A Native American proverb teaches that: We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors – we borrow it from our children. Armed with this understanding, organizations across industries and people around the globe are taking an increasingly active role as caretakers of the planet.

Each step toward sustainability – no matter how small – is a good one. And every company – no matter how small – should scrutinize operations to identify and eliminate areas of waste and negligence. For some, such as professional organizations, placing a recycling bin in the cafeteria or reducing paper and water usage might represent the pinnacle of commitment. For larger organizations, a more comprehensive plan is in order.

Because of the nature of their business – along with their impact both at local and globally – manufacturers are often under a microscope to take on a leading role. From examining suppliers to reducing energy usage and emissions, these companies have a unique opportunity (and responsibility) to make a significant and far-reaching impact. But to be truly meaningful, and provide more than incremental results, the undertaking must be planned, managed, tracked, and supported at the highest levels.

As demonstrated throughout its existence, the CAVU Group takes social responsibility very seriously. The company routinely supports local and extended communities through a variety of volunteer and social outreach programs. The company’s commitment toward a sustainable planet is just one more example.

Recently CAVU unveiled and began implementing a corporate strategy designed to advance sustainability by 33%. The process is tracked against an internal scorecard that measures progress throughout the product development and manufacturing process. The initiative, encompassing the entire product lifecycle, focuses on sustainability improvement across three primary segments – environmental, economic, and social.

Product Introduction 

“We have multiple ways of scoring ourselves on sustainability,” explained CAVU’s Marketing Director, Carissa Smith. “From a marketing perspective we do this in the early upstream stages of product planning with steps to determine if the new product is inherently sustainable. Assuming we can validate the sustainability, we craft messaging and create campaigns that clearly communicates this to the world.”

CAVU is also investigating ways to best understand a product’s relationship with the consumer in terms of how it might satisfy sustainability requirements. In this way, next generation products are guided by the voice of sustainable-conscious customers regarding the manner products are designed, developed, used, and disposed of.

Research has shown that younger buyers will actively seek (and in fact are willing to spend a little more on) products that adhere to sustainable practices. Hence, incorporating customer “green” requirements into products and processes is good for the environment, building brand loyalty, and the bottom line.

Product Development

When considering the introduction of a new product, manufacturers must consider the impact of that product on the planet. It’s important to quantify as much as possible to what extent the product will reduce waste and otherwise impact sustainability. Ask questions such as: Can the product be manufactured from recycled material? Is the product itself biodegradable, compostable, or recyclable? How, if at all, will such raw material changes impact quality, manufacturability, or costs?

“We implement best practices to ensure that we’re properly disposing of or reusing manufacturing bi-products and we look at how that product is distributed,” said CAVU Safety & Compliance Officer, Brian Walters. “For example, we examine if the product can be shipped via ground transportation. We look at ways to reduce overnight shipping for our temperature-sensitive products to decrease our carbon footprint. Our goal is to advance sustainability while maintaining the highest quality and service standards.”

Beyond Profits

Environmentally friendly actions don’t have to be large to have an impact. Consistently reducing the amount of energy, water, and paper our businesses use can make a huge difference, both to the environment and to our pocketbooks. How much paper would you save over the course of a year, for instance, if you always ran double-sided copies? How much water is wasted each day by that dripping faucet in the washroom? Small and easy ways to go green – but over time will generate big results!

Organizations, regardless of type, size, or industry are often judged by their commitment to causes greater than the bottom line. Corporate responsibility must reach beyond shareholders, employees, and business goals into the immediate and extended community. For many, this means a tangible, measurable, and on-going commitment toward advancing sustainability. At CAVU Group we are proud to do our part.