What if we could all get back to collaborating, to creating products that were built to last, and using and reusing the things we already have? 


What would that look like? How would it feel? How would we communicate with our fans, customers, and each other, knowing that we are all in this together? 


I ask myself these questions all the time; at networking events and conferences with other like-minded companies, while working on a project for a new client, or brainstorming solutions to the existing environmental concerns with colleagues. 


I believe it looks a little something like this:
 

Communities 

finding new ways to reuse and refocus existing land to build better, greener neighborhoods and incorporating parks, playgrounds, and natural areas (like the Green Apple Day of Service


Sports teams 

creating community gardens and reusing existing space to enhance their fans’ experiences 


Building contractors

refurbishing and remodeling existing buildings to create better working environments and incorporating the WELL Building Standards to focus indoor environments on health and wellness


Large corporations 

repurposing the marketing materials they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on each year to save money and resources, and create memorable products for their customers


We see these things happening more and more every day through organizations like Rock and Wrap it Up!, who partners with arenas and shelters across the country to preserve and provide food for those in need. You see it in teams like the Portland Timbers with their Stand Together programs. And, we see it with the growing number of LEED certified new construction. 


But, when will we see the reuse movement, the circular economy, the purpose-driven professionals, become the norm and not the exception?

 

We live in a world where old billboards can become youth hockey bags and used firehoses can become furniture, where plastic bottles can become fabric, and pineapple waste can become leather. We are watching conscious innovation unfold before our eyes.


I am hopeful that our forward momentum will continue to gain steam and we will see more and more sports teams, cities, and large corporations alike adopt a more conscious and innovative approach to manufacturing, building, and product development. 


So, as you create your sustainability program, design your next product, or build your new office space, I challenge you to ask, “What if?” 

 


Photos: 1) Flickr/Sustainable Brands  2) Sustainable Brands 2016 conference - session by Meg Garlinghouse from LinkedIn

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