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Standard Register wins Sustainability and Your Processes

Published on June 20, 2011

Steve McDonell, VP of Engineering and Sustainability for Standard Register, shares info about the Carbon Disclosure Project which propelled them to win the Sustainability and Your Process award at the third annual Environmental Innovation Awards.

Richard Romano:  Hi, this is Richard Romano; I’m Managing Editor of WhatTheyThink’s Going Green Blog, and we’re here in Atlanta, Georgia for the Third Annual Environmental Innovation Awards.  And we’re talking to Steve McDonell, who is the VP of Engineering and Sustainability for Standard Register, who is this year’s winner in the category of Sustainability and Your Processes.  So, congratulations.  

Steve McDonell:  Thank you very much.  Very much appreciate it.

Richard:  Now, how many locations does Standard Register have? 

Steve:  We have 23 manufacturing locations, anywhere from Hawaii to Massachusetts. 

Richard:  So now, all of your sustainability initiatives are pretty much spread out over all of those facilities?  

Steve:  Yes they are.  They… it’s pretty much standardized across all of our facilities, all but two of our facilities are SFI, SFC Certified at this point in time and the program is administrated from our corporate headquarters in Dayton, across the entire platform.  

Richard:  Now tell us about the Carbon Disclosure Project.  That was sort of the impetus for a lot of the things you guys have been working on.  

Steve:  Exactly.  About two years ago, at the request of one of our largest customers, Bank of America, we participated for the first time in the Carbon Disclosure Project.  They are one of the listed companies for CDP and hold it very, very important in their image that they get their main suppliers to participate.  

So we participated two years ago; didn’t know a lot about it, and our score was pretty low.  So we spent the next year learning as much as we could about the CDP and what the requirements are and got some help in exactly how to calculate our carbon footprint and submit the response to the CDP.  And talked about exactly what our carbon footprint was and we had to develop a pretty detailed plan on what we were going to do on a regular basis to reduce that carbon footprint. 

And we in fact, now are in the process of responding for 2011, and we have another one of our major companies, the Trane Corporation, who have asked us to participate in it also.  So it’s growing and we’re very glad that we’re in on it where we are.  

Richard:  Now, what are some of the initiatives that you started to pursue after seeing your results of the CDP?  

Steve:  We look at it in three different ways:  Number one, we look at recycling because there are carbon emissions in landfills and landfills gases.  So we have recycling programs laid out at all of our manufacturing facilities to try to increase the amount of recycling and reduce what goes to the landfill.  And we are showing significant increases in our recycling and corresponding increases in the land fill.  The second is the certification.  We talk about certification programs with SFI and SFC and how that works.  And then the third is the carbon reduction itself.  We have lighting projects; we’re replacing our digital fleet or the majority of our digital fleet with more energy efficient equipment and are receiving an estimated 37 percent reduction in our electrical consumption through that new equipment and our print-on-demand centers.  

So those are the major thrusts for last year.  This year we are increasing exposure to include our upward vendors and some more of our downstream customers to complete the supply chain and expand in that way.  

Richard:  Now you said in your application that you’ve been working trying to sort of green your supply chain.  Is that something that someone with the weight of Standard Register can do or smaller printers also capable of doing that kind of thing?  And what does that really entail?  

Steve:  It entails working mainly with our suppliers.  We have a supply chain council with a lot of our suppliers and we have a subcommittee being formed that is going to work with them on their carbon footprint.  Fortunately, a lot of our main suppliers are already participants in the CDP so that will fall into place quite well.  

Smaller companies can certainly do that by proving environmental responsibility by working directly with SFI and SFC suppliers and that in turn also works to improve your carbon footprint and your carbon usage.  

Richard:  Now you’ve also been involved in some sort of community outreach.  What are some of the examples of things you’ve done in that capacity?  

Steve:  I have a young lady working for me almost full time, her name is Melissa Kirk.  And she works very closely in the Dayton community for our corporate office in various programs to help clean up various areas of the town, pick up litter, neighborhood enhancements, especially around our corporate offices.  In addition to that, a number of our plants have different committees that work on neighborhood projects and community projects and many of those include green activities to help the environment in those committees.  

Richard:  Now what are some of the tangible benefits that Standard Register has realized as a result of the sustainability initiatives?  

Steve:  Obviously, the recycling increase helps cost avoidance by sending things to the landfill, but also depending upon the market, you know, you get paid for your recycling materials.  So in that way, in stead of spending money, we’re receiving money.  Also, in terms of the reduced energy usage, energy costs just keep going up and the more you can do to keep your energy down will help you to save the… help in savings that way.  

So we’re seeing some significant things.  We can’t wait for our new carbon footprint to come out and see what those gains are exactly going to be, we’re in the reporting phase right now, but we’re looking forward to seeing that.  

Richard:  And what advice would you give to other printing companies, large or small, that may be still on the fence regarding sustainability that might not think that it’s worth the time and the expense to get involved?  

Steve:  Standard Register’s new byline is: Enhancing your customer’s reputation, enhance your company’s reputation.  And what we’re seeing from our customers is that they want to align themselves with environmentally responsible companies, specifically to enhance their reputation.  So this falls right into place.  And for all the other printers out there who may not be as far along or are still considering getting into this, I urge you to do it for a couple of reasons:  Number one, the costs that we just talked about.  It virtually costs nothing, if not it gives you a payback.  And number two, the relationship that you have with your customers.  And we have many printers that are aligned with us that we subcontract to and we are or will be reaching out to those printers also on what they’re doing in their sustainability programs moving forward.  

Richard:  Great, fantastic.  Well, thank you very much and congratulations again.  

Steve:  Thank you very much; I’m very pleased to be here.  

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