Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Sustainability: A Journey of Small Steps

The topic of sustainability has been quite the buzz lately — what it means, how it can be implemented and what its overall impact can be. SPI members have been talking about this topic and what it means for the plastics industry for quite some time.

In January 2008 SPI adopted a policy on sustainability. However, we realized that members wanted us to do more. They were interested in education. They wanted to learn more about sustainability and its impact on the plastics industry.

In order to meet this quest for knowledge, we partnered with our colleagues at Plastics News to organize Sustain’08: Plastics Business Summit, which was held last week in Chicago. The event was a huge success and was an opportunity for the plastics industry and others to come together and talk about this important topic. Through various presentations and panels we heard from sustainability leaders both in the plastics industry as well as downstream customers. Attendees learned about how these companies implemented sustainability programs, what worked, what didn’t work and lessons learned. I think what was best received was the practical information — such as key steps a company should take to implement a sustainability program, the types of metrics a company can set to measure progress, and how do you know if a program is working.

What I walked away with was the key message that sustainability isn’t something you do in a day. Sustainability is a journey of small steps. It takes time, resources and commitment. Most importantly, SPI and its members are part of this journey. I look forward to the next steps and the road ahead.

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