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Pragmatic Approaches—Online Extras

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: June 30, 2010, from the July 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 5 of 6

I don’t think the economy slowed down sustainability efforts, in fact I think it accelerated it! Because one of the nice things about a well-thought-out sustainability program is that it saves you money and it controls your costs. So, us saving on chemicals that would have been wasted in years past, fine-tuned some of those, recycled more of them, that sort of thing. It saved us money, which hit the bottom-line. It was a positive to the bottom-line and made us a better neighbor by lowering our waste generation.

What opportunities (product innovations, unexpected cost savings, efficiencies, etc.) have sustainability efforts created or revealed? How has this fostered product development? How is that development realized on shelf?

Funicelli: The Unilustre and Ultralustre innovations have brought about enormous source reduction savings and enabled energy conservation and reduced shipping costs. Sustainability also drove our Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Sustainability Forestry Initiative (SFI) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC) certifications. Those benefits and features make Unilustre and Ultralustre attractive to the beauty product manufacturer. Today, 60% of our business is devoted to the manufacture of Unilustre and Ultralustre.

An interesting related opportunity created in response to sustainability efforts comes from a CPG that is currently exploring how to expand its sustainability message on the package beyond FSC, SFI, and PEFC logos. The package “billboard” is premium space, yet they feel it’s worth rethinking how that space is used to educate the consumer.

Ormiston: Primarily, most of the opportunities saved operating capital. A lot of these sustainability initiatives saved us operating expenses, which allowed us to invest in equipment to garner some other markets. We’ve been able to do some extra research work that in the beginning of the year we didn’t think we were going to be able to. It made our product more competitive, pricing-wise and allowed us to compete on the world stage a little bit better. Because we’re competing with people in some other countries who don’t have either the environmental stewardship or the environmental regulations to adhere to that we do. I don’t know as far as fostering product development, I guess that’s my answer, if you can free up operating expenses it allows you to spend it in researching new technologies for the future. If you don’t have any money at all because you’re spending it all to stay solvent then you have to cut out your research money.