the context of a growing  – and often, outperforming – green economy, the partnership between designers and businesses is invaluable.

Want to know how much greenhouse gas, trees and wastewater you can save by using affordable, eco-friendly paper products? Find out and keep track of your organization’s environmental savings today by adding Green Printer’s Eco-Calculator widget code to your blog or website.


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