Straight Talk: The New Green
An interview with Don Carli, senior research fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Communication (ISC). By Ethan Boldt
Increasing numbers of investors, regulators and customers want the so-called triple bottom line (environmental, social and financial) that factors in corporate responsibility, natural resource conservation and climate change.
“Call it the New Green,” says Don Carli, senior research fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Communication (ISC), a nonprofit group that promotes environmentally responsible practices for the printing, publishing and packaging industries.
Here’s the complete transcript of my recent eye-opening chat with Carli, a former strategic planner within these industries.
Ethan Boldt: When was ISC founded?
Don Carli: ISC was founded four years ago, and I’ve been involved with it since its inception. It was founded based on research that I had conducted several years prior. I led a study on attitudes, opinions and predispositions related to sustainability and corporate responsibility in the graphic arts. It didn’t get a lot of support from the industry; [it was] not very well understood or appreciated. But my role in relation to the graphic arts community was one as a strategic planner—someone who’s been engaged by publishers and major corporations to forecast major market technology trends, five years, 10 years out. So it’s part of an occupational hazard for me to be, at times, a bit of ahead of the curve.
EB: What got you interested in the topic of sustainable printing?
DC: This whole focus on the topic of sustainability really grew out of a consulting engagement I had about 10 years ago with the CEO of GretagMacbeth, the company known for its color measurement instruments. I was doing research for the CEO on markets in large format. Over a dinner conversation, he told me how he was investing his own money, and he told me about a new kind of investment fund called the sustainable investment fund. At the time, I didn’t know what he meant, but upon explaining it to me, I was absolutely blown away. What he was talking about was engaging in business practices that were environmentally and socially preferable to prevailing business processes, and that had a correlative economic impact that is positive. So you’re telling me it improves the share price performance of the company, or it improves in some way the value to shareholders. To me, that’s the Holy Grail.