“Green” is no doubt a part of the conversation about what it takes to be successful in business these days. Now more than ever, customers – whether individuals, government, or B to B – are considering a company’s sustainability practices as part of the purchase evaluation process.
I asked Christian Carlsen, founder and CEO of King’s Road Home (KRH) furnishings to share his practices on sustainability with us. Christian is well known for his commitment to delivering eco-friendly furniture, with cutting edge “green” practices he implemented over a decade ago.
KRH can credibly lay claim to being authentically “green.” Not as a detail or note in the fine print – but implicitly in how it communicates from the brand – from the tagline “Home Furnishings for a Better Humanity,” to the engaging ticker on their web site displaying phrases like “Eco Chic,” “Love Mother Nature” and “Earth Day Every Day.”
How did KRH get to a place where its brand can so proudly emphasize its eco-credentials? Here’s what Christian had to say:
“All KRH furniture is either reclaimed or FSC approved (Forest Stewardship Council). Our “eco-upholstered” collection features ‘Reflex Natural,’ an environmentally friendly cushioning that is made with natural and renewable resources, replacing the traditional petroleum based ingredients that are standard in commercial foam. Additionally, we feature a wide array of eco-tanned leathers, which are tanned using only salt, sunlight and vegetable dyes, thus eliminating harmful toxic chemicals, as well as other organic fabrics to choose from.
“My passion – and the inspiration for all of our collections – is Mother Nature. I always strive to responsibly source clean and functional designs that allow the natural beauty of the wood to tell its story. Just imagine what 400 year old reclaimed wood has witnessed during its life! As opposed to new growth wood, the old growth has a much more energetic graining pattern, sometimes resembling fire, which truly makes each piece of furniture a one-of-a-kind.”
“As the owner of a small eco-furniture business in Manhattan, I travel the globe in search of environmentally friendly products to meet the demands of the ever growing earth conscious consumer. Without the freedom to travel and search for the best products made from sustainable and responsible methods, I would be stuck in the old, harmful ways of doing business.”
“My floors are made from fully reclaimed wood, and our entire electrical system has been overhauled to be efficient.”
Ok, so Christian has been at it for a while, but here are some ways for your business to get started going authentically green:
Engage your team
Demonstrate your commitment by drafting company guidelines to educate your staff about the depth and breadth of possibilities for greening a business. For example, teams can use white boards instead of paper during meetings, read emails on-screen instead of printing or print on both sides of the paper and engage the “Power Save” mode on all electronic devices when not in use.
Engage your vendors
Contact your local electric company to find out about any sustainability programs they may offer. In New York City, Con Edison provides products and programs to help cut energy costs and improve energy efficiency for its business customers including managing peak demand, natural gas, steam, lighting and air-conditioning alternatives.
Purchase green supplies
Some areas in which green products can provide huge savings include: rechargeable batteries, refillable ink cartridges, fluorescent bulbs and bulk purchases that reduce the amount of packaging used. Order post-consumer recycled paper materials and supplies to help ease landfill usage and save trees.
Green your invoicing
Reduce paper use by sending electronic bills and invoices to your customers instead of printing and mailing paper. You can also scan forms and email them to cut down on faxing and mailing. Online banking also saves paper and energy and reduces printing and mailing costs.
Promote yourself as a “green” vendor.
Once you’ve done the work and made the investment toward going green, you can promote your efforts and results as an authentically green business. Look for reputable third parties to certify your sustainability efforts (KRH’s certification as a “Greenopia Distinguished Business” is prominently displayed on its website) and get your company listed in green directories such as Co-op America’s Green Pages and Greenopia’s Green Living guides.