Like every commercial business we also consume resources in ways that are not repeatable forever. We burn petroleum products and print on paper. We’ve traded for carbon-offset credits to replace the coal-generated electricity we consume with power from renewable sources. The benefits of carbon-offset trading are debated, but we believe it’s at least a gesture in the right direction. In fact, most of the things we do to conserve resources and protect the environment are subtle:
• We’ve added insulation to our building.
And we remain acutely conscious that all this, combined, still doesn’t make us a truly sustainable business. We have a long way to go. But we’re trying to get there.
• Installed skylights to replace electric fixtures.
• Installed the most efficient fixtures, ballasts and bulbs we could find.
• Assigned prime parking spaces to commuters who arrive via carpool, bicycle or motorcycle.
• Bought passes for employees who come by bus.
• Switched to postconsumer recycled copy paper, note pads and other office papers.
• We reuse nearly every box and all the packing material in our warehouse.
• Replaced office Styrofoam with washable mugs and glasses.
• We try to buy the most energy efficient models when we need new equipment.
• Set all computer power settings to the most efficient settings.
• Provided a recycling bin at every employee’s desk, and placed recycling separator bins in public spaces.
• We try to recycle any recyclable materials that pass through the organization.
• We compost coffee grounds and food waste taken from the break room.
• Sponsor recycling drives for employees who bring in recyclables like home computers and worn out tennis shoes.
• Print most of our magazines on 100-percent post-consumer recycled magazine paper, all chlorine-free. When we use paper made from virgin pulp, we make sure the paper is certified by a reputable conservation agency, usually the Forestry Stewardship Council.
• Use inks that are 29 percent soy, rather than petroleum.
• Try to eliminate unnecessary steps in all our transportation, communication and production activities to save fuel and reduce the release of toxic chemicals into the environment.
• Try to eliminate promotions based on paper media – direct mail, insert cards, etc. – and substitute digital promotions. We have a long way to go on this one.
• When we promote on paper, we use recycled paper for the promotional pieces.
• We offer auto-renewal subscriptions that eliminate the need for mailed renewal notices.
• We keep looking for new ways to do better.
Bryan Welch is the Publisher and Editorial Director of Ogden Publications, the parent company of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Connect with him on Google+.
For further optimistic discussion about our future, read Beautiful and Abundantby Bryan Welch and connect with Beautiful and Abundant on Facebook.