April '23

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2 8 G R A P H I C S P R O • A P R I L 2 0 2 3 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M A P P A R E L D E C O R A T I N G I t seems everyone is talking about the best ways to become eco-friendly, and perhaps fewer people are asking about the costs and benefits of doing so and, maybe more importantly, if it helps at all. e answer seems to be that there are benefits to an eco-friendly approach, but creating such a business model also comes with associated costs. Beyond the buzz Let's start first with a basic question, but one that has a compli- cated answer: what does being an eco-friendly company actually mean? In the Business of Fashion Sustainability Index of 2021, a report pointed out that "with no standardized language or regu- lated frameworks, deciphering what companies are actually doing can be extremely challenging." If you're recycling paper and toner, does that count? What per- centage of your business practices need to be environmentally friendly in order for your company to claim that designation? Is there anyone or any organization that's checking up on compa- nies claiming to be eco-friendly or to have eco-friendly practices to make sure that's actually true? ere are certifications for some products or companies that can help you determine environmental friendliness. ere are organizations that give out designations to products or compa- nies that are practicing sustainability or environmentally friendly business, but make sure to check out the organizations giving out the certifications to see what their criteria are and to make sure the organization itself is legitimate. e short answer to the question is, however, that there are a lot of various buzzwords and certifications and criteria, and some of them are confusing, while others are downright misleading. e only way to know for sure is to do your homework, both as a consumer and as a business owner who wants to run and own an environmentally friendly company. Given that determining what companies are and aren't envi- ronmentally friendly can be so confusing, and the parameters for what makes a company sustainable can be vague and var- ied, why would any business owner want to bother? One reason might well be that, while eco-friendliness may still be consid- ered a trend, it's a trend that's almost certainly going to become a standard for the industry. Kristine Shreve is the founder and CEO of Kristine Shreve Consulting, which offers writing, marketing, and business development services. The company can be found at www. Kristine is also the creator and host of the Business + Women podcast and is also the director of marketing and outreach for Applique Getaway. Kristine was the director of marketing for Ensign Emblem and EnMart from 2006 to April 2020. B Y K R I S T I N E S H R E V E Convincing customers the effort is worth the price Eco-Friendly Business Made from natural ingredients, HanesBrands' Botanical Dye T-shirts offer nature-inspired colors. Made from ring-spun cotton and recycled poly.

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