4imprint is a direct marketer of promotional products which serves customers in North America, the UK, and Ireland. Sustainability is a natural fit within their culture and who they are as a company—they seek to do what is right. They believe sustainability at its core is valuable for their associates, stakeholders, and the planet. They were early adopters of sustainability, making them a leader in the industry.
They started their sustainability journey in 2017 by forming a green team called S.M.A.R.T., which stands for Sustainability: Making a Renewable Tomorrow. This team’s initial goal was to increase awareness around sustainability at their facilities. The team also sought to engage employees on environmental issues at work and home, with the added mission of working with partners to implement more sustainable business practices. They started with establishing a strategy around sustainability, so they knew what they wanted to accomplish. Upon identifying these parameters, they formed a partnership with the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council (WSBC) to gain resources and direction.
To begin this journey, they needed a baseline measurement on how the company was operating. Experts at WSBC guided them through the process of calculating their carbon footprint, which essentially measures the amount of carbon dioxide being released from their operations. They worked with Jessy Servi Ortiz of WSBC and Mark McDermid and Greg Gasper of WMEP Manufacturing Solutions (WMEP). The WSBC/WMEP team guided 4imprint on the journey of learning about carbon accounting, how to measure emissions, and how to track emissions. They were led through every step of the process of calculating carbon using the U.S. EPA GHG reporting process. The team ensured that they understood every step so that they would have the ability to self-report in the future. 4imprint notes that every question they had was answered well and that they now feel confident in data gathering and data input.
After this process, 4imprint had the following results:
- A better understanding of scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions.
- How to determine organizational boundaries relative to carbon reporting using the U.S. EPA method.
- How to make sustainable improvement to their business and understand the direct impact of improving their carbon footprint.
- How to move rapidly toward achieving carbon neutrality, a goal set forth by 4imprint’s board of directors.
For companies in a similar situation, 4imprint recommends finding a partner that is an expert in the space and willing to support your entire journey. They also advise to begin understanding the metrics that are required for carbon accounting as soon as possible—in their case, they had been gathering data for the years prior, making it possible to have an accurate and complete report the first time they compiled the information.