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Sustainability MattersSustainability has been a hot topic for quite some time now, but many are still unaware of just how important it is to embrace sustainability practices in our personal and professional activities. According to the Global Footprint Network, humans consume more natural resources per year than our planet can produce within the same period of time. For instance, studies have shown it takes 18 months for the earth to replenish most of its resources, however, we consume that same amount of resources in only 12 months. If we continue in the same habits, it means we will begin trending toward an environmental breakdown… long story short: not good.
Some of the biggest contributors to the global footprint are organizations and manufacturing companies, who emit large amounts of greenhouse gases. According to the Carbon Disclosure Project, direct emissions from 417 large global companies account for 5.8 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Making Our Community StrongerNow more than ever, communities and cultures are becoming aware of how their footprint affects sustainability in the world, and this awareness has led to some behavior changes in consumers to the point where they now demand environmentally conscious products and practices from organizations and manufacturers. Early on, we, here at Ghent, recognized an opportunity to make our communities stronger by striving to offset our own footprint.
A company’s carbon footprint is a measure of its environmental impact, and is determined by calculating the greenhouse gases emitted during sourcing, production, use, and disposal of the company’s products, stated in terms of equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). With this in mind, we started transforming our processes to begin making a positive impact.
To date, our environmental responsibility is based on industry-standard BIFMA Level principles, which includes our enormous commitment to recycling. Since 95% of our products are made in the USA, we control the entire product process from sourcing to assembling. This allows us to reduce manufacturing wastes through lean initiatives and ensure the scrap that is produced gets recycled—resulting in 2.9 tons of plastic bottles, 4.2 tons of paper, and 1.4 tons of plastic sheeting that get recycled by Ghent each year. Additionally, our focus on recycling also extends to the types of materials we source, which include:
• Wood products that are 80% pre-consumer recycled content • Aluminum that is composed of a minimum of 75% post-industrial scrap • Steel made of 70% recycled material
It’s important that companies worldwide understand how we all have a part in impacting the environment, but more importantly understand the added benefits of making environmentally conscious changes. Take employee satisfaction, for example. In a 2012 survey, a majority of U.S. workers showed more satisfaction in a job where they can affect social or environmental change in the world. In a more recent study commissioned by MSL Group, millennials shared that they view businesses as potential partners in helping them make the world a better place. No matter how big the company, there are plenty of opportunities to reduce emissions and create a better experience in the workplace.