New England Mail Order Association Fall 2008 Conference

Last month four of us at Hodges’ traveled up to Burlington, Vermont for the New England Mail Order Association (NEMOA) 2008 Fall Conference. This a great group for small mailers to learn from and network with. It was also the perfect place for a conference dedicated to “Growing Green” – Business and environmental sustainability in today’s market… Burlington was beautiful, and with the hotel right across from Lake Champlain you woke to an awesome view where the leaves were just starting to turn.

It was a great conference. The goal was to introduce members to other catalogers who have a “Green” program going and show us what they are doing to make it work. We learned a lot in 3 days and met some interesting people from all kinds of catalog companies.

The conference started with a panel of catalogers, Brian McGovern from Timberland, David Hay from Plow & Hearthand Nancy Fischman from L.L.Bean showing us what they do and what we can do. They definitely have a grasp on what can be done and why it’s important. It was impressive.

At Hodges we are already trying to get the message out that we are starting to go green and it’s important to be environmentally conscious. We are spreading the word that our ribbon products are biodegradable and our catalogs are printed at a certified environmentally friendly printer now. It’s a small start but this conference gave us more ideas. We are even starting a “green team” to look around the company for places were green improvements can be made as well.

One thought on “New England Mail Order Association Fall 2008 Conference

  1. The “Green Team” met for the first time today. I brought together people from all different parts of the company so that we could get a lot of different ideas at the table. The first thing that we did was look at what we are already doing to be green – and then look for areas to improve.

    Here is what we are already doing;

    Recycling all of our cardboard
    Recycling all of our office paper
    Recycling all of our soda cans (we think)
    Printing on both sides of paper whenever possible – we just started this after buying duplexers for all of our printers
    Faxes come electronically via email rather than by paper. They are only printed occasionally.
    We mail most of our catalogs just once a year.
    We re-melt and re-cast our printing metal hundreds of times – sometimes more than once a day.
    We installed water coolers/heaters so that everyone doesn’t need to bring bottled water (but they still do – that one might be tricky)
    Our buildings are heated with natural gas and we have been upgrading to high efficiency furnaces whenever possible.
    We have increased the insulation of our building several times. We are about to insulate our warehouse to R38.
    We just installed a fan and duct work to capture waste heat from our compressor room – where we used to just blow this hot (95 degree) air outside all winter long.

    That all sounded great – until we discovered that the cleaning company just combines all of the recycling and all of the trash and gets rid of both! Can you believe it!! We solved that today by moving big recycling bins into the office and office employees will be responsible for dumping their paper into the bin. I also went to Home Depot and bought some ‘green’ (they are green in color only) trash cans for soda cans and plastic bottles.

    Next, we are going to see if our waste ribbon can be composted. If so, that will take a lot of our waste out of the trash stream.

    Stay tuned – we are meeting again next week and I will update on our progress.

    I don’t expect that going green will bring customers flocking to our doors, but this is something that we cannot ignore. Failing to go green will be a huge black mark in the coming years. I don’t want to be there so we are going to be as green as possible because it is what we need to do.

    Rick Hodges

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