Could Sustainability be a Key to Survival?

You may think things are bad now—and you’re right, they are—but today’s ongoing economic concerns are obscuring what may prove to be even bigger strategic challenges ahead. These will affect corporations, government agencies and higher education, as well as their in-plants.

We have been in a long period of profound anxiety and uncertainty. Everywhere we look we see that administrators, executives and leaders are examining all aspects of the core business they are responsible for, looking for ways to cut costs due to shrinking revenue streams and smaller budgets. What can an in-plant do to keep itself out of the target sights of the cost cutters?

Be sustainable, that’s what!

B.J. Brown, in a book titled “Global Sustainability: Towards Measurement,” defined sustainable development this way: “To be the indefinite survival of the human species (with a quality of life beyond mere biological survival) through the maintenance of basic life support systems (air, water, land, biota) and the existence of infrastructures and institutions which distribute and protect the components of these systems.”

Do I think that an in-plant print shop can save the human species? Well, not by itself. But we fall under that last sentence, don’t you think?…“The existence of infrastructures and institutions which distribute and protect the components of these systems.” An operating in-plant plays a critical role in any organization’s sustainable efforts. You just need to make the higher-ups aware of that.

Naysayers might argue that when financial considerations are on the table, decision makers don’t think highly of sustainability. Well, that’s wrong. Check this out:

“One of the real concerns of sustainability advocates is that the stagnant global economy will put pressure on businesses and organizations to freeze, moderate or even eliminate sustainability-oriented programs and messages. At a time when corporate profits have cratered and nearly everyone’s job seems at risk, the belief is that spending on sustainability will be lumped in with other examples of unnecessary corporate excess, like corporate jets and stadium luxury suites.

Tom Tozier has more than 30 years of experience in the printing industry, having managed and directed both commercial and in-plant printing operations. Most recently, he served as director of Imaging Services for the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Tom recently ventured out on his own and is now president of TNT Sustainable Business Solutions, a consulting firm that promotes and provides services for creating sustainable business practices, measuring and improving print shop effectiveness, and sustainability marketing. He is currently enrolled in the University of Colorado's Professional Studies program and is working towards earning certification in Sustainability Management.
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