Sign (Makers) of the Times

Pratt Corporation, an Indianapolis-based company specializing in promotional signs, has added a green component to its business. Pratt, which makes the in-store signage for Lowe’s home improvement stores — among other clients, is now dedicated to using environmentally-friendly practices.

Pratt Corporation has formed an internal green task force to take on the initiative of becoming more eco-friendly. The task force has made great strides in proactively challenging current processes and determining more earth friendly ways to produce. The application of sustainable practices has been implemented throughout the entire facilities and has extended into customer collaboration. Listed below are only a few of the endeavors Pratt is making in this continual effort.

Last August, Pratt became one of the first companies to be certified as a Sustainable Green Printer by the Specialty Graphics Imaging Association (SGIA). The SGIA notes that it created the honor because many companies now prefer to do business with printers and graphic providers that have implemented policies to address social and environmental issues.

Pratt now adheres to green printing policies and has issued a statement of sustainability as well.

Quality Printing, an Anderson-based printing company, also created a guideline for sustainable printing practices, and has recently complemented its efforts by using wind energy to power its manufacturing facility. Read all about the company in the new edition of BizVoice.

McCormick Motors Offering “Green for Greening” to Staff

The July/August 2009 edition of BizVoice magazine will feature a piece on McCormick Motors — a trailblazing Chevy dealer up in Nappanee that recently initiated a solar panel into its total energy conservation plan. That plan has featured recycling and waste reduction, lighting and furnace changes, and some serious energy efficiency moves. Gordon Moore, McCormick Motors’ VP, told me they’ve also integrated an employee incentive plan. The company’s web site explains:

In March 2009, McCormick Motors established an energy conservation and efficiency fund for every full time employee that is a home owner. At the beginning of each calendar year, up to $500 of matching funds will be available to participating employees. This money is available to offset expenditures made by an employee based on $.25 for every $1.00 spent on a home improvement that is directly related to energy conservation or efficiency. Funds may be drawn at any time provided the following criteria are met.

  • Participating employees must complete a home energy audit before funds will be distributed. The audit is the annual enrollment form for the program.
  • Projects must demonstrate that they will directly contribute to energy conservation or efficiency.
  • Paid receipts for completion of the project must be presented when reimbursement is requested. Paid receipts more than six months old are not eligible for reimbursement.
  • Projects related to new construction or home expansions are not eligible for reimbursement.
  • Reimbursement is only for materials and/or contracted labor. There is no reimbursement for individual employee labor on the project.

The policy reinforces McCormick Motors’ commitment to reduce energy consumption and minimize the environmental impact by encouraging our employees to follow our lead in reducing our energy consumption. Additionally, the program has the potential to inject $60,000 into the local economy.

Food for thought as a way to build staff rapport and protect the environment as well.

Utah’s Four-Day Week Not Yet Yielding Big Results

We published a post last June about Utah’s public employees moving to a four-day work week in an effort to save on energy costs. At the time, gas prices had peaked and it seemed interesting — a possible archetype for similar moves across the nation. So far, however, the results have not been as pronounced as they hoped:

Several unforeseen issues, such as extreme temperatures, employee habits and workers coming in on the occasional Friday, made such a large amount of savings an impossibility this year, she said.

Michael Hansen, strategic planning manager for the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, calls the lower savings "lessons learned."

"We made all these estimates and assumptions, and it looks like we were optimistic," he said. "We thought it would be easier, but there were all these weird little things."

He said he has a draft report prepared with actual figures showing how much the state has saved thus far, but it has not yet been approved for release.

The initiative was implemented with little to no input from state employees, lawmakers or residents, but (Gov. Jon) Huntsman has worked to make the environment a top priority, even though many in the Legislature look at global warming as a farce.

The initiative moved 17,000 of the state’s 24,000 employees from working five, eight-hour days to four, 10-hour days.

Shuttleworth: Small Indiana Company Earns Big Publicity for Innovation

Here at the Indiana Chamber, we feel very fortunate to have the confidence of our 4,800 members to work on their behalf. Their partnership often makes life easier on us, too. For example, when BusinessWeek Online contacted our communications VP Tom Schuman to inquire about a small company whose made great strides in switching to "green collar" industries, Tom had an easy answer — Shuttleworth (of Huntington).

The leading paragraphs of the article actually feature Shuttleworth, focusing on the company’s ingenuity in a greening world:

As a maker of conveyor systems for manufacturers, Shuttleworth always changed with the times. The 100-employee Huntington (Ind.) company’s strong business in electronics dropped off about five years ago as more production moved overseas. After that, the company focused on conveyors for food, health care, automotive, and paper products—until this year, when it entered what could be its most profitable niche yet: solar panels.

"It’s got some of the biggest potential of the markets we’ve been in," says Jim Bonahoom, Shuttleworth’s vice-president for finance. Even though Shuttleworth only just entered the market, the company expects solar to account for one-fifth of its roughly $20 million in revenue this year, Bonahoom says.

A heartfelt kudos to our friends at Shuttleworth.

Global Warming Debate Still a Debate

Read the current issue of BizVoice magazine (available online today and in the mail to regular subscribers) and you will find the words green, environment and sustainability throughout. The "going green" focus features companies, communities and initiatives related to environmentally friendly products and practices. Global warming is cited as one of the reasons for action by some.

But despite an increase in the attention to global warming, the scientific debate is apparently far from over. The Heartland Institute reports that more than 30,000 scientists signed a petition "rejecting the assertion that global warming has reached a crisis stage and is caused by human activity."

The Heartland article tells one side of the story; numerous resources provide the flip side of the coin. What do you think? How serious is global warming? How big of an impact do human activities have on our environment? 

Tell Us: Is Carbon Footprint in Your Vocabulary?

I’ve told you that the July-August BizVoice® magazine is going to be “all green all the time.” In addition to a stellar story lineup from our talented writers, I’m gathering insights from Indiana Chamber members. 

The first two interviews traveled the green spectrum – one person describing active involvement in a community recognition program for environmentally-friendly practices; the other admitting to not having greenwashing and carbon footprint on her radar screen.

What do you think? Do you feel a personal responsibility to alter the way you operate at home, work and play to try and make a difference for future generations? Or, despite Al Gore’s best efforts, are you unconvinced about global warming and man’s direct impact?

 Let us know what you think. I’d like to add your perspective to our BizVoice® report and analysis.

Don’t Be Blue; We’re Going Green

If you have not jumped on the green bandwagon yet (quick, there might be room to squeeze in), the next edition of BizVoice magazine is for you.

If you’ve added the word green to your daily vocabulary and cannot be accused of greenwashing, there will be plenty of interesting stories and analysis for you too. In fact, you might want to promote your organization’s products and services to 15,000 others who have already made the leap or are planning to be on the green team.

The July/August issue will contain the most comprehensive focus on one topic in the 10-year history of the magazine. Among the subject areas to be covered in staff-written articles are:

  • Low-cost programs/policies companies can implement as a green strategy starting point
  • More comprehensive green efforts that include a higher up-front investment but potential cost savings down the road
  • Going green and the energy industry
  • Short profiles about companies, communities and universities with innovative green initiatives
  • A Community Focus on BioTown and the effort to turn an Indiana community into a self-sustaining energy provider
  • A roundtable discussion with industry leaders and an invited national expert
  • An Indiana Ingenuity feature on a Hoosier company that is a national player in its field                                 

Business owners, presidents and CEOs will be reading about going green. Jim Wagner has the information advertisers need to know.