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Learn From the Winners - Patient News Publishing

In this week’s installment of Going Green’s Learn from the Winners, we hear from Alice Miller, IT Director for Patient News Publishing, winner of the 2010 Environmental Innovation Award for Environmental Sustainability and Your Community.

By Gail Nickel-Kailing
Published: August 29, 2010

. In Partnership with:

Co-sponsored by:

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On the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, WhatTheyThink announced the winners of the 2010 WhatTheyThink Environmental Innovation Awards, given in partnership with Unisource Worldwide, Inc. and the Unisource respect™ Printers’ Program. This year’s awards were co-sponsored by Heidelberg USA, Neenah Paper and NewPage Corporation. The Environmental Innovation Awards recognize companies that are making real and concrete contributions to innovation, implementation, and communication of environmental solutions. Five awards were presented to industry leaders who have developed environmental solutions within the design, production, and delivery value chain for printed graphic communications. Our 10-week series - Learn from the Winners - introduces each of the winners of the Environmental Innovation Awards and highlights their award-winning programs and initiatives. By the end of the series, we will have described real and concrete innovation, implementation and communication of environmental solutions, and you will have a checklist for a lean, green, and sustainable printing company. Patient News Publishing was the winner of the 2010 WhatTheyThink Environmental Innovation Award for Environmental Sustainability and Your Community, which recognized a company that is involved in an environmentally progressive community program; that is, a company that is doing something for either their staff or the community at large.  Alice Miller, IT Director for Patient News Publishing, tells about her company’s many internal and external programs that support both the environment and the community:
Patient News Publishing (PNP) is located in Haliburton, Ontario, a rural community of 5,000 that swells to 250,000 when seasonal cottagers arrive. In 2006, we launched an internal environmental program to handle our internal waste, a mandate which expanded to encompass all of the company’s operations from production to cleaning and transportation. Once our own internal environmental processes were established, PNP wanted to assist our employees and community to become more environmentally aware and progressive. Our environmental team, (Strategic Consumable and Recycle Assessment Program - SCRAP), continues to develop and implement programs to assist our employees and local, regional, and international communities to “go green”. It is comprised of 16% of Patient News Publishing staff. The team researches, develops, and recommends environmental policies, practices, and products that are reviewed and approved by Senior Management and members are provided with the necessary time and resources to accomplish their goals. As part of the Global community, Patient News is committed to leading by example as well as through dollar and volunteer contributions to diverse programs. These include a global conference on Climate Change – Aasivik Fire and Ice 2009, working with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ontario Stewardship to plant more than 4,000 trees in 2010 which will also be pledged to the United Nations 2010 Billion Tree Campaign, partnering with the Toronto Zoo as part of an international recycling movement to save gorillas in the Congo, providing content for our clients and readers that is designed to increase environmental awareness, and helping other companies to reduce their carbon footprint while we reduce our own, through award-winning www.catchinggreen.com a free information portal, among other strategies.
Internal Initiatives in Place
We are committed to ongoing reduction of our carbon footprint by maximizing efficiency and by helping others to do so as well. In addition to the use of vegetable-based inks, water-based coatings, and environmental cleaning products, we are Forest Stewardship Council accredited, as is 100% of the paper we use. Here are some of Patient News Publishing’s other business-oriented initiatives.
  • Cardboard boxes used in paper delivery returned to company sending them. This has reduced more than 8,500 paper boxes going to landfill in the first year alone.
  • We are exploring paper strapping methods which will be recyclable and uses fewer resources to manufacture, versus plastic strapping which we presently use.
  • Our company truck is used for mail induction in Toronto and Buffalo and has a daily maintenance of the truck tires to maximize fuel efficiency.
  • Through production efficiencies we maximize the loads in the truck to reduce the number of shipments.
  • On every return run our truck picks up supplies from our various suppliers eliminating the need for them to deliver our major commodities.
  • We arranged to combine and co-ordinate the delivery of paper supplies once to our location so that our supplier would not be required to make three separate deliveries to three separate companies.
  • Untreated wooden skids are offered to employees and community to be taken home for reuse. These skids are primarily used for wood stoves, a primary heat source for homes in Central Ontario.
  • Suppliers are chosen based on their environmental policies.
  • Planting 4200 trees and also pledging to the 2010 Billion Tree Campaign to exceed FSC requirements.
SCRAP - An Employee-Driven Environmental Program
Every year since summer 2006, we have continued to encourage, develop, expand, and support an employee-driven Strategic Consumable Recycle and Assessment Program (SCRAP) which has been officially included in our Employee Handbook. At each departmental meeting, SCRAP updates are part of the agenda. The SCRAP team presents to the Senior Management when there are major or high profile initiatives that are being recommended and approval is required. According to our internal survey, 80% of respondents said that SCRAP has inspired them to take action at home. We have instilled environmental sustainability as a corporate value. Each new employee receives an Employment Handbook where the corporate environmental policy is clearly presented and states the expectations of the individual to comply with the policy. At each departmental meeting, SCRAP updates are part of the agenda. A SCRAP team member presents the latest updates on policy, products and procedures from the monthly SCRAP team meeting. Staff is encouraged to ask questions and to provide feedback. The SCRAP team presents to the Senior Management monthly meetings when there are approvals required. Our current Environmental Team is comprised of 11 members which represents 16% of Patient News Publishing. The team researches, develops, and recommends environmental policies, practices, and products that are reviewed and approved by Senior Management. The committee meets monthly in the Corporate Boardroom for a minimum of two hours to review and develop projects. Members of the Environmental Committee who are working on projects are provided with the necessary time and resources to accomplish their goals and the company does not impede their ability to participate on the committee to meet the accountabilities of their core functions. The company Suggestion Box invites employees to make suggestions or ask questions for the SCRAP team. In December 2009 the SCRAP team set up an employee survey to garner feedback and ideas for the next year. To encourage maximum staff participation, PNP provided a $100 prize for a draw of the survey participants. SCRAP Initiatives internally and in the community are ongoing:
  • Installed hooks with cloth bags at entrances for employee use for shopping for lunches to cut down on plastic bag use.
  • Developed annual Green Garage Sale.
  • Developed and sponsored free lecture series on green topics called the Green Geek series.
  • Clean Volt electricity program for ongoing expansion on existing energy programs.
  • LCD Screens company wide; uses one third the electricity. CR10 donated to school in Peterborough and offer to employees for home use.
  • Turning of computers, photocopiers, lights at end of day; exit Checklist is part of new employee training.
  • Promote environmental issues through attendance at local events, e.g. Home Show.
  • Attended our supplier Spicers Education Breakfast Lecture.
  • Issued to staff free recyclable hemp bags, cooler bags, and reusable water bottles.
  • Scrap paper collected and made into notepads for intenal use.
  • A SCRAP newsletter, plus instructional posters and checklists located around the company.
  • A composting program and environmentally sustainable utensils for company socials.
  • Replaced every light bulb in the building with an energy-efficient one.
  • Sponsored presentations on a variety of topics, including showing of An Inconvenient Truth for employees and residents of Haliburton County.
  • Arranged with local businesses including Sears Canada to provide a discount for any employees who purchase energy efficient appliances
  • Regular audits of garbage are undertaken and our goal is to reduce waste to 0%. Waste was reduced virtually by half in our first year.
Catching Green - A Community Information Portal
Patient News Publishing initiated and sponsored www.catchinggreen.com, a free information portal that uses the experience of PNP to generate templates that share step-by-step instructions with companies, including our competitors, on how to become environmentally responsible. The initiative has been a community success and uses a local program arranged for University students to provide the research through credit courses. Catching Green can be easily implemented in other communities across Canada or globally and the best practices could easily grow into a database with far reaching benefits. The website infrastructure and .net database we have created could be easily transported to another community.
About Patient News Publishing Patient News Publishing is North America's most comprehensive and innovative dental advertising newsletter and postcard provider. Founded in Canada in 1992, the company produces award-winning dental advertising and healthcare marketing products in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Our company has been named a Top 100 employer for four consecutive years, and has officially added environmental sustainability to its core values within the company vision. Advertising options include award-winning patient newsletters, postcards, brochures and referral cards, as well as specialty dentist advertising and seasonal items such as cover letters and calendars. All of our products are tailored to help achieve the specific goals of your practice. For more information go to www.patientnews.com.



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